When all the snow finally disappears, it’s time to step outside and prepare your lawn for spring. Spring cleanups are an essential part of lawn care and landscaping.
In a previous article, “4 Things You Should Never Do to Your Lawn in The Spring,” we described a few activities you should only complete later in the year such as aerating, dethatching and seeding. In part one of this two-part series, we’ll discuss two activities you must finish in the spring if you want your lawn to grow green and stay healthy year-round.
1. Clean up your yard
Before you apply fertilizer or any other products to your property, you should clean all debris from your yard.
Roger Cook, a landscape contractor for This Old House, said it’s the perfect time of year to evaluate your property and repair and improve areas where needed.
“March is a good time to take stock of your yard and see if it’s time to thin out crowded beds and do some transplanting to fill in bare spots,” said Cook.
The source also noted a number of ways to clean your property including pruning overgrown shrubs and flowering perennials. Cut back damaged or dead stems, and opt for hand pruners over electric sheers to ensure thicker growth. Furthermore, rake out beds and lawns so excess material doesn’t smother plants, and, as This Old House pointed out, encourage diseases to grow. The latter can happen because bacteria and fungus love to spawn and grow in dark, moist places.
Finally, reseed bare spots in your lawn that may have been dug up by plows or damaged by road salt. You should never seed an entire lawn during the spring or summer, but repairing a few damaged areas that will cost you little in terms of money and time is perfectly fine. This will help better manage crabgrass and weeds from developing and obviously make your lawn more aesthetically pleasing.
2. Power rake
Winter can take a brutal toll on your turf, and if you don’t prep your lawn correctly in the spring, it could suffer for the remainder of the year.
While your lawn remains dormant during the winter – similar to an animal hibernating – it can still be damaged from environmental conditions and diseases. In a previous post, “What Can Happen to Your Lawn During Winter?” we described in detail something called desiccation and snow mold. We also discussed how road salts and salt brine can destroy grass.
Desiccation occurs when frigid conditions extracts moisture from grass blades. As you can imagine, without water, turf has difficulty surviving and growing. On the other hand, snow mold is a common but typically non-fatal winter and spring disease that develops when turf is buried under snow for a long duration of time. Compacted grass can rot out. Finally, road salts, similar to desiccation, removes moisture, but unlike desiccaton, it does so from the soil.
One of the best ways to help your lawn overcome the above problems is by power raking. Power raking is the act of gently lifting up grass blades and removing some thatch so they don’t mat over and rot. Typically you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) power rake your entire lawn. While the process doesn’t stress the lawn as much as dethatching does, power raking can still strain weaker or less established turf. In this case, use a typical rake, and gently lift areas that have snow mold or that appear matted.
If your lawn has faced a particularly brutal winter, rent a power rake from your local hardware store. The power rake will comb your grass and kick up large amounts of thatch and debris. Of course, remember to remove the debris afterwards,
Before spring arrives, take some time to plan out what you need to do to prepare your lawn for the year ahead. We highly suggest placing cleaning and power raking at the top of it.
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