As winter comes to an end, we want our lawn to quickly grow thick and green. Meanwhile, the grass has turned yellow in places and some bare spots have appeared. But don’t be discouraged as all the damage done by winter can be restored.
Keep reading to learn more about how you can rejuvenate your lawn after winter!
Early spring is the time of year when you should start caring for the lawn. Having resisted all the harsh winter conditions, it now requires special care and maximum attention, so create a plan of action to help the grass get back into shape.
When To Start Your Lawn Care After Winter?
When the winter soil gets dry, the lawn awakens with all of nature. In late March you can begin the first lawn treatments that will restore its lush green color and smoothness.
Wait until the lawn is no longer frosty and wet. Tromping around on grass soaked with water from the melting snow will create deep shoe marks, which negatively affects the aesthetics of the lawn. In addition, water often accumulates in these holes, which can cause the root system to rot. This will make it necessary to restore these damaged places in the future.
Where To Start Rejuvenating The Lawn?
The first step is to thoroughly clear out any fallen twigs, branches, dry stalks, acorns, leaves, and other things that have accumulated on the lawn over the winter. A thick layer of dead leaves can clutter the lawn, so get your rakes out and clean up all the mess. Also, removing old debris in early spring makes room for applying fertilizer and herbicides.
Use your leaf rakes to gather everything into piles, then rake it onto a large tarp to make it easy to drag or carry off the lawn. However, ensure the ground is dry before cleaning up the lawn. Walking around on muddy grass might compact the soil, damaging the tender shoots of the grass.
Assessing The Lawn Condition
After you’re done cleaning up, you should now assess the condition of the lawn. Check whether there is snow mold contamination underneath.
Snow mold is a fungal disease that can be first noticed in the early spring after the snow has melted. There are two kinds of mold that are active under the snow, i.e. gray (white to yellow in color) or pink (white to pink in color). You will see grass patches having a circular shape and a matted down appearance. They become bigger over time if the grass remains wet and cold.
Fighting snow mold is difficult and repairing damage from these two types of mold requires very different treatments.
For pink snow mold, regularly spray the lawn with fungicides. For gray snow mold, fungicides are not typically recommended. All you need to do is to carefully rake the affected patches to help them dry and prevent further spreading of fungi.
Removing Molehills In The Yard
As soon as the soil thaws, moles resume their activity, creating new mounds. Moles attack and damage the grass root systems while searching for worms and other food. Molehills destroy the lawn and make mowing difficult.
It is necessary to first level the excavated soil using rakes before sowing grass onto the bold patches. When the treatment is done, don’t forget to go on to scare the moles out of the yard with the help of pest control methods.
Fighting Weed And Moss Growth On The Lawn
In addition to the spring clean up, weeds and mosses must be removed. The time it takes to restore the lawn to proper condition depends on the degree of weed infestation.
Weeds can be removed either by hand, by cutting the entire roots with a long knife, or by using herbicides that act selectively. To effectively fight weeds and prevent them from taking over the entire lawn, a pre-emergent herbicide is recommended to apply in the spring. It will stop weed seeds germinating, which will greatly reduce the number of weeds such as dandelions or crabgrass.
Lawn Dethatching And Aeration In The Spring
In early spring, dried and yellowed grass blades are easy to notice among the green blades. Dethatching is essential because the compact, dense layer of dried blades, rotting leaves, roots, and mosses prevents air from reaching the roots of the turf and retains moisture on the surface. It blocks the development of young blades and the penetration of water into the soil.
Spring is the perfect time to dethatch turf but make sure to dethatch only cool-season grasses in early spring while leaving warm-season grasses for late spring.
Old turf can be dethatched with rakes but if you have a large lawn, it’s more convenient and effective to use a special device, i.e. dethatcher or lawn scarifier. Hiring a professional lawn care company, such as Guaranteed Green, to dethatch the lawn for you is your best option.
Aeration, on the other hand, is aimed at relieving dense soil compaction and allowing moisture to spread through the root system. Aerate the soil only when it’s slightly damp but not soggy. You can do this using a garden fork or aerator shoes, but on a larger area, it’s best to use a lawn aerator (a device with spikes).
After such treatment, the roots breathe better and the grass absorbs water more easily. Aeration helps to ensure that oxygen, water, and nutrients reach roots to enable healthy grass growth.
Fertilizing The Lawn In The Spring
After carrying out spring lawn care treatments, it’s time to apply fertilizer. However, make sure you do that about three weeks after grass starts getting green, and avoid fertilizing frozen soil or when the snow has just melted. You don’t want to risk feeding weeds and creating fertilizer runoff when you apply it too early.
Once the temperature of the soil begins to rise in spring, grass roots end their vegetative state and start growing well before the grass blades start greening. Thus, applying fertilizer too early can encourage excessive blade growth while roots might have not yet started their growth spurt in the early spring.
A lush green lawn may look great but let the grass focus on strengthening and growing roots during this time. Strong and healthy roots are important so that your lawn can endure all weather conditions during the upcoming months.
The lawn should be fertilized using multi-component mineral fertilizers (containing nitrogen) or compost. For best results, try slow-release fertilizer as its vital nutrients break down over an extended period of time. This way you won’t need to reapply the fertilizer too often, and in most cases, you’ll be able to wait six or even eight weeks between treatments.
Seeding To Fill In Bare Spots
If the lawn is a bit thin in areas or has any bare or balding spots, you can seed over these places to help lush it up by summer.
Rake out these spots to loosen the soil and then apply an even layer of seed. Provide extra water to these spots for a few weeks after you reseed them to help new grass roots take hold.
It’s possible to treat bare spots with regular grass seed but you may also opt for specially formulated mixes that are intended for quickly growing grass on bare lawns. It’s best to use regenerative mixes that, in addition to seed, contain fertilizers that facilitate the growth of young grass.
Lawn Watering In The Spring
In order for the grass to grow evenly, it needs to be watered. Leaving the lawn without water for long periods of time makes it turn yellow and even dry up.
However, in the early spring, you shouldn’t be watering the lawn more than an inch a week as there’s still a lot of moisture left in the soil from the melted snow. Overwatering the grass will cause the roots to drown as well as promote weed growth. So start watering your lawn after grass starts showing signs of wilting as grass grows more and deeper roots during this time.
If you need help with your spring lawn preparation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for some expert advice and to learn more about our spring lawn care services. If you live in the Atlanta Metro area, give Guaranteed Green a call at 470-435-0222.