Create Your Winning Spring Lawn Maintenance Schedule

Creating your spring lawn maintenance schedule is time well spent.  A little planning and preparation will ensure you achieve the results you desire.

Spring lawn care is not an exact science. This is an easy to follow guide to help you create your own custom spring lawn care schedule.  The exact lawn care schedule you follow depends on: where you live, grass types (cool season or warm season) and your grass species.

Lawn Mower Maintenance and Lawn Mower Repairs

This should be the start of all spring lawn maintenance schedules.  Late March is the perfect time.

Dig your lawn care equipment out of the back of the garage or shed.  Be sure your lawn care equipment is in proper working order and that lawn mower repairs are not necessary.

This is the right time to take care of your preseason lawn mower maintenance.  Be sure to check the spark plugs and change the oil in your mower. Check out lawn mower care for step by step instructions on lawn mower maintenance. 

A little time spent now will save you time, energy and money during the growing season.

Spring Yard Cleaning

Your property clean up is important to make sure you have an unobstructed path to work in. You don't want to give lawn pests a place to hide.

Remove branches, twigs, leaves, dog waste and stones that accumulated over the winter or that you missed last fall.  Don't forget to put the yard waste in your compost bin. This is your chance to practice natural lawn care. 

While you are at it, this is also a good time to cleanup the tree rings and the beds where your shrubs grow.

Inspect your lawn thoroughly.

Lightly use the rake to rid your lawn of dead grass.

Make sure all areas are level. Low spots will cause poor drainage which can lead to lawn weeds, lawn pests and lawn diseases.  This is another good time to practice organic lawn care. To level out the area, take compost and mix it with top soil.  Put the mixture on any areas with low spots.  Take a rake and level out the area.

Spring yard cleaning will set the foundation of your spring lawn maintenance schedule.

Inspect for Lawn Diseases and Lawn Pests

Look for any lawn problems. 

Spring yard cleaning sets the stage for you to clearly see lawn diseases and lawn pests that may have infiltrated your lawn. 

The following are signs that you have lawn problems:

  • Brown patches or grass discoloration
  • Shape of the affected area
  • Foreign substances on the affected area (i.e. powdery substances)
  • Loose grass
  • Chewed grass blades

Treat your lawn as necessary after you diagnose the problem plaguing it.

Remember, you are creating this spring lawn care schedule to prevent lawn problems. A poor lawn maintenance regiment is a welcome sign for lawn diseases and lawn insect damage.

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Perform a Soil ph Test

Winter can alter your soil's ph levels. These ph levels are directly related to the overall health of your grass.  You want to make sure your soil contains all of the appropriate minerals and nutrients that are necessary for your lawn to thrive. 

The soils ability to properly drain water is also of the utmost importance.

Performing a soil ph test is not difficult.  There are many soil testing methods to choose from.  You can choose a home soil testing kit or you can send it out to a lab to be tested.

Knowing the type of soil in your yard is helpful in choosing proper grass types and creating your spring lawn maintenance calendar.

Got Crab Grass........No Worries, Apply a Preemergent to Your Lawn

Crab grass is also known as "the devil's grass".

This warm season annual will sneak into cool season grasses during the height of the summer when it is very hot and very dry.  The crab grass lies dormant through the winter. Then in the spring, it seeds and spreads like wildfire throughout your lawn.  It loves to fill in the bare spots in your lawn.

The root of the crab grass grows fairly close to the surface of the ground.  This makes it easy to pull out by hand.

To prevent the seeding apply a preemergence herbicide to your lawn in early spring. This type of herbicide kills crab grass seeds as they germinate.  The preemergent is often found in weed and feed.

Okay, I may sound like a broken record but cannot stress enough the importance of this.  Apply compost to your lawn.  It enriches your soil which helps create a thicker lawn. A dense lawn does not allow crab grass to infiltrate it.

Identifying Weeds.........Eliminate Those Pesky Lawn Weeds

The advantage to any homeowner is that most lawn weeds stick out like a soar thumb.  

A well maintained lawn is the best defense against lawn weeds.

Identifying lawn weeds is important. Lawn weeds are characterized by life span, physical trait and growing season.

Successful weed removal requires that you know the enemy.  You need to understand how and when it grows. Knowledge is powerful.

If you already have lawn weeds apply a post-emergence herbicide. There are two types.

  • Contact herbicides - This will kill the surface of of any plant upon contact. You want to make sure you are using a systemic herbicide so the entire plant is killed. 
  • Selective formulas - These types are created for one type of lawn weed category (i.e. broad-leaf weeds or narrow-leaf weeds).  Be sure not to purchase non-selective formulas or you will kill your grass as well.

If you practice organic lawn care, another good option is a natural weed killer.

Eliminating lawn weeds is a must part of any spring lawn maintenance schedule.

Core Aeration Will Help Your Lawn Breathe

The roots of your lawn need air.

Over time, your soil can become compacted.  Compacted soil makes it difficult for air, water and nutrients to reach the grass roots.  This can stop your grass from growing.

Core aeration cures compacted soil by creating little holes in the soil.  The cores are pulled from the ground and deposited on top where they break down into the soil.

You can aerate your lawn annually. I find that it is best to use the core aeration machine  in late spring for warm season grasses and in late summer or early fall for cool season grasses. It is a good time to overseed your lawn after using the core aeration machine.

This particular step can be a part of your spring lawn maintenance schedule or your fall lawn care schedule depending on where you live and your grass type.

Begin Cutting Grass

First you need to decide who will be cutting grass for you.  Will you or someone in your home cut the lawn or will you hire a lawn mowing service.  This should be clearly outlined as part of your spring lawn maintenance schedule.

If you decide to cut your own lawn. Each time you mow, remember these important guidelines:

  • Remove no more than 1/3 of the grass blade.
  • The first few cuts of the season the deck of the mower should be set low.
  • Keep the grass longer during the growing season to eliminate stress on the grass.
  • Leave the lawn clippings on the grass. They act as a organic lawn fertilizer by feeding your lawn necessary nutrients. If your lawn has weeds, be sure to use a catcher on the mower. You don't want the lawn weeds to spread through your lawn.
  • Never mow wet grass.

Cutting grass is a critical step in your spring lawn maintenance schedule.

Use the Line Trimmer and Lawn Edger

To get a more finished look after cutting grass, use the line trimmer and lawn edger.

The line trimmer is also know as a weed wacker, weed whacker and weed trimmers. Use the line trimmer in areas that the lawn mower cannot reach such as along the fence and shed as well as around the tree rings and beds.

Use the lawn edger along the driveway and sidewalk.

The line trimmer and lawn edger give your lawn a crisper and cleaner look.  This is the difference between a well manicured lawn and a decent looking lawn.

This step will increase the level of your home's curb appeal.

Over Seeding  Your Lawn and Lawn Repair

Bare spots in your lawn attract lawn diseases, lawn pests and lawn weeds. Keeping your lawn thick and dense make these lawn problems feel unwelcome.

After using the core aeration machine, consider over seeding your lawn. This will make a thin and sparse lawn denser.

If your lawn is already dense and only has a few bare spots, lawn repair will mend this lawn problem.

Lawn seeding is the least expensive method and will work for both over seeding and lawn repair.

It is best to make this part of your spring lawn maintenance calendar or your fall lawn care calendar.

Feed Your Lawn With Grass Fertilizer

Your lawn is no different than your children.  In order for the grass to grow it needs to be fed.

Your schedule for lawn fertilizing should be determined based on grass type and composition of the soil. Typically it should be done twice in the spring.  The first time in early spring and the second time in late spring.  

To supplement the grass fertilizer, consider leaving the lawn clippings on the lawn after you mow.  Unless of course, you have lawn problems (lawn diseases, lawn pests or lawn weeds) in which case you will want to bag the lawn clippings. The grass clippings are rich in nitrogen which is an important nutrient for your lawn.

There are many types of grass fertilizer.  Look at the lawn fertilizer numbers to determine the best grass fertilizer for your lawn.

You can also consider using organic lawn fertilizer.

Don't Forget to Water Grass

Watering grass is as important as making sure it is properly fed. Don't forget watering lawn in your spring lawn maintenance schedule.

Different grass types require different amounts of water.  In most instances relying on rainfall is not enough.  You may need to break out the garden hose and lawn sprinkler.  

In general, most lawns require 1 inch of water per week when they are not dormant. If you are unsure of the rainfall levels or amount of water delivered by your sprinkler system, consider purchasing a rain gauge.

In order for the grass to thrive it is important for the grass roots to grow deep into the soil. By lawn watering deeply you can ensure deep root growth.  It is preferable watering grass deeply rather than frequently.

The amount of water your lawn requires can also depend on soil texture, weather and if the soil is compacted.

Go from the spring lawn maintenance schedule to the lawncare home page.

The three components of your spring lawn maintenance schedule that are most important are cutting grass, watering grass and lawn fertilizing.

Taking these additional steps during the spring will help ensure you achieve the lawn goals you set for yourself.  Keeping your lawn healthy is of the utmost importance in creating the lawn you are proud of and others envy.

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Ahh, Spring is in the air.  Beautiful grass that greened up nicely against a backdrop of beautiful flowers.

Roadside picture in the Chicagoland Area.  Grass is a mixture of Kentucky Blue Grass, Fescue and Rye grass.