Prepping Your Lawn for Spring

by Jessica Brita-Segyde

Do you want a beautiful lawn this Spring? Sure, you could hire out lawn maintenance, but yard work can be fun! It’s a chance to get outdoors and get some exercise. Plus, the DIY approach is much easier on the budget. The steps involved in prepping your lawn for the warmer months are labor-intensive, so dedicate at least two weekends in March to the task. The results will be beautiful!

Thick, Lush Grass

Start by dethatching. Thatch is the dead grass and other debris that builds-up on top of the living grass. After the snow melts and on a day when your lawn is mostly dry, rake the dead grass off and discard or compost it. Next, you can fertilize the lawn. Commercial fertilizers are available at big box stores like Lowe’s. Inorganic as well as natural fertilizers are available on the shelf or you could make your own. This homemade fertilizer mix from BobVila.com is ammonia-based. Follow the directions on the fertilizer regarding the temperature and time of day that will yield the best results. Also, invest in an applicator to ensure even distribution.             

You may also find that you need to manage insects. Grubs are a big issue for lawns. These tiny larvae are a menace. Sure, they will eventually turn into cute, little beetles. However, during the grub stage they wreak havoc on grass by eating the roots. An unchecked grub population can annihilate a lawn in one season. Grubs also attract moles, their natural predator. Moles exacerbate the problem by boring tunnels, causing unsightly dirt mounds that make it difficult to mow the lawn. Consider applying an insecticide or a natural product like milky spore granules to prevent an infestation. Reference the directions on your product to determine how long you should wait after fertilizing to apply insecticide or insect repellant.

Seeding? You may want to wait until Fall. September is usually a good time to aerate and seed or overseed the lawn, says Grass Green, Inc. a midwestern lawn care company. Also, seeding and aerating are jobs that many homeowners hire out out due to the labor and equipment involved.

Prep Garden Beds

Edge your beds before you spread new mulch. Edging is the process by which a landscaper (or DIY-er) gives a finished appearance to garden, flower, and mulch beds. You can use a manual or electric edger or trencher. Prices for edging tools range from $30 to over $100. Does your neighbor have an edger? Ask if you can borrow it instead of investing in your own. Edging is a task that most homeowners do once a year or less.

Spread mulch in your beds and around shrubs and other perennials. Mulch comes in many textures and colors. One yard of mulch covers approximately 100 square feet of space. You can pick up and haul your own mulch from a local mulch provider or nursery. Most nurseries will also deliver mulch to your driveway for a reasonable fee. Be ready with a large tarp for the mulch pile that you’ll be working from. Mulch can stain concrete so a plastic tarp barrier is recommended. The big box stores and even some grocery stores and gas stations sell mulch in bags, but for bigger jobs you can keep cost down by purchasing in bulk.

The Backdrop

When you’re planning for Spring beauty, don’t forget the house in the background! Your home is part of your yard’s aesthetic. Clean your front windows and door. Remove the cobwebs from your porch and mailbox. Rinse the winter salt from your front walk. Hang plants that fare well in cooler weather, like daisies and marigolds. Enjoy these late winter weekends by prepping your yard for Spring when the sun can shine on your beautiful space.

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