Though we have over a foot of snow outside, my mind can’t help but start planning for spring. As January draws to a close, my thoughts are turned to warmer days, green lawns, flower beds bursting with color, and a garden ready to plant.
Giving your grass some attention towards the end of winter is a sure fire way to get a jump start on a better looking yard come spring and summer. Here are some tips to get started.
Get your yard ready for spring
1. Clean up
This one is pretty obvious. Storms can blow in all kinds of debris; more leaves can fall, sticks and branches can break, and even trash can find its way into your yard over the winter. Here in the country, spring also means a major poop-scoop! As soon as all that snow melts we’ve got to clean up the potty breaks our dogs made that we missed due to heavy snowfall.
The quickest way to perk up a tired looking yard just waking up from winter is to freshen up those flower beds. Trim and prune any dead annual material you overlooked last year, lay down some fresh mulch, and plant some cold weather flowers like pansies or crocuses.
2. Raking the lawn
It may seem like you just put the tools away in the fall, but as soon as the snow melts for good, you ought to bust them out again to help breathe life into your sleepy lawn. Raking up dead, matted grass will perk up your lawn, prevent thatch, and pay off when that lawn starts greening up. If you’ve got a large lawn, tow a Tine Dethatcher behind your riding lawn mower.
3. Compaction and aeration
Check for compaction – do you have any mossy or slick muddy areas? If your lawn has compacted over a winter of heavy snows, you’ll want to aerate the lawn to let air down to the roots. Some experts recommend only aerating in the fall, so check with your local lawncare stores and get their opinions.
Hopefully you fertilized well in the fall, but if you’ve got lawn damage, you may want to fertilize to correct problems. First have a local garden center test your soil to find out if the lawn needs adjustments to its pH. Make sure the soil temperature reaches between 50 and 55 degrees F before you apply the fertilizer.
5. Weed prevention
Check any areas where weeds were a problem the year before. Dig out any roots – often these are the first plants to green up in the spring, so they should be fairly easy to find. Do the work now to get those roots out, and save yourself some work later. You may also want to apply a Preemergent Herbicide for further weed prevention. Keep an eye out as the day turn warmer, and nip the weeds you missed in the bud.
If you’re in an area with really mild winters, you’ll want to mow your lawn really short. Cold weather grasses don’t need this treatment.
7. Machine tune-ups
Dust off your lawn mower and give it a good tune up before putting it to good use in the coming season.