When spring is finally in the air and the temperatures finally lift. When you're able to get outside and work, there are spring lawn care routines that can be done to ensure a healthy lawn all season long.
- Spend some time getting out the summer tools and supplies and put away the snow shovels and ice melt. Dig out the hoses, rakes, spreader, mowers and trimmers. If you put them away properly, everything should be clean and functional.
- Walk the yard and inspect the lawn for weak or thin turf, insect damage, disease activity, like snow mold, or any other irregularities.
- Pick up any debris that may have accumulated over the winter. Winter toys, litter, branches, and especially last season's leaves, which can harbor disease and pests.
- Give the lawn a good raking. Get aquatinted all over again with some elbow grease and sweat behind a fan rake. A vigorous raking will have a de-thatching effect and help "wake up" the lawn for the season. For larger lawns, mechanical de-thatchers can be pulled behind a tractor or attached to lawn mowers. Cutting all the stolons and rhizomes, and cleaning out some thatch, invigorates the grass and improves water and nutrient uptake.
- How long has it been since you had the soil tested? Soil test results should dictate your inputs for the season and be the cornerstone of a long term lawn care program. It's a good time of year to lime the lawn if necessary.
- Bare patches will need to be repaired, and areas with winterkill or snow mold will need to be raked out, overseeded, and topdressed.
- Weeds (especially crabgrass) like to start early. Based on IPM, determine a tolerable weed threshold and have either an organic or chemical weed control program.
- It's a good time to inspect tree branches and prune if necessary. Try to allow for adequate sunlight and air flow while still maintaining the natural shape and integrity of the tree.