Prepping Your Lawn in Early Spring

R. L. Rhodes
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Using a lawn spreader.

Diligent lawn wranglers come in two varieties. There are those who can’t wait to get out in the grass and tame their lawns. Then there are those who hate the work, but see a neat and healthy lawn as the reward that makes it all worthwhile.

Whether you’re itching to get the lawn tools out of storage or dreading the first mow of the season, it behooves you to get a jump start on your lawn. For those who enjoy the work, the benefits are obvious. But for everyone else, an early start can make the rest of your year a great deal easier. Here are five steps you can take now to get ready for the lawn care season ahead.

Tidy the place up a bit

Fall and winter may have left your lawn littered with sodden leaves or pockets of snow mold. Rake up any loose plant matter. Remove any diseased plots of grass. The best way to repair damage the down seasons did to your lawn is to build it back up strong and healthy during the spring. The best way to start is with a thorough cleaning.

Establish your roots

Particularly if you fertilized at the end of autumn, you may want to hold off on fertilizer until the peak of the growing season. Nitrogen-based fertilizers promote blade growth, but may do so by directing nutrients away from the roots. Devote the early spring to nurturing your lawn’s hold on the soil, then you can turn to promoting lush greenery later in the season.

Test your soil

It may be a touch too early to start fertilizing your lawn right now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking ahead. A soil test can help you decide what fertilizers and amendments you’ll need when it’s time to start feeding your soil. There are several ways to test; check out our primer on soil tests to decide which makes the most sense for you.

Get A jump on weeds

By the time you see invasive species popping up alongside the grass, they’ll already have their foot in the door. That means more work for you, plucking out established weeds even as you try to encourage your grass to grow lush and full in the same space. Applying a pre-emergent weed-killer now will help prevent weeds before they germinate, which means more space for the plants you want in your lawn.

Get ready for the first mow

Lawn experts recommend that you cut no more than the top third of the grass blade when you mow. Starting your mowing routine at the right time means keeping an eye on the height of your grass. Once it reaches about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in height, you can start mowing it back to between 1 1/2 and 2 inches in height.

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