Start early in the season to grow the lawn of your dreams. Prepare your soil and landscape for thick, healthy, barefoot-worthy grass by midsummer.
Plan early in the season. And with some sweat equity and know-how, you’ll be on your way.
Take these 5 steps to prep for the lawn of your dreams:
1. Know your lawn
Begin by pulling together three key pieces of information:
- The size of your lawn. This will determine how much product to buy.
- The type of grass. Warm-season grasses grow best in hot weather and are planted in spring. They will go dormant in very hot weather. Cool-season grasses are planted in summer and fall. Learn more about grass seed types in this buying guide.
- The growing season. Some grasses can be planted early in spring and again in fall for a thicker lawn.
2. Clean up
Winter is hard on the landscape, even in milder climates. If the winter weather didn’t beat down on your lawn, perhaps you got caught up in fall’s busy activities and didn’t have time for fall cleanup chores.
At any rate, when the days warm up, get outside, pick up sticks and rake up leaves. If you missed mulching your flower beds and around shrubs and trees in the fall, it’s never too late. Tidy up your yard so that you can build it up to a strong and healthy lawn this spring.
3. Take a soil test
In most areas of the country, late winter is a little early to feed your lawn, but it’s not too early to perform a soil test. You can purchase a soil test from the Garden Center or contact your local Cooperative Extension Service office for this low-cost test. The soil test results will help you understand the type of soil you have and what kinds of amendments you’ll need to add when it’s time to start feeding your soil.
4. Establish a strong root system
If you fertilized at the end of fall, hold off on feeding your lawn until the growing season is underway. The encouragement to grow the grass blade takes nutrients away from the roots. Focus on building strong roots then turn your attention to blade growth.
Feeding your lawn in the spring strengthens roots and gets it off to a good start before the heavy growing season. If you had crabgrass last year, apply a combination product that contains a pre-emergent to control crabgrass. A good rule of thumb to follow: Feed your lawn in the spring around the first time it needs mowing. Learn more about fertilizing your lawn in this buying guide.
5. Take action on weeds
As soon as the sun warms the soil, weeds will appear. Be diligent about pulling weeds early in the season to keep them from taking over your lawn as the days heat up.
Apply a pre-emergent weed killer now to prevent weeds before they germinate. The weed and feed products give nutrition to your lawn while killing weeds.
Learn more about early season lawn care in these Garden Club stories:
- Tackle Weeds and Get the Lawn of Your Dreams
- Top Dressing Your Lawn
- It All Starts with Soil
- Tune Up Your Lawnmower
- Grow a Lush Lawn When You Eliminate Moss