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Spring Lawn Care Preparation & Steps

Spring lawn care is a great way for you to get outside, enjoy the warmer weather and get your lawn into great shape for the summer. Proper care for your lawn coming out of the winter season is key to having a green, healthy lawn all summer long that can make your garden look great and complement any deck or patio. Follow these simple guidelines to bring your lawn back to life and keep it healthy and weed-free.

Skill Level: Beginner
Time:
  1. Step 1 Give your Lawn Mower a Tune-Up

    A person works on their lawn mower.

    The first step in your spring lawn care preparation is to tune up your lawn mower. Start by changing the oil, air filter and spark plug. Next, clean the top and undercarriage, removing dirt and grass clippings. Be sure to detach the spark plug wire before working around the cutting blade.

    Don’t flip a gas mower over to clean underneath; simply lift one side and brush away dried grass. Sharpen the mower blade and replace it if it has large nicks or gouges. It’s a good idea to keep an extra blade on hand so you always cut with a sharp edge. If you prefer a hands-off approach, take your mower to the shop, though you may want to do it in late fall or winter to avoid spring crowds.

    Last but not least, fill the fuel tank. Note, a cold mower can be hard to start in early spring. Warm it up by placing it in the sun for an hour or two prior to starting.

  2. Step 2 Clean Up your Yard

    A person rakes their lawn.

    A big part of spring lawn care is getting all of the old, dead foliage and debris out of your yard so your lawn has a fresh space to grow. Walk over your lawn and gather any leaves, branches or other debris that has appeared over winter. Then, rake out dead grass and old leaves.

  3. Step 3 Aerate the Soil

    A person aerates their lawn.

    Aerating refers to the removal of plugs of soil from your lawn, which helps loosen compacted soil and allows vital air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots. You can either aerate your lawn yourself or call a lawn service. If you plan to DIY, rent an aerator from Home Depot Tool Services and follow these tips. You want to aerate when your grass is in its peak growing season so it can recover quickly — think early spring. If you have high-traffic areas or heavy clay soil, you will want to aerate every year. If you have sandy soil or your lawn is growing well, you can aerate every 2-3 years.

  4. Step 4 Dethatch Your Lawn

    A person uses a dethatcher to dethatch their lawn.

    Thatch is a layer of living and dead grass shoots, stems and roots that forms between the green grass blades and the soil surface. Some thatch is beneficial — it conserves ground moisture, cushions turf and insulates soil from extreme temperatures. But anything more than half an inch thick can be problematic. Heavy thatch can repel water, dry up roots and provide cover for unwanted insects.

    When the thatch layer is more than ¾ inch thick, it can lead to increased pest and diseases problems (and reduce the effectiveness of some fungicides and insecticides) and reduce the amount of oxygen and moisture that are able to reach the soil and grass roots. When this happens, it’s time to dethatch your lawn. Dethatching removes this thick layer of decaying plant material so air, water, nutrients, and fertilizer can reach the soil better, plus your lawn can drain more effectively.

    Ask The Home Depot Tool Rental Centre about renting tools to manage thatch.

  5. Step 5 Overseed the Lawn

    A person uses a hand-held seed spreader to broadcast seed onto their lawn.

    A great question for spring lawn maintenance is when to overseed your lawn. The best time is mid-April to mid-May. Overseeding is often overlooked when it comes to home lawn care. Extra seeding can repair bare patches and create a thick lawn that crowds out weeds and resists insects and disease. Purchase a grass seed appropriate for the conditions you are growing in. For example, a lawn that receives an average amount of sun requires an all-purpose blend.

    Make sure to read the label of all products to ensure you’re using the right one for your lawn. Distribute it evenly onto your lawn using a hand-held spreader. If you have a large property, consider investing in a push broadcast spreader. Lightly rake the soil to create seed-soil contact, but don't cover the grass seed as it needs direct sunlight to begin to sprout.

  6. Step 6 Water Your Lawn Frequently

    A person waters their lawn with a hose.

    Grass seeds need direct sunlight and regular moisture to begin to sprout, which can take up to three weeks. Be vigilant and water the seed daily, ensuring it stays moist but not wet. Only once you start to see the grass seed begin to sprout should you begin to cut back on watering.

    Water new and established lawns early in the morning to avoid any water being lost to evaporation. Also, avoid watering at night—your lawn will likely stay wet, providing an ideal environment for disease. Once your lawn is established, water deeply (unless it has rained) with at least one inch of water per week to encourage healthy roots.

  7. Step 7 Fertilize Every Eight Weeks

    A seed spreader and a bag of seed sit on a lawn.

    Your lawn will naturally thrive if you pay attention to it early in the season, but lawns do require fertilizer in order to stay healthy and maintain a lush green appearance. Every eight weeks, use an eco-friendly fertilizer — not only do these products promote strong root development and eliminate weeds, but they are also safe to use around children and pets, and are permitted in areas with pesticide/herbicide bans. Homemade compost is a natural alternative you can use to provide essential nutrients for a thick, green lawn.

    A healthy lawn is the best defense against insect pests. It endures insect feedings without showing visible signs of minor damage, and it repairs itself with new growth once the insects have departed. Common insect problems on Canadian lawns are white grubs, sod webworms, and chinch bugs.

  8. Step 8 Watch for Weeds

    A person sprays weed killer on their lawn.

    Kill pesky weeds with a weed control product which attacks weeds without harming your grass. There are two types of weed control available, ready-to-use and concentrates. There are different preparation methods for each:

    Ready-to-Use:

    • Shake well before using.
    • Spray weeds until foliage is thoroughly wetted, just to the point of runoff.
    • Repeat treatment once in four or more weeks after the first treatment if necessary.

    Concentrates:

    • Follow the directions on your bottle of weed control concentrate to ensure you mix the correct ratios.
    • Use a sprayer bottle with for easier delivery.
    • Repeat treatment once in four or more weeks after the first treatment if necessary.

    Following these spring lawn care steps will have you ready to grow a great lawn in no time.

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