Smart and simple lawn care tips for spring
After a blistery winter and a slog of spring showers, it’s time to give your lawn some TLC. Unfortunately, that lush green look isn’t going to happen all by itself. Follow these tips to prime your lawn for success this summer.
Weeds—the scourge of any good lawn
Weeds can make or break your lawn, so take action early. Use a pre-emergent herbicide to stop weeds before they sprout to full strength during the warmer months. You’ll also want to watch out for an excess of thatch, that spongy layer of dead grass that builds up on your lawn. A little bit of thatch is normal, but if it gets more than an inch tall it can inhibit other growth. Thatch can often build up in soil that is compacted, so treat with core aeration and avoid the use of too many herbicides and pesticides.
Fill in those bare spots
If you have bare or dead spots in your lawn, you’ll want to be sure to fill them in so weeds don’t creep in to fill their place. For maximum success, don’t just sprinkle seeds haphazardly. Instead, combine soil with grass seeds in a wheelbarrow into a 60/40 blend, soil to seed. Then use a metal rake to scratch at the bare spot to clear away dead grass and prime the soil. Sprinkle the seed and soil mixture, then give a thorough watering. And make sure not to walk on the new seeds for three to four weeks, so you don’t trample sprouts as they take hold.
(Re)start your engines
After several months of idle exile in the garage, your lawnmower is going to need some love if it’s going to keep running strong all summer. First, be sure to change the oil, air filter and spark plug (and give yourself a reminder to do this at the end of the fall, so old dirty oil doesn’t sit in the engine all winter). Next, clean off the top and undercarriage of dirt and debris, but be sure to detach the spark plug wire before placing your hand near the cutting blade. After you filled up the fuel tank, you’re all set to go. And keep in mind that a mower can prove more difficult to start if the engine block is cold—instead, place in the sun for an hour or two prior to use to help it warm up.
A smarter way to water
Once your bright and beautiful lawn is up and running, you’ll want to make sure to water effectively. Contrary to popular practice, a standard garden hose and nozzle is not the best way to water your plants, since a lot of water can be lost via mist, runoff and evaporation. Instead, use a soaker hose or sprinkler for even and efficient distribution. And mornings and evenings are often the best time to water plants, since cooler temperatures allow the water to soak in before it evaporates on the surface.