Your lawn may look as tired as a Black Friday shopper, but, like a facial and a long massage, just a little attention at the end of winter can spruce your lawn up and get it ready for a beautiful spring day.
First, you should consider how you want your lawn to look. Many people are opting to downsize their lawns in order to reduce maintenance and create a clean, elegant look. Consider hemming in your lawn and lining the edges with brick or a narrow band of stone that is flush with the ground. This helps keep your lawn clean, sharp, and neat throughout the seasons. It also prevents your lawn from being eaten away by garden areas and flowerbeds that may be reshaped each year.
Now that you have a clean shape, or at least a plan for one, you need to aerate your lawn, after the snow thaws a bit, of course. Soil in your lawn becomes cold, hard, and compacted throughout the winter months and that makes it very difficult for water and air to reach the roots of your plants and grass come the spring and summer months. Try helping out Mother Nature by using a core aerator to till the soil. Renting one of these machines for a day should cost no more than $100 and is usually less.
Mow old grass down to increase the green. You can skip this step for cool-season grasses, but for those with warm-season grass, this is important. For most warm-season grasses, mowing lawns to between ½ and 1 inch can help stop the accumulation of dead stems and leaves. Like aerating soil, this step helps water, air, and nutrients reach the roots of you pants and grass.
Clippings for Composting
Don’t forget to gather the clippings for composting! If you don’t compost, discard those clippings; you want your lawn to be exposed to the sun so it can help warm the soil and encourage your grass to grow tall and green. There are several things that you can do with your grass clippings; you can use them for your mulch around your trees and larger bushes or you can use it to make great rich gardening soil.
One last, important step is to stop weeds from taking over. As temperatures rise, weeds begin to sprout. To stop them from emerging, apply a pre-emergent lawn weed preventer such as Scotts Halts Crabgrass Preventer or similar. These pre-emergent herbicides form a barrier on the soil that helps stop weeds from spouting. Long-term, this helps avoid the need for spot weed killers.
It is important to note that applying a pre-emergent herbicide should not be done before aeration, or the barrier formed by the herbicide will be broken and you will see weeds in your lawn anyway. These products also shouldn’t be used if you are sowing new grass seeds into your lawn, as they will prevent the growth of new grasses just as effectively as they will new weeds!