It's time to get your lawn ready for spring. We know you want a beautiful yard, but we also know that it can be hard to keep up with all of the work that goes into maintaining a healthy lawn.
Whether you're new to gardening or have been tending your garden for years, winterizing and keeping your lawn looking beautiful after winter can be daunting.
In this blog post, I'll give you some helpful tips on preparing your lawn and lawn maintenance after the winter season ends.
Winter is a tough time for lawns. Freezing and thawing action dries out the soil's natural moisture, leading to increased weeds and dead patches of grass in your winter lawn. That said winter lawn care doesn't have to be difficult.
Follow these simple steps, and soon enough, you'll be able to enjoy the fresh air on a summer evening with friends or family without worrying. Your lawn will thank you for it! And so will everyone else who visits!
Related Article: Planting Grass In Clay Soil: Easy Steps To Success
To determine the best time for improving your lawn's health, you must first identify which type of grass you have. With so many different climates within the US and differing plant life in each one, it is important to know where we are located before figuring out when to dethatch (remove thatch), aerate (reinforce airflow), weed and reseed our lawns.
Dethatch The Lawn
Dethatching is a lawn care technique that can help remove the thick layer of dead grass from your lawn. It's not nearly as popular or necessary for all gardens, but it could be beneficial if your grass has a thatch buildup.
Grasses such as Bermuda grass or Kentucky may need regular dethatching treatments because vigorous grass like these are more prone to this type of problem than clump-forming types such as tall fescue, perennial ryegrass and annual ryegrass seldom have thatch problems.
When To Dethatch A Lawn
In the warmest areas, dethatch warm season grass at the very end of winter, beginning of spring, and regions that experience a lot of frost on cool season grass, wait until late spring.
Dethatch while the weather is still cool. Never dethatch your lawn in hot weather.
How To Dethatch Lawn
A different grass variety will produce thatch at different rates. Not all lawns will need to be dethatched.
The best way to improve a healthy lawn is by getting rid of excess plant material known as "thatch."
When thatch gets very thick with a buildup of dead grass and roots, about 1 to 2in (2.5-5cm), which happens slowly over time, it stops the air, nutrients and water from reaching the roots.
Mow the lawn before dethatching and water, so the soil is moist but not soggy.
Use a manual dethatching rake, a rake, especially for thatching a lawn, or a power rake if you have a big lawn area or else a normal rake will do the job just as well on a small patch of grass. If you have a vast lawn, get the help of a lawn care professional.
Rake up and dispose of all the thatch onto a compost pile if there is no lawn disease.
How To Prevent Thatch Buildup On Lawn
A lawn with a low soil pH or compacted soil is likely to develop thatch, as well as lawns that have had too much synthetic fertilizer or heavy pesticides applied.
Proper watering, cutting back on fertilizer (or using organic only), mowing at the right height and aerating periodically helps prevent the buildup of dead grasses called "thatching."
Keep up these practices regularly—you won't have any need for dethatching unless something goes wrong, like too much rain or an insect infestation affecting dry patches of ground where nothing else grows well anyway.
Aerate The Lawn
If you have ultra-healthy organic soil with loads of microbes and earthworms, you will not need to aerate the soil. The earthworms will do the work for you—a really good reason for going organic and working with nature.
However, if your soil is compacted and if you did not aerate in the fall, you may want to aerate now in early spring.
Aerating the lawn improves the water and fertilizer uptake, reduces the soil's compaction, prevents thatch buildup and encourages the roots to grow deeper.
Aeration can help create holes down into the ground, allowing air, water, and nutrients to reach grassroots for healthy growth.
Use a manual aerator that takes a core of soil and turf, which comes out of the aerator's top.
The aerator forms holes in the soil and reduces the soil compaction. You can also rent a mechanical aerator if you have a large area.
Once you've aerated, the lawn looks like a little minefield with plugs of soil lying everywhere and holes in the lawn. Leave these plugs as they break down and will become part of the lawn again.
Overseed Or Reseed The Lawn
If dethatching create bare patches, you may need to overseed these areas to grow a thicker lawn.
Choose the seeds best for your area, climate and position. For example, a mixture of bluegrass fescue and rye is perfect for a sunny location.
Broadcast the seeds evenly using the recommended rates on the back of the grass seed bag to prevent overseeding.
Give them a quick rake in with the back of the rake to gently work the seeds in.
Add a light covering of soil to cover the seeds.
Fertilize The Lawn
Fertilizer will replace lost nutrients in the soil resulting in a healthy root system and overall plant health and deepens green color in the grass.
Always use organic fertilizers as these feed the soil and promote a healthy soil ecosystem. Feeding the soil with organic lawn fertilizer will benefit the soil and the plant; never burn the plant, stimulate beneficial soil microorganisms and improve the soil.
Organic fertilizers have minimal if any run-off or leaching.
When excess nutrients from synthetic fertilizers run off into the waterways, it causes pollution.
Use a fast-acting, high nitrogen fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season, improving the lawn foliage. This organic fertilizer will give the plants the micronutrients they need to thrive and improve soil and lawn health. Follow the directions on the bag.
If you have reseeded, this will nourish the new seed and existing lawn. Organic fertilizers will give long-term benefits to your lawn.
Stay away from chemical fertilizers and the temporary benefits they provide.
For proper lawn care, organic garden fertilizer is the most beneficial sustenance for your grass. This fertilizer provides both short and long-term soil building capabilities that will benefit you in ways only an organic option can deliver.
Watering The Lawn
After reseeding and fertilizing, water the grass keeping it damp for a few days until germination appears - check the bag for expected germination times.
Only mow the lawn once the grass reaches 3 inches (7.5cm) or more.
Ensure the irrigation system distributes equal amounts of water over the lawn to keep the lawn evenly watered, which is critical to a green lawn in summer.
Keep Weeds Down
Never weed and feed your garden at the same time. These two should be done at different times.
Very few weeds can tolerate low mowing, and constant mowing will kill off most weeds and encourage grass to spread. Mow regularly and consistently to keep weeds down. I try to stay away from weed killers in my organic garden.
If you have to use weed killer, do it in the fall, and only spot spray on certain weeds that are a concern.
There will always be weeds, but if you keep your lawn healthy, they will overtake the weeds in most instances.
- Not all lawn needs dethatching or aerating.
- Fertilize regularly with organic fertilizer.
- Keep the lawn evenly watered.
- Set the lawn mower blade on a low setting for weed control.