There’s no underestimating the effect a lush and green lawn can have on a home. A well-cared-for lawn can add loads of curb appeal to your house and spring garden. Follow these spring lawn care tips to help your own yard flourish in the spring months.
Spring Lawn Care Tip #1: Be Patient
In Alberta, the start of spring doesn’t necessarily mean the end of cold weather. Unless you are very new to Alberta, you’re used to the warm spring weather not arriving until much closer to summer.
For most spring lawn care tasks, you’ll want to wait until your grass starts getting some of its green back, the ground is thawed and dry and you are fairly sure that the cold season is behind you. This may be especially true for the tasks that require you to walk on your lawn. According to the experts at Garden Myths, walking on lawns that are still wet could compact the soil, damaging it and making it difficult for grass to grow in the future.
Spring Lawn Care Tip #2: Get Your Mower Ready
You’re going to be using your mower fairly frequently throughout the warm months. Take this time to get it prepared for the heavy workload.
Preparing your mower is one task you can get out of the way while you perform spring home maintenance and wait for consistent warm weather to arrive. Give your lawn mower a good tune up by:
- Changing the oil and spark plug
- Cleaning or replacing air filters as directed in your user manual
- Sharpening or replacing blades—dull blades might pull grass up rather than giving it a nice clean cut
- Cleaning off old dirt and grass
If you have an edger, you can use the above tips to tune it up for use during the warmer part of the year.
Spring Lawn Care Tip #3: Do Some Light Raking
When your grass begins to show some green and the ground is thawed, start off your spring lawn care by giving your lawn a gentle rake. Concentrate on clearing the lawn of dead leaves and debris that may have gathered during the winter, rather than getting deep into your grass (this is something you’ll save for later). This is also a great chance to inspect your lawn and see if there are any trouble areas such as dead or bare patches, or areas infested with snow mould that you’ll have to take care of at a later time.
Spring Lawn Care Tip #4: Dethatch Your Lawn
Thatch is a layer of organic material made up of old and dead grass roots and other parts of grass that sits right on top of the soil in your lawn. Having a thin layer of thatch can be beneficial to your lawn as it may keep the soil insulted from extreme temperatures. On the other hand, thatch that is too thick may be harmful to your lawn and keep nutrients, air and water from the soil. Getting rid of excessive thatch, or dethatching, may play a role in keeping your lawn healthy.
Minimally, all you’ll need is a thatch rake and some elbow grease to dethatch your lawn. Rake deep into your lawn vigorously to remove the layer of thatch.
You can also dethatch your lawn by machine. Power dethatchers come in all shapes and sizes. Since this is a machine you’ll not be using on a regular basis, you may want to rent one from a local tool and hardware store rather than purchasing your own.
Spring Lawn Care Tip #5: Aerate Your Lawn
As with any living organism, breathing is essential for your lawn. Heavy foot traffic can compact the soil, which may hinder air flow to the roots any may also restrict proper circulation of water and nutrients to your lawn. Aerating your lawn can help combat the negative effects of compacted soil.
When to aerate your lawn varies depending on the type of grass and climate. In general, around Alberta it’s best to aerate your grass between May and June and also around the middle of September.
Your lawn should be moist but not saturated with water, so water your grass two days before you begin aerating. You can likely rent an aerator from your local home and garden store. The aerator should punch holes about 5-8 cm deep and 1.25-2 cm wide approximately 5-8 cm apart. Leave the resulting soil plugs in place to decompose and add nutrients to your lawn.
Spring Lawn Care Tip #6: Fertilize Your Lawn
General lawn care tips for spring tend to recommend fertilizing your yard when the grass starts to grow and get green again. In Alberta, this means you may not be able to fertilize your lawn until late spring or early summer, which is also around the time you should start watering your lawn again. Wait for the weather to stay consistently free of snow and rain before you start regularly watering your lawn. This will promote healthy root growth and prevent you from using water while nature is already providing it.
Fertilizer is typically organic, like compost, or synthetic. Both types of fertilizer provide the soil with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Labels on store-bought fertilizer will tell you the percentage of each of those nutrients. Look for a ratio of about 4 (nitrogen) -1 (phosphorus) -2 (potassium).
Be careful not to add too much nitrogen to your lawn as it could kill the grass by way of fertilizer burn. To avoid fertilizing issues, you may want to have a professional lab test and analyze your soil to learn how much or how little fertilizer your lawn needs. You can also buy a home-testing kit from your local home and garden store to gauge the health of your lawn’s soil on your own.
Spring Lawn Care Tip #7: Overseed Your Lawn
Overseeding is simply the process of spreading grass seeds over your lawn. You’ll want to first overseed your lawn in the fall, before the cold hits. As your grass starts to grow in the spring, you may find patches of empty space in your lawn or patches of dead grass. You may want to overseed these areas to help promote fresh grass growth. However, taking general good care of your lawn (watering, mowing, fertilizing, etc.) may also help revive the trouble areas of your lawn.
If your lawn is susceptible to weeds, you might want to more strongly consider overseeding empty spaces in your lawn. By seeding the empty space with new grass, you can keep unwanted weeds, like crab grass, from growing.
Spring Lawn Care Tip #8: Remove Weeds
There are a few ways to handle weeds in your lawn during the spring. As a preventative measure, overseed your lawn before cold weather hits. Overseeding in the fall may help promote healthy growth of grass in the spring or early summer, giving little to no room for weeds to grow.
You can also attack weeds chemically. Pre-emergent herbicides stop certain weeds seeds from growing out of the soil, while post-emergent sprays attack weeds that have already emerged. Before you go the chemical route, make sure you research the effects any given chemical might have on your grass, animals and the environment.
If you don’t want to spray your lawn, you can pull weeds out manually. There are a variety of weeding tools that can help simplify the task of pulling weeds from your yard. Just make sure you are removing weeds at the root for the best results.
Taking good care of your lawn could get it to the perfect shade of green that has your neighbourhood a-buzz. We hope these spring lawn care tips can help your lawn get to where you want it. As one of your neighbours and energy providers in Alberta, we will surely be in awe of your pristine lawn! For more information on regulated Alberta energy rates and how we might be able to help you, contact us at 1.866.420.3174.