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Evaluate and Prep Your Lawn for Spring

As the weather warms up, it's time to head outside and start enjoying your yard. It's also time to begin getting your lawn in shape for the growing season.

Lawn.

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Evaluating the Lawn

Evaluating the Lawn

Take a look at your lawn and see what kind of attention it needs.

  • Did it suffer through an extremely hot, dry summer or tough winter?
  • Does it have a few bare spots and problem weeds?
  • Do you need to overseed or start an entirely new lawn?
  • Is your lawn level or do you need to take care of a few low or high?

If your lawn is in fairly good shape, spot seeding or overseeding can repair it in just a few weeks. You can spot seed to mend a bare spot or two. Overseeding spreads seed over an existing lawn to make it fuller. Early spring is a good time for overseeding.

Preparing the Lawn for Seed

Whether you'll be spot seeding and overseeding or starting over with a new lawn, take the time to get your landscape ready before you start spreading seed.

Step 1

Clean up any fall and winter debris like leaves, stones and sticks.

Step 2

If the growing season in your area has already begun, cut the grass short and collect the clippings.

Step 3

If you didn't dethatch the lawn in the fall, go ahead and do it now. Dethatching removes dead roots and grasses that can build up during a growing season. Use a garden rake or thatching rake to remove the dead vegetation.

Step 4

Aerate the lawn. Aerating breaks up the soil surface and punches holes into the earth, allowing air, water, nutrients and new seeds to penetrate the soil. Run it over your lawn in the same pattern that you use when mowing. Every lawn benefits from regular aeration. For optimum growth, lawns should be aerated once or twice a year, in spring and fall. After aerating, you can add organic matter such as peat moss to enrich and loosen the soil.

Good to Know

Aerators are machines with tines mounted on a rotating drum. You can rent an aerator or use a riding mower attachment.

Step 5

Rake or till any bare spots to break up the soil to a depth of approximately 2 inches.

Step 6

Identify any problem weed areas and spray them with a nonselective herbicide designed to eliminate a broad range of plants. If you’re doing a total lawn renovation, apply the herbicide to the entire lawn. Nonselective herbicides kill all plants. Don't apply on nearby decorative plants.

Caution

Always wear gloves appropriate for the herbicide you're using in addition to long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, rubber boots and any safety gear specified by the herbicide manufacturer when applying these chemicals. Wash out all clothing after use.

Step 7

Wait several days for the vegetation to die, then rake or till the soil, removing the problem plants and any other vegetation and creating a clean bed about 2 inches deep.

Step 8

As needed, check for low or high spots in your yard.

  • Fill in low spots by adding topsoil. Remember that topsoil provides a great medium for weeds to germinate. Watch for them and pull them immediately.
  • Remove high spots by cutting an X in the raised area with a garden spade. Peel the sod back, remove as much soil as necessary from underneath and lay the sod back in place.

Other Spring Lawn Care Tasks

Now that you've prepped your lawn, there are other steps you'll need to take to get your landscape looking its best:

Caution

When using lawn treatments or lawn care products, always follow package directions regarding proper clothing, protective equipment, application procedures and safety precautions.