Now that spring has finally arrived, it is time to clean up your lawn in preparation for the summer ahead. By following this spring checklist, it gives your lawn the start it needs to grow strong and healthy this year. In short, when grass is coming out of dormancy from our long winter months it requires nutrients to be able to fully wake up. Think of it as your morning cup of coffee or a nutritious breakfast, you wouldn’t want to skip that!
1. Remove Debris
The first step is removing any debris that may have collected over the winter months. This mostly consists of sticks and loose garbage that got stuck under the snow. These items not only visually aren’t appealing but they can also hinder the overall healthy of your grass by blocking the soil underneath and creating an uneven landscape.
This should be done with a stiff rake like one of these. The reason for this is that you want to pick up any thatch (old, dead grass) that collects around the surface of the soil. The more thatch you have, the less space the air, water and nutrients have to get down into the soil. This step will take the longest but is the most important step in the spring clean up process. Be careful and ensure you are standing up straight and using your arms to avoid any potential strain on your back.
3. Spring Fertilizer
A spring fertilizer should be applied after you rake to allow for the nutrients to be absorbed by the soil and taken in by the roots of the grass. The fertilizer should contain higher nitrogen counts (i.e. 25%) to be able to wake the grass up. Also, it should contain a slow release component to continually provide nutrients during this critical growing stage.
4. Apply Top Soil and Seed to any Bare or Thinning Areas
Once the debris is removed and you’ve raked the grass may look a little bare or thin in some spots. This is a perfect time to put down a little top soil and seed to fill in those areas. The general rule of thumb is 1 – 2” layer of topsoil and a hand full of seed per square foot should do the trick. A thick lawn naturally reduces weeds, therefore this step helps a lot!
5. Cutting your Lawn
Now that you’ve got the lawn all prepped and ready to go you may be anxious to give it it’s first cut. Our suggestion is to wait a few days or even up to a week after you rake. The reason for this is that by pulling out the dead thatch it does cause some stress on the remaining, healthy grass. So you’ll want to give the lawn a few days to adjust to its environment and really start to grow before adding any additional stress that can come from cutting your lawn. In addition, when you’re cutting, you don’t want to take off more than ¼” of the grass blade and always cut at 2.5” – 3” high.
6. Edging Driveways, Sidewalks and Around Gardens
Another common spring clean up task is edging your property, for the reason that really helps the overall visual appeal by making your lawn edges crisp and clean. You’ll want to use a garden spade along your driveway, sidewalks and garden beds. You can do this by stepping down on the top of the tool and bending it towards your body, this pushes the excess forward and you can scoop it out and add it to your lawn waste bag. You’ll see, you won’t have to take out much to give it that picture frame cut that will make your neighbours jealous.
To sum up, This spring checklist may seem like a lot of work; however, these steps will help the overall health and wellness of your lawn. It will also help set your grass up to being the envy of the neighbourhood!