Spring Lawn Care, What You Need to Know

In central Minnesota we endure some long hard winters. When spring  finally arrives it’s important that you take the proper measures to get your lawn ready for spring. After the long winter it is important that you help your lawn recover. That is why the first thing you should do is walk through your lawn and pick up debris from the winter. This will help your lawn dry. After that you can walk through your lawn and spot rake the matted down areas that probably are the result of snow mold. This will dry help those matted areas dry up quicker and break the snow mold.Spring Lawn Care

Mowing Your Lawn In Spring

When you are mowing your lawn for the first time of the season you should lower your lawn mower height by about ½ an inch from your regular mowing height. This will help pull up the dead and decaying organic matter and mulch the grass so it can decompose quickly. Cutting your lawn a little shorter will also help the soil dry by letting more sun into the soil layer. This will help your lawn get greener quicker.  After this first mowing of spring go back to your regular lawn mower height (we recommend that to be 3 inches for central Minnesota, or 3 ½ inches if you want to save a little water).

Dethatching Your Lawn

Thatch is stems and roots that have not yet decomposed that start to collect and pile up at the soil surface. If your lawn has 1/2 inch or more of thatch you will want to dethatch your lawn right after your soil dries. Usually dethatching every other year is enough to control thatch if you’re staying on top of mowing during the season. Remember, you want some thatch because this is where all the beneficial microorganisms live and convert organic material into beneficial elements for your lawn. Also, if you are going to dethatch your lawn lower your lawn mowers height by ½” and you’ll be amazed at the difference a ½” will make in cleaning your lawn.

Over Seeding

As you walk your lawn and remove debris you may notice thin or bare spots. If this is the case then over seeding should be on your mind. When overseeding make sure you get good seed to soil contact. For small areas just use a steel garden rake and rough up the area to be seeded, spread the seed and then rake over the area again to cover/incorporate the seed into the soil. If you have large areas that need to be over seeded you may have to rent specific equipment or call a professional lawn care company like Grow Rite. Those larger areas will require a mechanical seeder.

VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure if you’re going to over seed that you over seed before you put down a pre-emergent crabgrass control. The seeds you plant will need to germinate before applying the pre-emergent crabgrass control. You can always apply the pre-emergent crabgrass control to only those areas that you didn’t over seed and then go back and apply pre-emergent crabgrass control to seeded areas after the seed has germinated.

Fertilizing & Crabgrass Control

After all of these spring lawn care chores are done and the seed you have planted is up and growing then you should apply fertilizer with a pre-emergent crabgrass control. Crabgrass comes from seed every year when the soil temperatures reach between 50 -55  degrees Fahrenheit for about a week. Generally you’ll know that conditions are right for crabgrass because these same conditions can lead to lilacs blooming. The pre-emergent crabgrass control will act like a blanket over your lawn inhibiting the grass that you planted while over seeding from growing. This kills the seedlings and prevents those thin and bald spots from filling in. By using a combination of fertilizer and pre-emergent crabgrass control you are controlling crabgrass and fertilizing the lawn all in one process, saving time and energy.

Watering

In the spring the lawn doesn’t really need any additional water until we get consistent warm temperatures. The grass will find water by sending roots deeper into the soil. This combined with the gradual warm will create a deeper root system and healthier lawn in the process. Ideally you won’t have to water your lawn until May. When May comes and your lawn hasn’t gotten much rain and temps are warming then give your lawn a watering. Generally, when it comes to spring lawn care we are trying to keep the lawn thirsty and encourage those roots to grow deeper. Then when summer comes the lawn will be healthier and be able to with stand the summertime heat. Remember through late spring to fall the lawn will generally require 1 inch of water a week to maintain its health and appearance.

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