8 Ways to Prepare Your Lawn for Spring

As winter fades away and the first hints of spring appear, it’s time to breathe new life into your outdoor sanctuary – your lawn. The transition from the chilly months to the warmer, brighter days is the perfect opportunity to prepare your lawn for the sunny season ahead.

So, let’s discuss some essential steps to prepare your lawn for spring and ensure it’s thriving as it wakes up from its winter slumber. 

Rake Out Snow Mold

As the snow recedes, are you seeing matted-down patches of grass with a whitish or pinkish web-like material? If so, your lawn has snow mold, and it needs to be gotten rid of before it damages it.

late winter lawn tips

Snow mold is a type of fungus that appears as either pink or white mold and is brought on when it snows before the ground freezes. This cold blanket of snow traps warm air above the soil, creating a layer that is perfect for fungal growth. 

To keep snow mold from reproducing and damaging your lawn, rake out any infected areas. As you loosen them, the grass dries out, and fungal growth halts.

Leach Deicing Salts From the Soil

If you use snowmelt on your driveway, patio, or sidewalk, you need to remove the residual chemical salts from your soil. While these products may seem innocuous, they often lead to a build-up of sodium and other minerals in the soil close to the concrete. When sodium levels get too high, they will cause toxicity symptoms in your grass. 

To remove the excess sodium and prepare your lawn for spring, spread a thin layer of gypsum on the soil and then water it into the ground well. Continue to water it well for a couple of days. The calcium in the gypsum replaces the sodium on the soil particles; once the sodium is in the soil solution, you can leach it out of the root zone with excess water.

Remove Excess Thatch

Over time, a thick layer of thatch—dead grass, debris, and organic matter that is sitting on the soil surface—inhibits water, air, and nutrient movement down into the soil. It can also harbor insects and disease problems.

Dethatch your lawn with a rented power rake, or put in the elbow grease and do it yourself with your lawn or garden rake. If using a rake, push the tines deep down in the grass to dislodge the layer of thatch.

Break Up Soil Compaction

As traffic moves across your lawn, the weight can compress the soil, causing the empty space between the soil particles to disappear. When this happens, air and water have nowhere to hang out in the soil and instead stay on the soil surface. 

The soil needs to be aerated to break up the compaction and improve porosity. Core aeration is the standard practice in the lawn care industry and is typically done in the spring.

Molloy Lawn & Landscape offers lawn renovation services

During core aeration, a machine punches short metal cylinders in the soil. As the machine moves, its drum rotates and pulls cores from the cylinders out of the ground. The holes created let resources move down into the root zone. 

Check the Soil pH and Make Adjustments

For best grass growth, you want your soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0.—if it gets too far out of that range, it can affect nutrient availability, and you can see nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. 

With this in mind, it’s helpful to run a quick analysis and check the soil pH to prepare your lawn for spring. You can collect a soil sample and send it off for professional analysis, or you can purchase a DIY home kit. 

If the pH is much lower than 6.0, you can add lime treatments to the soil to raise the pH level and bring it closer to neutral. If it’s above 7.0, you can add acidifying products (typically sulfur-based) to lower the pH of the soil. 

Feed the Turf An Early Spring Fertilizer

As your grass comes out of winter dormancy and starts greening up and growing, giving it a boost of an early spring fertilizer is a great way to jump-start its growth. Just make sure to wait until soil temperatures hit 55°F.

If your grass doesn’t have any significant problems, look for a spring fertilizer with a 4-1-2 ratio. For instance, a good formulation would be a 16-4-8 fertilizer. These numbers mean there are four parts nitrogen, one part phosphorus, and two parts potassium.

Turn on the Sprinklers

Even though the weather is still a touch cool and your lawn might not need watering, this is the ideal time to start your sprinklers for the season. Turn on the water at the main shutoff and then perform some basic checks and adjustments.

  • Walk around the yard while the sprinklers are on, and check for leaks and broken or clogged sprinkler heads. 
  • Adjust any spray heads that are misaligned. They should have good coverage and overlap slightly with neighboring heads, but not extensively. 

Apply Pre-Emergent to Prevent Weeds

Lastly, apply a pre-emergent herbicide to keep lawn weeds at bay. 

Pre-emergent weed killers don’t stop weed seeds from germinating, but they do prevent seedlings from developing roots and pushing up through the soil surface. They’re a fantastic way to control annual crabgrass and dandelions. 

Apply a pre-emergent herbicide when you have at least five straight days of 50-55°F temps; this is usually late March or early April. A good rule of thumb is to get it down when the forsythia bushes start blooming.

Need Help to Prepare Your Lawn for Spring?

Molloy Lawn & Landscape offers a range of services, including landscape installation, lawn fertilization, and mosquito and tick control. Now is the perfect time to get on our schedule for this coming season!

If you’re interested in our high-quality services to prepare your lawn for spring, contact our friendly front office team by email or phone during business hours.

Our comprehensive array of lawn care, landscape maintenance, hardscaping services, and snow removal are available for homeowners and businesses in a seven-mile radius surrounding Milton, Massachusetts, including Hyde Park, Dorchester, Braintree, and Quincy.

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