Lawn maintenance tips and tricks
Once all the landscaping tasks have been accomplished, basic lawn care is not as difficult or labor-intensive as most people imagine. In short, caring for your lawn throughout the year mostly includes grooming practices such as trimming, edging, mowing and watering.
However, in the spring, there are a few additional tasks you’ll want to consider performing to make lawn care easier throughout the summer months. Thankfully, these chores aren’t too difficult, either.
These are some of the best practices for lawn care this spring and summer.
Spring lawn care
Preparing your equipment Early spring — ideally the end of winter — is the best time to assess your lawn equipment. Give your lawnmower a tuneup: change the oil, air filter and spark plug. It’s also important to sharpen or replace the lawnmower blade — a dull blade tears grass instead of cutting it, which can allow for fungus to set in. If it’s been a few years, you may want to consider purchasing a new lawnmower to stave off midsummer frustrations.
Clean the area After the last snow has melted away and the ground is dry, take a stroll around your yard with your favorite rake and a pop-up garden bag. Scoop up any small debris and place it in your garden bag so it can either be added to your compost pile or disposed of properly. For larger items such as tree branches, you can toss them in a chipper or schedule a waste pick-up with your town.
Dethatch Thatch is a dense layer of living and dead organic material that accumulates on the surface of your soil. This layer can block vital nutrients as well as air and water from getting to the roots of your grass. To have the healthiest lawn possible, break up this material so your grass can thrive. The most affordable way to dethatch is with a thatching rake that you move back and forth over the surface of your lawn to accomplish the task.
Take control of the weeds If you have problematic weeds such as crabgrass, spring is a good time to get a head start with a preemergent herbicide. This product interrupts a weed’s growth process and prevents it from germinating. The only catch is it must be applied at the right time, when the soil reaches a steady temperature of about 55 degrees — too early and it won’t last all season; too late and you’ll miss your window of opportunity.
Fill the bare spots Before filling any bare spots or overseeding your lawn, read the directions on any preemergent herbicide that you may have applied. This is because most of these products will also stop grass seed from germinating, so there may be a waiting period before you can seed your lawn. For best results, it’s important to purchase grass seed that matches the climate and growing conditions of your region.
Summer lawn care
Don’t mow too low The trick to having a healthy lawn is only removing the top third of the grass blade when you mow. If you remove too much of the blade at one time, you may get brown patches and invite weeds to take over. In general, you’ll need to mow your lawn once each week to keep it in its healthiest condition.
Trimming and edging keep things neat No matter how skilled you are at mowing, to get that head-turning lawn all summer long, you also need to trim and edge. A battery-powered grass trimmer allows you to cut those hard-to-get areas such as near your fence or under your deck. Running an edger along your driveway and walkways gives your yard a fresh, neat look. It can also help keep weeds from encroaching on areas you want to keep weed-free.
Don’t forget to water When you walk across your grass and the blades don’t spring back up, it’s a sign that your lawn needs more water. The best time to turn on the sprinkler is in the early morning, after the sun comes up but before 10 a.m. Your lawn only needs roughly 1.5 inches of water each week, which is enough for the top 6 inches of the soil to get moist — if you can easily slide a screwdriver 6 inches into the soil, you’re good. Also, it’s better to water your lawn twice a week (if it needs it) rather than all at once.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.