Spring is the best time to prepare your lawn for summer. A little soil testing, de-thatching and feeding now will help ensure a lush, green lawn later. Refresh your lawn for summer after its long winter nap with these tips.
The type of amendments your lawn needed last year may not be what it needs this year and a simple soil test will reveal exactly what’s needed. Gather up a tablespoon of soil from at least 5 different locations in your lawn, place in a zip-top bag and take it to your local County Extension Office for a soil test. The results will take a few days to get and cost is $25. If you prefer a quicker, cheaper, but not quite as accurate soil test, you can purchase a DIY soil test kit at any garden supply center. The whole point of performing a soil test is so you’ll be able to feed your soil what it needs so it in turn will be able to give the grass and plants what they need.
Thatch is a tight mat of dry grass clippings that forms on the soil surface and smothers the grass. A layer of thatch will impede the soil’s ability to receive food or water and will ultimately kill your lawn. To prevent thatch buildup, rake grass clippings after mowing or use a mulch blade. If your lawn feels ‘spongy’ when you walk on it, that’s a good sign of a thatch buildup problem. Hand rake small lawns or rent a power de-thatcher to remove the buildup from large lawns so your lawn can receive the oxygen, nutrients and moisture it needs to thrive.
Give your lawn a good feeding right after the first mowing of spring. Rake up the grass clipping so the fertilize will land on the soil and apply a high-nitrogen, granulated fertilizer with a broadcast spreader. The amount of nitrogen in fertilize is told by the first number on the fertilize bag. Nitrogen promotes above ground growth and lawn food that has a high amount of nitrogen, like a 32-0-4, will enable to your lawn to green up quickly and grow rapidly. Six weeks after the first mowing and feeding, apply another round of fertilizer with a more balanced food to promote all-around grass growth and health.
Aerating the lawn loosens the soil so oxygen and nutrients can reach the grass roots, it’s also needful when using pre-emergent weed control on your lawn. The weed-killing product will be able to soak down into the soil where the weeds seeds are hiding and kill them before they have a chance to germinate. A lawn aerator can be purchased or rented and will help refresh your lawn for summer.