6. Mow High
During this season, try to not take any shortcuts—instead, go high. Most lawns do their best at a grass height of 3 to 4 inches, so cut only ⅓ of the blades’s length. You should adjust your mower to cut at the highest setting for your grass type.
Short grass translates to shallow roots, making drought stress more likely. If you cut your grass too short, that lets too much sunlight in, making your lawn the perfect home for weeds. Tall grass, on the other hand, means deeper roots, which can compete with weeds.
If winter has left your lawn with bare patches, get ready to overseed. Try to wait until fall since new seeds won’t have to compete with as many weeds.
Overseeding can thicken up your grass and return your lawn to its former, lush glory. The turf builder you choose will have a blend of seed and fertilizer. Different types are suited to cool-season grass and warm-season grass, so be sure to check out the specific type when purchasing your blend. Use a hand spreader to distribute the seed.
After overseeding, it’s essential to nurture your newly seeded grass for the first few weeks. Take extra care. Apply a slow-release fertilizer to help it grow hardy and healthy. It’s okay to be a helicopter plant parent, watering the area every day for the first two weeks.
8. Kill Lawn Weeds
Spring weed control calls for pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides. That is, if you don’t overseed. Overseeding and applying pre-emergent herbicide conflict with one another, since herbicide will halt the germination of new grass seeds.
If you decide against overseeding, put pre-emergent herbicides on the offensive, preventing future weeds that could crop up.
If you’ve spotted weeds like dandelions on your springtime lawn, you can either pull them out by hand—an often tedious and not all that effective task—or apply a post-emergent herbicide. This type’s on the defensive, wiping out weeds that have already taken root.
Like overseeding, don’t fertilize your lawn if you’ve applied herbicides. If you haven’t, then slow-release, nitrogen-rich fertilizers are your lawn’s best friend. A top-quality fertilizer will nourish your lawn and help shield it against drought and heat.
Choose your fertilizer carefully, looking into the product’s NPK value, or the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen stimulates growth, while phosphorus encourages root growth, and potassium promotes flowering in plants. Conducting your soil test will help you determine the best fertilizer for your grass type.
10. Eliminate Grubs
You’ve done all the heavy-lifting, so what’s left? You should check for grubs. These pesky pests—pale, white, ravenous beetle larvae—feast on grass roots during spring. You can combat grubs in a variety of ways.
First, you can opt for traditional insecticides, which use chemicals to kill off these unwanted insects. If you’d like to go green, consider an organic alternative. Applying products with milky spore powder or neem oil, or introducing beneficial nematodes, should do the trick.
Milky spore powder is a deadly snack for grubs. After a grub munches on milky spore, a naturally occurring bacteria, the spore reproduces inside of it, killing it from the inside out within three weeks. Neem oil is an organic pesticide that repels grubs and stops mature beetles from feeding and laying eggs.
You can also introduce beneficial nematodes to get rid of the grubs. These roundworms are a grub’s worst nightmare. Their gut contains a beneficial bacteria that can kill off a grub within one to two days. Keep in mind these organic measures cost more than their chemical-laden counterparts.
Professional Lawn Care
Now you’ve got a good idea of all that goes into spring lawn care. If the idea of toiling away in the yard doesn’t excite you—or you simply don’t have the time—consider reaching out to TruGreen, an industry leader with decades of experience, available in all states except for Alaska.
TruGreen offers three core annual packages that tackle the nitty gritty of fertilization, aeration, weed control, and more. With these plans, a certified, highly trained TruGreen specialist will visit your lawn every four to six weeks to make sure it’s thriving.