Quick Start Tips for a Healthy Lawn
What to do first for gorgeous grass this spring
- Rake the matted grass to remove the dead top growth and to allow new grass shoots to develop. No need to completely remove the thatch since it helps protect against weeds.
- If grass is thin and soil compacted, use a mechanical aerator to remove small soil plugs or cores out of the lawn. If in doubt about aeration, remove a square foot section of lawn at least 6 inches deep. If grass roots extend only into the first 1-2 inches, your soil may be compacted and could benefit from core aeration.
- To treat thin spots, loosen the soil surface to a one-inch depth, spread grass seed over the soil surface and gently press the seed into the soil. Lightly cover with straw or seeding mulch to encourage rapid seed germination.
- Determine which fertilizer will give your lawn the boost it needs. Take advantage of free services provided by local Extension Services and professional lawn care companies. Many will perform a free analysis to determine your lawn's overall health and treatment options.
- If you choose to fertilize your lawn yourself, use a rotary spreader to fertilize your lawn. Before you start, check the calibration to ensure accurate application. Avoid spreading fertilizer by hand because it is difficult to distribute it evenly and consistently. Water after you fertilize to help nutrients soak into the soil and reach the roots.
- Water your lawn heavily and infrequently. Turf grass should be watered so that the soil is wet to a four-inch depth. To determine the depth of soil moisture, push a screwdriver or a garden trowel into the soil. If it meets little resistance, then the soil is wet. If it does not push easily into the soil, then it needs additional water.
- Mow lawn at a correct height, usually between 2 and 2.5 inches in the spring, and keeping it as long as 3 inches in the summer. It is best to mow more frequently and cut less, no more than 1/3 of top growth with each mowing.
- Inspect your lawn mower blades. The sharper the blade, the cleaner the cut, and the better your lawn will look. If your blade is dull, carefully remove it and have it sharpened at a repair shop. Sharpen blades at least twice a season. If the blade is chipped or has other damage, replace it.
- After you mow, return grass clipping to recycle nutrients and reduce the need to apply added fertilizer later in the season.
For more spring lawn care tips or for specific concerns about your lawn, visit TruGreen.com.
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