man spraying weeds in his lawn

13 Spring Lawn Care Tips For Homeowners

Miranda Crace6-Minute Read
April 14, 2021

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The start of the spring season brings longer days and the promise of warm weather to come. For homeowners, however, springtime often comes with a hefty list of household chores, home maintenance and other to-dos.

If you have a lawn, the early stages of spring are an especially important time of the year. Your grass, shrubs, trees and other greeneries are just beginning to grow, and the work you put in today will encourage a healthy lawn that is sure to boost your curb appeal.

If you’re unsure where to start your lawn care efforts, follow these 13 tips for spring.

1. Prep Your Equipment

Depending on the type of spring you experience, there’s a good chance that you won’t need to mow until later in the season. Before your grass becomes unruly, you’ll want to inspect your maintenance tools and make sure they work properly.

Start with your mowing equipment. Check the spark plugs, oil and ignition system on your mower. You’ll also want to clear the mower of any dead grass or debris that has accumulated while stored away for the winter. Dulled mower blades may need to be sharpened in order for your mower to deliver an even, clean cut on your lawn.

Even smaller equipment is worth looking over to make sure your lawn care system is fully functional. You’ll want to test out your hoses, sprinklers and gardening tools to avoid any hassle when you start using them later in the year.

If mowing and maintaining lawn equipment doesn’t work for your lifestyle, consider converting your yard into a no-mow lawn.

2. Dethatch And Rake Your Grass

Thatch is made up of living and dead plant material that accumulates around your grass. While some thatch is healthy and helps retain moisture in your soil, too much of it can obstruct water, fertilizer and other essential nutrients from reaching grass roots. If thatch starts to decay your living grass, it’s time to dethatch, or remove the excess from your yard. This usually requires special tools, such as a dethatching rake, but the process of dethatching itself is relatively simple. Once you’ve finished, your lawn may look unruly, so you can clean up loose thatch with a normal rake.

3. Clean Up The Yard

After a long winter, most yards will require some tidying up before you can tackle larger projects on your spring cleaning checklist. Start by picking up loose branches and throwing away any trash you spot. If you experience heavy snowfall during the winter, you should also rake away any gravel or other anti-icing treatment that has accumulated on the parts of your front lawn that are closest to the streets.

4. Repair Bare Spots

Homeowners who live in colder regions may find that the melting snow reveals several bare patches in their once-perfect yards. There isn’t a single quick fix to solve a bare patch of dirt, so you should consider the tactic that works best for your situation. As an example, if your bare spots are caused by heavy foot traffic in your yard, you’ll first need to minimize the amount that you and your guests walk over that area before you can hope to make a long-term fix.

Next, you can either reseed the area with new grass after clearing it of stones and sticks or purchase a roll of grass sod for an even faster remedy.

5. Aerate (When Necessary)

Aerating helps your grass access the nutrients it needs to grow in dense, compact soils. With a number of different tools available to homeowners, aerating your lawn is as simple as puncturing small holes all across your property’s green spaces.

The frequency at which you’ll need to aerate your yard will depend mostly on how you use your outdoor space. Homeowners who drive heavy machinery or vehicles over their grass will compact the ground more quickly, which will require them to aerate often. Aeration is also most successful when your yard isn’t oversaturated with water. If you’ve received heavy rainfall in the past couple of days or need to manage a water drainage problem, it’s worth postponing your aeration schedule until the ground dries up.

6. Overseed

Overseeding is the practice of spreading grass seed over an existing, fully grown lawn, which helps prevent your grass from thinning out over time. Your overseeding strategy will depend on the type of grass you plant and the weather your area experiences. Northeasterners might find that the warm, dry conditions of their summers are actually a better time to let their seeds germinate. Southern homeowners, however, are usually better off sticking to a springtime overseeding schedule, as warm-season grasses tend to spur growth.

7. Deal With Weeds

Weeds like dandelions and crabgrass are common nuisances that most homeowners will have to battle year after year. Although weeds will crop up during and outside of the spring months, taking preemptive action during spring can help reduce the chances of a total outbreak in the summer or fall.

Start your weed prevention by covering the area surrounding your plants with mulch or landscaping fabric to reduce the plants’ access to sunlight and water. The right amount of fertilizing can also help your grass better compete with fast-growing weeds.

Provided you have the time, removing weeds one by one can hugely reduce the spread of unwanted sprouts, so long as you do it correctly. It’s not enough to pull weeds up by the root – if the plant is already developing seeds, leaving it in a compost pile or on the ground may only help distribute the seeds around your yard. Seeds purchased from questionable plant nurseries are also known to contain weeds in their seed mixes, which is why you’ll want to investigate your local plant provider before you purchase lawn care supplies.

8. Research Your Grass Type

Different types of grasses are suited for different types of climates, so finding the right type of grass for your yard could mean the difference between a healthy, green lawn and one that dies out during the next hard freeze.

Grass types are broken into two primary categories: warm-season grasses and cool-season grasses. Their names paint a pretty good picture of which type is suitable for your particular climate zone. However, environmental factors outside of temperature, such as humidity and air moisture, can also impact the best type of grass for you. If you’re unsure, it’s never a bad idea to consult a grass provider in your area.

9. Edge Your Lawn

Edging the sides of your mulched areas might seem minor, but it’s a detail that can add the finishing touch to your home’s landscaping design and help sell your home. Not only do edges create nice, crisp lines between your flower beds and yard, but they also can help prevent your mulch from spilling over into the grass. Use a specialized edging tool or purchase hammer-in edging strips to keep your exterior neat and stylish.

10. Add New Mulching

As a homeowner, you’ll want to get into the habit of restocking the areas around your plants with new mulch every few years. Experts recommend replenishing your mulch at most every year, but it’s much more common to add new mulch after 5 or 6 years. Mulch adds a refined, manicured look to your home’s exterior, and it also provides value for your plants by retaining moisture and preventing the growth of unwanted weeds.

11. Get Rid Of Grubs

When lawn grubs burrow into the ground, they can leave extenuating damage to grass roots that can kill off large sections of your lawn. Since most grub species nest underground, you might have a hard time spotting the critters themselves, but their effects can be easy to identify if you know what to look for. Keep an eye out for growing patches of dirt, as well as random splotches of brown grass. If you notice a large infestation, consider consulting a professional for removal services.

12. Test Your Soil’s Acidity

The acidity of your soil, or its pH level, can affect how suitable the earth is for your plants and grass. Soil acidity impacts the amount of nutrients your plants are able to absorb from the earth, meaning that pH levels can have a direct impact on the overall health and presence of your yard.

Before you can change a bad pH level, however, you’ll need to first know what your current pH balance is. That means using either an at-home soil testing kit or paying for an outside service to evaluate your land.

13. Plan Out The Garden

It may be too soon to plant your fruits and vegetables, but that doesn’t mean that springtime should go wasted as you start planning your garden. Make sure your space is staked out, and check for any holes or gaps in your fence that could welcome pests. You’ll also want to prepare your garden beds and planters to ensure the space is clean and organized. Before you start planting, make sure you thoroughly till the soil to give your future produce the opportunity to absorb as many nutrients from the soil as possible.

The Bottom Line

Beautiful outdoor spaces can boost your home’s appeal for your family, your neighbors and future buyers, but a great-looking yard doesn’t come without its fair share of work. Getting ahead of your lawn care maintenance in the spring can help you keep a healthy, vibrant backyard until the next snowfall.

Looking for more tips to keep your home fresh and organized? Check out our other tips for homeowners.

Miranda Crace

The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.