Winter can often be a particularly brutal time for the average homeowner’s lawn, with the combination of cold temperatures and heavy snow working to compact soil and put the health of grass into question. There are a few great ways to help reverse winter’s damage, however, and prepare lawns to look their best as warmer temperatures and springtime precipitation works to restore grass’ green color and thick coat. By following through with each of these procedures, homeowners will minimize their lawn’s recovery time and maximize its professional appearance early on.
Step 1: Clear Away Any Debris from the Winter
Winter weather ranges from excessively snowy to exceedingly windy, and that means it’s easy for tree branches to snap off, rocks to roll downhill, and lawns to become dotted with big pieces of debris. In addition to posing safety risks while using power equipment, large debris can cause grass to die or recover unevenly. On the first warm day of the season, head outdoors and remove any large rocks, limbs, or other items that have blown into the lawn over the past several months. Remember to dispose of all items in an eco-friendly way!
Step 2: Break Out the Rake and Break Up Thatch
Raking isn’t just for removing layers of foliage from the lawn each autumn. In fact, raking a leaf-free lawn in the springtime is one of the most essential ways to undo the damage of winter. After several major snowstorms, the constant compression and pressure placed on the ground can turn grass into thatch. This thatch, which is typically a knotted mess of brown grass, can prevent the lawn from achieving peak thickness and color during the spring and summer. Raking will break up this thatch and allow an even recovery as the temperatures climb.
Step 3: Go a Step Further and Treat Any Noticeable Compaction
The pressure of deep snow accumulations doesn’t just impact the blades of grass and make conditions favorable for thatch. This downward pressure also compacts the soil and makes it difficult for grass to receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs to grow throughout the spring and summer. The best way to resolve this is to aerate the lawn using a powered aerator. This equipment punctures the surface and creates pathways for nutrients to reach far down into the soil, strengthening the lawn and benefiting its health in a big way.
Step 4: Seed New Grass Onto the Lawn
With thatch broken up and compacted soil aerated, the next step to prepare a lawn for springtime weather is to seed the surface with new grass seed. This will help to strengthen and thicken the coat, and give grass plenty of time to grow before sweltering summer heat or drought conditions make it significantly more difficult to grow new grass. Remember to pick a grass seed that either matches the existing grass variant growing outdoors or one that complements the grass in terms of nutrient requirements, color, growth rate, and other considerations.
Step 5: Make an Appointment to Fertilize
After new grass begins growing, homeowners should schedule an appointment with a local lawn care company to fertilize the entire outdoor area. When combined with the aerator pathways made earlier, fertilization will help ensure that new grass survives to maturity and that older grass can fully overcome winter’s lack of nutrients. Some homeowners might prefer do-it-yourself methods, and these should be used as long as those homeowners are comfortable with the unique applications and requirements enforced by store-bought fertilization compounds.
Step 6: Mow the Lawn with a Raised Mower Deck
During the first days and weeks of spring, grass has roots that are particularly fragile. They’re still recovering from winter weather and are more susceptible to damage than during the summer months. For this reason, the first few mows of spring should be done while the mower’s deck is raised into its highest position. Homeowners should also ensure that the mower’s blade is particularly sharp. The combination of a sharp blade and a raised deck will keep the grass even and professional-looking, but it will reduce the movement and potential damage inflicted on each blade of grass.
Step 7: Keep Weeds Under Control
The first thing to flourish each spring is actually not the lawn, but in fact the weeds that grow around the edges and between blades of grass. Be vigilant and weed the lawn frequently, since these plants can steal nutrients from the grass and cause season-long problems that will last through the first weeks of autumn if they’re not treated.
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Homeowners will need a healthy combination of lawn maintenance equipment, new OEM parts, and manual labor to guide their lawn toward success during the spring. CubParts.com offers a full lineup of equipment and parts that will get the job done in a highly efficient, professional-looking way.