Spring offers a great time to get your lawn back in shape after the cold winter months, and a little maintenance now can keep your yard looking healthy and green all summer long. There are, unfortunately, several common lawn maintenance traps that are all too easy to fall into, so take care to avoid these common mistakes.
Many homeowners apply fertilizers to their lawn in spring, expecting them to accelerate growth. In truth, fertilizers do just that, but at a cost. When grass grows too quickly it does so at the expense of its roots, which can become weak and susceptible to fungus during wet spring weather. To avoid this problem, use fertilizers sparingly and avoid those with high nitrogen content.
Spring is the perfect time to reseed parts of your lawn to get rid of bare spots and unhealthy areas. When you buy seeds, resist the urge to skimp; bottom-shelf grass seed seldom rewards homeowners with a healthy lawn. Also, don’t plant more than you need. Around 15 to 20 seeds per square inch are all you need. If you plant more than that, the young grass will have to compete for space and nutrients.
If you’ve planted new grass this spring, do not apply weed killers. They may kill weeds, but they will also kill tender young grass shoots. If you use weed killers at all, wait until the grass has fully germinated and been mowed at least three times.
Speaking of mowing your lawn, be sure to start the season with well-sharpened lawn mower blades. Dull blades shred grass rather than chopping it cleanly, and this can make your lawn much more susceptible to fungus and disease, especially during moist spring weather. Also, don’t cut your grass too short. Setting your lawn mower so that it only cuts off roughly the top third of each blade of grass will encourage stronger roots, discourage weed growth, and make your lawn less vulnerable to heat stress when summer rolls around.
Water is obviously an essential need to all plants, but too much can do more harm than good. When you water your lawn this spring, use just enough water to keep the soil evenly moist. Never give your lawn so much water that the ground becomes wet and waterlogged.