Spring Yard Clean Up

A Green and Healthy Lawn starts with a Spring Yard Clean Up

By Mark J. Donovan

When spring is in the air and the snow has finally melted so that you can see your lawn again it is time to think about spring yard clean up. Here in southern New Hampshire spring yard clean up typically begins in late April and early May.

It always amazes me how brutal the winter can be on a yard. After a long and hard winter the lawn is matted down, tree limbs litter the yard, and in some places in the yard and around the house leaves have accumulated and compacted. In addition, there are frequently signs of lawn damage caused by moles, insects and pets.

Once the snow has melted and the lawn is fairly dry it is important to get outside and pickup the fallen tree limbs, flatten out any mole tracks and lightly rake the yard. While raking the yard you can assess the lawn for any insect, pet, or weather damage, and determine whether or not any reseeding will be required.

In addition, you can assess if the lawn needs to be treated with insecticide and/or fertilizer. By addressing your lawn’s ailments sooner rather than later you can prevent bigger problems, such as wide spread insect infestations. Also, a repaired lawn can heal and grow better in the mildly warm and moist air of spring, rather than in the full heat of summer.

After lightly raking the lawn consider using a dethatcher on the lawn next to remove all of the thatch buildup. Thatch prevents sunlight, fertilizer nutrients, and oxygen from getting into the soil and thus prevents a healthy lawn.

After raking the lawn it is also a good idea to aerate the lawn. Aerating the lawn involves removing plugs of soil from the lawn. Heavy snow can compact not only the grass but also the soil making it more difficult to let in water and fertilizer nutrients.

Aerating the lawn loosens the soil and allows water, oxygen, and the important fertilizer nutrients to percolate down through the lawn. You can rent power aerators from your local home improvement center.

After raking and aerating your lawn, top dress it with a skim coat of peat moss and gently rake it into the lawn. Also patch any bare spots or damaged spots. Remove any of the damaged lawn patches, scratch up the top soil, and apply grass seed and a little starter fertilizer. Then water regularly until the grass seed germinates.

Raking up leaves as part of spring clean up

Also weed the lawn and consider putting down a fertilizer with weed and crabgrass inhibitors. By doing so, you can ensure a weed and crabgrass free lawn throughout the year.

Finally, pull out the lawnmower and weed whacker and give them a quick tune up. Clean the spark plugs and air filters and change the oil. Also sharpen the lawnmower blades.

By tackling the spring yard clean up early and getting the yard tools ready for use, you can be assured of having a green and healthy lawn this summer.

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