Thankfully, winter is almost over, so it’s time to set your sights on spring and all the prep you need to do in your yard and gardens to make them inviting for those upcoming backyard barbecues.
There’s a tiny problem, though: the lawn you see out your window looks anything but that lush, healthy and weed-free one you have in our mind. What to do? Here’s a list of things you can do to help bring your yard back to life.
Roll up your sleeves and grab a rake, here’s what needs to be done:
Yes, we know you raked leaves in the fall, but we’re here to tell you that you have to do it again, and the reason why is “thatch.” Thatch is a layer of dead and living grass shoots that show up between the soil and the grass blades in your lawn. Thatch build-up starts when the turf produces organic debris faster than it can be broken down. A good (or annoying?) thatch layer can be a half-inch thick, so dig that rake deep to remove it.Bonus: you will also remove grass blades that died over the winter.
Deal with Weeds (if you have to)
In early spring, use a combination of fertilizer (to feed your grass) and pre-emergent herbicides (to prevent crabgrass from forming). Roughly two months later, apply both again with a healthy dose of weed killer. Crabgrass grows like, well, weeds, so this will stop them from coming up again.
If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly option, you can make your own natural alternative at home that is just as efficient. Mix a solution of vinegar, salt and liquid dish soap (the acid in the vinegar and salt draw moisture out of the weeds, while dish soap acts as a surfactant to help the solution adhere to the weeds effectively. Remember to apply the solution often for optimal results.
Mow – often.
At the beginning of the season allow your grass to grow long (however long it takes depends on the weather) before you cut it that first time. This helps because longer grass protects roots and makes them stronger. After that, mow your lawn every five days for six to seven weeks. This may surprise homeowners, but if you let your grass grow too high over and over – then cut – it will stunt the roots and they won’t reproduce. Cutting more frequently will help ensure that thick, lustrous lawn of your dreams.
Add a one-inch layer of fresh mulch in plant beds and around trees. It makes planting areas look clean and uniform; it helps retain moisture in the soil, all the while keeping roots nice and cool in the summer. As it decomposes, it also adds organic matter to the soil.
Clean out flower beds
Remove the vestige of winter (think weeds, dead annuals and any other debris) so when your soil finally warms up, your perennials will be able to soak up all that sunshine.
Seed your bare spots
Don’t stress if our lawn has bare spots or is thinning – you just need to seed over it. Water the soil lightly and then rake softly to agitate it. This will aerate your soil and prep it for grass growth. Sprinkle your grass with seed over the bare/thin spots and cover it with a quarter inch of soil. This is a practice in patience: to get that new grass growing, you’ll need to water those seeded patches at least two to three times on the daily.