The moment we’ve been waiting for! It’s been a long winter, and it’s finally time to start thinking about our spring lawn care. I’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you get outside, get your hands dirty, and start building a beautiful, lush lawn. Let’s get growing!
The snow has melted, and you’re ready to go! But starting too early when the ground is soft can cause soil compaction. If the grass is spongy underfoot, that means it’s too wet and not quite time to sow that grass seed. Hold off just a little longer until the ground is firm to walk on.
Grass seed will not germinate until soil temperatures warm up. The best grass seed germination temperature is just over +15C. You can take the temperature of your soil by using a cooking thermometer (No need for anything fancy – I grabbed mine from the Dollar Store). If you apply the seed too early, it can blow away or be eaten by birds, so be sure to wait until temperatures are warm enough for the grass seeds to germinate.
1. Rake your lawn to get rid of thatch and debris.
2. Aerate to reduce compaction and increase the flow of air, water, and nutrients to the root zone, improving your lawn’s look and health. Pay particular attention to high-traffic areas or spots with clay-based soil. If your yard feels firm underfoot (almost like concrete), it’s time to aerate.
3. Topdress your lawn with nutrient-rich soil.
Fill holes, level uneven spots, and spread a thin layer of soil across your lawn (make sure not to cover the blades entirely). Rake lightly and then overseed with a good quality grass seed.
4. Overseed with clover or grass seed.
Overseeding in the spring helps to thicken your grass and suppress weeds. Choose a premium quality mixed grass seed based on the amount of sun your lawn receives. Assess the area each year to see how light conditions change as trees fill in.
5. Feed your lawn with a spring formulated slow release fertilizer.
Your lawn wants a spring grass fertilizer high in nitrogen (the first number on the bag). Choosing a slow-release formula ensures your grass gets consistent nutrients over time while limiting the release to prevent burns. My favourite is Scotts Turf Builder Pro (32-0-4).
SCOTTS TURF BUILDER PRO
6. Mow with a sharpened mower at the height of 2 1/2 – 3 inches
Mowing your lawn to this height keeps the roots cool and ensures the grass blades are tall enough to shade out weeds, preventing them from germinating.
Crabgrass is an annual weed that germinates from seed. Stop the seeds from germinating, and you stop crabgrass. The best way to suppress weed seeds is to apply Scotts Weed Preventer with cornmeal gluten.
Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Fertilizer with Weed Prevent: Weed Killer and Lawn Fertilizer, Controls Dandelion and Large Crabgrass
Cornmeal gluten coats the crabgrass seeds and prevents their germination. Early spring is the perfect time to use cornmeal on your lawn when weed seeds are dormant, and plants are not actively growing. Timing is critical because you can’t seed your lawn until six weeks after application. If dandelions are growing, you are too late to apply.
Skunks, raccoons, and moles are tearing up your lawn in their search for grubs! Grubs are the larva stage of June / Japanese Beetles, and rodents love to eat them. Get rid of grubs, and you prevent rodents from damaging your lawn. The best way to control grubs naturally is to use Scotts Grub BGon Max or nematodes (beneficial parasites that control grubs). Visit your local garden centre to purchase and apply in late spring or early summer.
SCOTTS GRUB BGON MAX
The choice to use seed or sod depends on the area you cover. Grass seed is best when top dressing and overseeding a lawn to improve its health. While grass seed is the most affordable way to start a yard from scratch, you’ll end up with more weeds than with sod. For small areas (when the cost consideration is minimal), I always say sod is best! Sod is generally the way to go when you fix patches, want immediate coverage, or put a lawn on a slope.
Female dogs’ acidic urine is generally the cause of those brown circular patches on your lawn. Making changes to your dog’s diet and adding beneficial supplements can help reduce damage (check in with your vet). In the meantime, there are steps you can take to repair the damaged areas.
To fix a dog spot:
Scotts EZ Seed Dog Spot Repair Seeding Mix
Your grass is thirsty! The average lawn needs at least 30 to 40 mm (1.5 – 2 in) of water every week. If the raindrops haven’t been falling, you’ll have to top it up. Here’s a trick to measure how long to water your grass – put an empty margarine container on the lawn, check the time, run the sprinkler, and when the water inside the container reaches 30-40 mm, you’re all done! Recheck the time to know how long you need to water.
Choose a good-quality grass seed based on light conditions. A mix with fescue content works best for shady lawns, while sunny high-traffic areas need a blend with Kentucky Bluegrass. And for yards in the sun with Grub or Chinch bug problems, go for a higher Perennial Rye content.
I hope these spring lawn care tips help start your lawn on the right foot for lush, beautiful grass you’ll enjoy all summer. If anything else pops up, I’ll be live on Facebook and YouTube every Sunday from 9-9:30am to answer your questions.
Let’s get growing!