After spending a winter buried under a thick blanket of snow, your lawn is likely looking a little downtrodden.
But don’t resign yourself to living with a sad, tattered lawn just yet—with a minimal investment of time and energy, you can have your lush, green grass back in no time.
All it takes is a little preparation, some water, and regular maintenance to repair the damage done to your lawn over the winter.
When to start watering your lawn in the spring
At this point in the year, you’re eager to start watering your lawn almost immediately when you set your sights on the first sunny day.
But, in fact, you might be better off waiting until later in the spring season. Why?
To begin with, the snowmelt here in Massachusetts should keep your soil well-hydrated for the first couple weeks of spring. During this period when grasses are just coming out of dormancy, overwatering can actually do more harm than good.
By waiting to water, you can encourage the root systems of your lawn to grow and reach further into the soil for moisture (strengthening their hold in the ground!).
Take care not to overwater, as this can effectively drown sprouting grasses.
Typically, you should wait until the days become consistently hot and dry to start watering. You can even wait for your lawn to start showing signs of stress before you start watering; it will recover quickly once you treat it to a good soak.
Do your watering early in the cool morning hours so that you won’t lose moisture to evaporation. Set the timer on your sprinkler system so that you won’t have to remember to water at specific intervals.
In the meantime, there’s plenty of other work you can do to get your lawn ready for the growing season!
Rake your lawn to remove dead growth and thatch
Your lawn can’t start anew with clumps of leaves and dead vegetation weighing it down.
Be sure to put a rake through your lawn to rid it of any remnants from winter (and dare we say fall?) and get it ready for new seeds and fresh fertilizer!
Bring in the fungicide
Mold constitutes one of the greatest threats to your lawn during the winter months. Heavy snowmelt can cause mold colonies to grow in your grass, leaving your lawn pockmarked with characteristic white and pink spots.
Outdoor fungicides are designed to kill the mold so that damaged grass can recover more quickly. In some cases, you might need to reseed the affected areas as well.
Your lawn needs a salt rinse
The rock salt used to treat roads in the winter can wreak havoc on lawns come springtime.
Areas directly adjacent to streets and driveways are most likely to be affected by salt burns. Rinse these areas thoroughly with water, and then apply a gypsum soil conditioner. The gypsum will induce a chemical reaction that replaces salt with harmless calcium and sulfur, allowing the grass to recover.
Overseed bare patches of soil
Speaking of reseeding, if you happen to see that your lawn is looking a little thin in spots—or perhaps all over—we highly suggest you overseed.
Overseeding will help fill in your lawn’s bald spots in no time once the ground temperature hits 52 degrees. After scattering the seeds, cover the area with straw to protect the seeds from birds and to help hold in moisture.
Aerate the soil to prepare it for watering
Loosening the soil in your lawn will help to ensure that water and air are able to permeate the grass’ root systems. This, in turn, will promote new, healthy growth in your lawn.
Depending on the size of your lawn, you can use either a manual or gas-powered plug aerator to loosen the soil and allow the root systems to take a breath of fresh air.
Conduct a soil test
Conduct a soil test to see what, if any, nutrients your lawn is lacking. Then, apply fertilizer based on the results!
And, of course, don’t forget to have your sprinkler system serviced before the watering season begins. Keep an eye out for a service reminder and scheduling options coming your way soon!