Top 5 Tips to Get Your Yard Ready for Spring

Spring has sprung and homeowners are wondering how to get their property ready for spring so that they can enjoy their outdoor property as the weather warms.

“After a long Chicago winter, getting a yard ready for Spring can seems like a daunting task,” said Marc Wise, owner and founder of Evanston-based Greenwise Organic Lawn Care. “But it doesn’t have to be: Five simple steps will get most lawns ready to be enjoyed all summer long.”

ready for spring

Getting your lawn ready for spring won’t be daunting by following 5 simple steps

Here are the top five most important priorities to get residential properties ready for spring:

1. Cleaning
Avoid heavy yard work in the spring until the soil dries out. Foot traffic and hard raking can compact or disturb soggy soil and damage tender, new grass shoots. Once the soil is good and dry, give your lawn a good spring cleaning to encourage grass growth and discourage pests and diseases. Remove leaves and fallen debris, and gently rake to fluff up and separate the grass shoots.

2. Weeding
Spring is the best time to prevent weeds by using a pre-emergent product such as organic corn gluten meal. Pre-emergents work by preventing weed seeds from germinating. Start applying the pre-emergent just as the forsythia bushes finish blooming in spring – that should stop crabgrass and other weeds before they have a chance to grow.

3. Seeding
Pre-emergent products prevent grass seed from sprouting too. Don’t apply a pre-emergent and grass seed at the same time. Which is fine, because grass seeds germinate optimally at soil temperatures around 65 degrees. Seed your lawn as soon as the spring days consistently warm to this level, by that time the pre-emergent will have dissipated.

4. Feeding
Pre-emergent products, such as organic corn gluten meal, contain fertilizer. However, it is only a small amount, and not considered a full “feeding”. The fertilizer in a pre-emergent will maintain or slightly boost the growth in the grass while the pre-emergent restricts seedling development. Resist the urge to heavily fertilize your lawn in the early spring. Spring feeding encourages rapid tender growth that will struggle to survive the heat of summer, particularly in drought-prone areas. Instead of overfeeding in the early Spring, take a balanced approach throughout the growing season. This approach ensures that the entire grass plant receives the nutrition it needs, when it needs it most.

5. Sharpening
Sharpen your lawn mower blade every year, prior to the first cutting. You need to have a sharp blade when cutting grass. A dull blade doesn’t cut the grass but tears it instead, which can lead to a diseased lawn. Most homeowner don’t feel comfortable sharpening the blade themselves, but the importance of using a sharp blade to cut your lawn can’t be overstated. Take the lawnmower to a professional to have sharpened. Or switch to a commercial lawn mowing service to ensure your lawn is being cut cleanly.

2 Responses to Top 5 Tips to Get Your Yard Ready for Spring

  1. DemL April 11, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

    Thanks for all of the great tips. I am just wondering, for this spring (2016) in Chicago, when will be the best time to apply Corn Gluten Meal? Once the temperature warms up, it seems to dip back down again. In addition, I feel like it hasn’t been warm and dry for long enough stretches to apply CGM, but I am already starting to see dandelion blooms. Also, is it necessary to mow before applying? If so, why? Thanks!

    • Michael Kormanik April 12, 2016 at 9:48 am #

      Thank you for your kind words & excellent question. The short answer is: It’s never too early (once the snow melts) to apply CGM. Even if the ground is frozen, the application will be there when the ground thaws. Many of the plants we consider turf weeds have evolved to be extremely opportunistic and will germinate in much colder temperatures than grass seed. Early germination allows these plants to flower when there’s less competition at the surface. So don’t worry about mowing. Cleaning debris off first will help, but CGM is heavy enough that it will work its way down to the soil through tall grass and some leaf debris. Best of luck this season!

Leave a Reply

Call Now Button