The Complete Spring Lawn Care Guide
The start of spring is one of the most important periods in the lawn care calendar. Many lawns can look worn and tired following the winter months, so proper spring lawn care is vital for bringing the lawn back to life in time for summer. If you neglect proper spring lawn care you could pay for it the rest of the year!
Correct and regular lawn mowing is the most important lawn care job. It is especially important in spring, as this is when the grass starts to grow again. Ideally, you should mow the lawn weekly in spring (weather permitting), and even more frequently as the weather warms up.
The aim should be to keep the lawn at the same height all through spring. For most lawns this should be about 2.5-4cm (1-1.5in) high. For lawns that take a lot of wear and tear the height is better raised to 5cm (2in). For very shaded areas, mow at a height of 7.5cm (3in).
Before mowing, check the area for any foreign objects (stone, pegs, toys etc.) and only mow when the grass is dry.
You should only mow the lawn in the correct conditions. Mowing when the grass is wet can be messy, and it will not give you the professional lawn finish. Mow when the ground is too dry and the grass may not recover properly.
You must not mow the lawn too short, as this weakens the grass and it allows weeds and moss to become established and spoil the lawn. It is much better to take little and often from the lawn, especially in spring, than to scalp it completely in one go. Otherwise, you may spend the rest of spring just trying to recover the lawn.
TOP TIP: Mow the lawn in a different direction each time you mow, as mowing continuously in the same direction can cause 'washboarding', where the surface of the lawn becomes uneven and rippled.
Dealing with weeds and moss
Weeds and moss can be very unsightly, they prevent healthy grass growth and stop you enjoying your lawn. To deal with these lawn pests you should firstly remove any large weeds from your lawn with a trowel or small garden fork and treat any mossy areas with a specialist moss product.
Scarifying the lawn removes thatch (organic matter like moss, weeds, twigs and leaves etc.) This will make your lawn much healthier and richer, rejuvenating the grass and encouraging thicker growth. A manual or electric scarifier would suffice for a small garden. For a larger lawn, a larger petrol scarifier is ideal.
You should use the scarifier just as you would a lawn mower, following the same lines you created when you last mowed the lawn. It is important to scarify only during ideal weather conditions – when there is sunshine, warmth and a some rain. If you scarify when there has been heavy rain, or extreme conditions like a drought, you could do more damage than good, as the grass will not be able to grow back for a long time after you have scarified it.
You can also aerate the lawn using an aerator (or 'hollow tiner'). This is a similar process to scarifying, but the aerator's tines punch tiny holes into the lawn to improve drainage and encourage healthier grass growth.
As moss thrives in damp areas, aerating the lawn will help to prevent future moss growth by improving drainage.
Next on the priority list is feeding the grass using fertiliser. This is important during spring to give the grass the nutrients it needs to grow properly during this vital time of the year. You should use a granular spring/summer fertiliser, as this has high levels of nitrogen and other nutrients like phosphate. Granular feeds perform better when the ground is still a little cold and growth is still patchy, so they work very well in spring.
You can either spread the fertiliser by hand, if it is just a small area, or you can use a fertiliser spreader to ensure even distribution over larger areas. A good feed with a lawn fertiliser not only makes the grass greener, but it helps the grass to grow thicker, increases its strength, vigour and the health of the lawn. A well fertilised lawn is much more robust and better equipped to compete with weeds, moss and weather-related stresses.
If you feed the lawn again after 6 weeks, it will remain strong and healthy all summer.
Filling bare patches of lawn
Your garden may have a few bare patches, caused either by the winter or the removal of moss and weeds. You can fill in these areas and improve the recovery of your lawn by spreading fresh grass seed.
Scarification and aeration will leave a nice seed bed, which will encourage both germination and establishment of the seed, so you can either just fill in the bare patches of lawn with seed or cover your entire lawn evenly to encourage thicker growth throughout the lawn. This is known as 'overseeding'.
Once you have completed the overseeding, you should keep the soil nice and moist with regular light applications of water, though you must not saturate the soil. You should keep traffic over the lawn to a minimum to give the seed a chance to grow, you can even cover areas of the lawn with a mesh to prevent birds stealing the seed!
When you mow the lawn in the following weeks, you should raise the height of the mower slightly to give the seed a chance to establish.
Give it a go!
These processes should not be carried out in one afternoon, but gradually over a period of weeks. With a bit of time, effort and patience, you can create the perfect professional lawn in your garden. Using our range of high quality gardening equipment you can get your garden in top shape this spring.