Spring Lawn Maintenance Tips
One of the most rewarding aspects of living in a single-family home is tending to the lawn and having a gorgeous yard to enjoy. It’s never a bad time to take care of your lawn, as every season comes with different tasks, challenges, and opportunities. However, it’s especially important to take care of your yard during the spring season, as it’s part of your resident responsibilities.
As winter turns into spring, the grass begins to turn green, the flowers bloom, and the days warm up enough to allow your family to spend more time outside. It’s also the best time to prepare your yard for the next year.
To help you prepare for seasonal lawn care, we have created an easy-to-follow yard maintenance guide. In this guide, you will find useful tips about yard care. For your convenience, here is a quick breakdown of this guide:
- Weed Control and Fertilizing
- Watering Practices
- Mowing and Weed Eating
- Pressure Washing
There’s a lot of work that goes into making a lawn look perfectly green with trimmed grass and cleaned walkways. But, with just a few basic steps, you can have a yard that has everyone asking, “How do you do it?”
Weed Control and Fertilizing
When it comes to lawn care, weeds are the enemy. They spring up out of the ground in patches of uneven and unwanted mess, they are hard to get rid of, and they almost always come back if not treated appropriately. So, it is important to prevent weeds from growing every chance you get.
Not only is it good to get rid of weeds, but it is also a beneficial practice to feed your lawn. Grass needs the right nutrients to grow rich and healthy. Fortunately, treating weeds and feeding your lawn go hand in hand.
Weed Killer and Fertilizer Mixtures
Spring is the best time to begin dealing with weeds. Begin with a weed and feed mixture that will clear out the most common weeds and provide your lawn with the right nutrients.
To properly dispense weed killer and fertilizer, you will need a spreader. There are two kinds of spreaders: cart spreaders and hand spreaders. Place your mixture into the bucket of the spreader and evenly distribute across the yard.
Safety Note: Often, the weed killer and fertilizers have disclaimers about safety. Within a certain period of time, the mixtures may be harmful to pets if swallowed and may cause agitation to exposed skin. If you have pets, complete the front and back lawns at different times so that your pets have somewhere to go out that has not just been treated. Also, after fertilizing, stay off the grass so you don’t track the mixture into your home.
Maintaining a Weed-Free Lawn
After you have applied fertilizer and weed killer to your lawn, manual efforts are the best way to keep weeds at bay. Keep an eye on your lawn, looking for signs of any weeds that may begin to sprout. Common weeds include dandelions, crabgrass, chickweed, and shepherd’s purse. You can search for common weeds in your region, so you know what to look for.
If you see weeds beginning to sprout, simply pull them out of the ground. But make sure to grab the whole weed. If you don’t remove the root, it will grow right back.
Beyond this, you can create a fertilizing schedule for your lawn. Consistency and continued application will strengthen your lawn over time, making it less likely for weeds to take root. There are four different times throughout the year to apply fertilizer and weed killer:
- Early Spring (February to April)
- Late Spring (April to June)
- Summer (June to August)
- Fall (August to November)
This timeline depends on where in the country you’re located. For more information, check out this comprehensive explanation of yard feeding schedules.
Weeds in Sidewalk and Pavement Cracks
Weeds like to show up in a lot of different places: lawn, garden, and cracks in the pavement and sidewalk. For the latter, use a screwdriver to get deep into the crack and pull out the root. If the weeds are growing alongside your yard, against the sidewalk or your driveway, a weed eater is a great option. This is discussed in the section below. It is not a permanent solution since it doesn’t get the root, but it does keep them from appearing ugly and prominent.
Without frequent watering, grass will brown and die. To keep this from happening, it’s important to set up a watering cycle for your yard. Grass needs roughly 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week. If you do not get a lot of rain over the course of a week, you will need to either use a hose or a sprinkler system to water your lawn.
A sprinkler is the easiest way to evenly distribute water to your lawn – all you have to do is move it to several locations in the morning, and you don’t have to worry about missing spots. To set up a sprinkler, all you need is the sprinkler itself and a hose that will reach the various parts of your lawn.
Follow these tips to water appropriately and responsibly:
- Do not overwater your lawn.
- Water two or three times a week for longer periods of time, rather than daily for less. See the Local Watering Restrictions section for more local guidelines.
- Align your sprinklers to cover as much yard as possible; water that falls into the street is wasted water.
- During the summer, water in the mornings or in the evening. Watering in the middle of hot days will not be as effective, as a lot of the water will evaporate before the yard can soak it up.
Local Watering Restrictions
Depending on where you live, your city or county might have certain regulations that pertain to watering your lawn. If you live on the west coast or in the south, there is a chance you may only be able to water at certain times on certain days. Be sure to learn the rules in your particular region.
Mowing and Weed Eating
If you’re treating your lawn, looking for weeds, and watering regularly, hopefully your grass will grow thick and green. And if this is the case, you’re going to need to cut it. If you don’t mow your lawn, the grass will continue to grow.
Most neighborhoods and cities have lawn codes. If your lawn grows taller than your H.O.A. or city ordinances allow, you could be fined. Grass can grow very quickly, especially in the late spring and early summer – in which case, you may need to mow your lawn once or twice a week.
For most lawns, a standard sized push mower will do the job. For the easiest mowing experience, consider a lawn mower that has these features:
- Bagging and mulching options
- Self-Propelled System
- Auto Choke
- Multi-Blade Count
There are several key things to keep in mind while mowing your lawn that may make a big difference, depending on your preferences:
- Bagging your grass makes the yard look cleaner. To do this, you will place the attachable bag to the lawnmower and then empty the cut grass into biodegradable yard bags when the lawnmower bag is full.
- Mowing after the lawnmower’s bag is full will cause clumps of cut grass to fall back into the blades. This may cause your lawnmower to stall, and it will lower the effectiveness of the blades.
- Cut the grass in straight lines from one side of the yard to the other.
- Keep your feet away from the undercarriage of the mower; a running lawnmower will cause serious injury.
- Wear jeans or other long pants, as grass and small rocks can spit back into your legs, causing damage if exposed.
- Be sure to read the safety manual for your equipment prior to use.
Because a lawnmower is larger and cannot get around the edges of your lawn, a weed eater is necessary for making sure every part of your lawn is trimmed and even. Once you have finished mowing, use a weed eater to get the edges of your lawn: areas next to your garden, around the base of trees, against the foundation of the home, and against the sidewalk and driveway.
Here are a few key tips for using a weed eater safely:
- Keep the head of the weed eater away from you while it is on.
- Wear jeans. Protective eye gear and gloves are also advisable, since the weed eater is more likely to kick up debris.
- Feed a generous amount of wire into the spool. As you weed eat, the wire will quickly get chipped away.
- Do not dig the weed eater into the ground, as it will eat up dirt and soil, doing damage to your yard.
- Be careful when using around the house and other foundations. If the weed eater hits the side of the home, it may cause damage to the siding.
- Be sure to read the safety manual for your equipment prior to use.
Over time, stains and dirt in hard-to-reach places begin to cover any driveway. Cleaning these stains off your driveway not only makes your front exterior look cleaner, but it also keeps your driveway healthy and less likely to crack and deteriorate. Pressure washing is the quickest and most effective solution to this problem.
It is a good idea to pressure wash your driveway about two or three times a year to keep grease, stains, and dirt from collecting. You can either rent or buy a power washer, depending on how much storage space you have and how often you intend to use it.
To rent or buy a power washer, go to your local hardware or home improvement store. Home Depot has great options to both buy and rent. Renting costs around $80 per day, which is all you’ll need for cleaning the driveway and any other outdoor concrete surfaces you may have.
There are two types of power washers: electric and gas. Gas is the stronger of the two and is the ideal power washer for driveways. Electric power washers tend to be better for home siding and outdoor furniture jobs.
Here are a few must-know tips for power washing your driveway:
- First, clear your driveway of any loose materials and cover any nearby structures with a tarp for extra security. If you don’t clear away loose debris, the power washer may turn it into a dangerous projectile.
- Degrease your driveway before power washing. Use a cleaning solution that will loosen any stains and dirt.
- Wear protective gear (especially footwear). A pressure washer can cause serious injury if the stream hits unprotected skin.
- When you use the washer, work in the direction of the water flow. Usually, you will work toward the street, which will also keep your house safe from the pressure washer’s blast.
- Always keep the pressure washer’s hose down.
For a more detailed explanation of the power washing processes, check out this comprehensive guide.
Miscellaneous Lawn Tips
Here are a few additional tips that will improve the curb appeal of your home:
- If you have pets, make sure to clean up after them regularly. Dog waste not only affects your yard, but also looks and smells bad to surrounding neighbors if not taken care of immediately.
- Do not park cars on the lawn. Be careful when backing out of your driveway, especially when it has been raining. The weight of the cars will kill grass and will leave tire imprints in the yard.
We hope this guide helps you better prepare for spring and enjoy the warmer weather. For more information about yard and garden upkeep, check out additional articles at invitationhomes.com/blog.