Springtime is when you might start dreaming of your green lawn and colorful flower beds. You could plot out your vegetable garden beds. Understanding steps for spring lawn care is important, especially if you want those green lawns that neighbors envy.
Winter is over, and you have to give your lawn extra attention to help it recover and prepare the grass for the hot summer weather ahead. Here are some basic spring lawn care tips that will make your lawn shine. Here are six spring lawn care steps for Chicago, IL homeowners.
1. Clean Up The Lawn
The first step is to clean it up! Rake up your lawn to remove any leaves or debris that accumulated throughout the winter. The snow covers a lot! You don’t want to rake too hard because you might pull out chunks of your yard. However, raking also gets air flowing into your turf.
2. Reseed Patches
Hopefully, you overseeded in the fall, but you can also reseed your lawn in the spring. If you notice bare patches in your lawn, that means you have to apply grass seed. Doing this is an important step because bare patches invite weeds to take over those areas in your lawn.
Make sure you pick the right type of grass for your lawn. A blend of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass does great in yards with full sun in Chicago. If you have a shaded lawn, fine fescue is a good choice. Most of the time, you want a blend. If you don’t know what type of grass to use, speak to a professional to get a suggestion.
3. Prepare Your Mower
Is your lawnmower ready to get started again? Make sure it is running appropriately, and sharpen the blades. Dull mower blades tear your grass rather than cutting it.
Now is a good time to set your blade height. As the temperatures increase, you want to raise your blades. You don’t want to cut your grass too short, especially if it is the first cut of the year. You don’t want to remove more than 1/3 of the grass during the first cut.
Raise the blades every one to two weeks until you reach 2.5 to 3 inches high. Cutting at this height protects the vital root system, allowing the grass to retain moisture during the hot, dry summer days.
4. Use a Fertilizer
You can apply fertilizer this spring to your lawn. In early spring, you can use a slow-release, high nitrogen, granular fertilizer. Granular is a great choice because it releases the nutrients slowly, which prevents over fertilization. Also, granular fertilizers are safe for pets and humans without any drying time.
May is a great time for fertilization. Use one pound of the high nitrogen fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of grass.
5. Focus on Weed Control
Spring is the best time to attack those weeds on the edges of your property that want to overtake your lawn. Apply a pre-emergent weed control that stops those annual weeds, such as crabgrass that grows well in Chicago lawns, from taking root.
You also should use postemergence broadleaf weed control that kills weeds such as dandelions that take root throughout the spring. Battling weeds can take several weeds to have success. Make sure you don’t use weed control when the temperatures are above 85 F!
6. Start a Watering Schedule
Lawns need to be watered, so create a watering schedule now. The best time to water is in the morning before the sun is rising. Less water evaporates during this time. Use this time to install a watering system on a timer, making your life a whole lot easier.
Need help managing your spring lawn care? Visit our Chicago lawn care page for more information!