What’s Different About Spring Yard Work?
The idea behind spring yard work is the same as your typical household spring cleaning philosophy: out with the old, in with the new. The beginning of spring is a great time to take stock of your yard and get rid of any leftover debris from the winter season in order to make room for new growth in the warmer weather.
Although there’s a lot to accomplish in your spring yard cleanup, one thing to keep in mind is that spring lawn care should be gentler than other seasons. Spring is a sensitive time for your yard: the soil is likely damp or spongy this time of year, which means you should tread carefully — literally — during any cleanup or yard maintenance. To avoid compacting your soil, wait until soil is no longer wet enough to form into a ball in your hand before you spend a lot of time walking on or maintaining your yard.
How Spring Lawn Care Benefits Your Yard
When done properly, spring lawn preparation can give your yard the boost it needs to thrive throughout the entire warm weather season.
The main benefit of investing some time into spring lawn care is that it sets your yard up for a healthy growing season. Taking care of your lawn in the spring can help prevent weed growth and encourages your grass roots to grow deep and strong — which results in a lawn that stays healthy and beautiful even when the weather is hot and dry.
Simply put, if you take the time to give your lawn a little extra love in the spring, your yard will reap the benefits for months to come.
Early Spring Lawn Care Tips
Spring yard work is all about timing. Here are a few tips for early spring lawn care that will set your yard up for success as the weather continues to warm up.
Know Your Grass Type
Before you begin your spring yard work, it’s important to know what kind of grass is on your lawn so you can care for it properly.
• Cool-season grasses: A few examples of cool-season grasses include Kentucky Bluegrass, Bentgrass, and Ryegrass. If your grass is a cool-season variety, it will have a moderate growth spurt in the spring, so you’ll want to focus on strengthening it for the summer.
• Warm-season grasses: Varieties of warm-season grasses include Bermudagrass, Carpetgrass, and Centipedegrass. Warm-season grasses don’t start growing until after the last spring frost, so keep in mind that you shouldn’t start mowing until the grass has already started to grow.
Wait to Fertilize
You might be tempted to start fertilizing the moment spring arrives, but if you fertilize a dormant lawn, it can come back to bite you. Wait to fertilize your lawn until it starts to show signs of life — such as new growth and turning green — so you avoid feeding seeds of weeds that will compete for space in your soil. If you know exactly what kind of grass you have, you can also look up more specific fertilization guidelines for the best results.
Remove Yard Debris
One of the first things you can do as the spring season kicks off is take some time to dispose of any debris around your yard that’s accumulated over the winter. Things like dead plants, branches, twigs, and leaves can be gathered up and placed in a compost bin, while things like rocks and litter can be thrown out in your regular Glad® Black Drawstring Bags. For more detailed info about yard debris removal, you can check out Glad’s guide to DIY Yard Maintenance and Waste Cleanup.
Tune Your Mower
If you want to make lawn care less of a hassle in the later part of spring and throughout the summer, take the opportunity in early spring to do some routine maintenance of your lawn and gardening tools. Tune up your mower by changing the oil, air filter, and spark plug, and sharpen its blades — and don’t forget to sharpen the blades of tools like pruning shears and trowels, too.
Spring Cleanup Landscaping
Once the season is in full swing and your soil is dry enough to handle more intensive spring maintenance, it’s time to get to work. Here are some tasks to add to your spring cleanup landscaping to-do list.
Step 1. Remove Thatch
Once your yard is dry, use a dethatching rake to remove thatch — AKA small pieces of dead grass — that has accumulated on top of your lawn. A regular yard rake will also work for this task, though it might not be as efficient if there’s a lot of thatch to remove. If you don’t remove thatch, it can build up and block essential things like sunlight, air, and moisture from reaching your grass, making it harder for your lawn to thrive.
Step 2. Prune Your Plants
Next, you can begin your cleanup of existing flowers, shrubs, and other plants. Remove dead annuals and prune dead twigs and branches off of any perennials. If you don’t remove the dead bits, they could have a harder time getting proper amounts of sunlight, which can discourage new growth.
Step 3. Mow When the Time Is Right
Whether you’re eagerly awaiting or positively dreading the beginning of mowing season, it’s important to know when to start mowing. A good rule of thumb is to wait until it’s at least 40°F and your grass has grown 2–3 inches tall before you mow for the first time.