Spring is the first season of the year where lawn treatments really become a priority for gardeners. Some people like to do gardening tasks during the winter months, but this is not typical; as it is hard to maintain grounds in such adverse conditions. Lawn grass and other plants typically go dormant during the winter. This means they do not grow and simply conserve their energy for when the mild weather returns.
Typically gardeners want to jump in and start mowing and putting fertiliser in the ground to give it a real boost. But this is not the best way to move forward straight away, it’s like injecting adrenaline into someone who’s just woke up! You need to prepare the lawn and make sure it is in best health before properly treating it. This article will take you through the process of preparing and caring for your lawn in the spring months of the year. There will be a specific focus on keeping costs low and not overspending on expensive supplements and growth compounds.
The first thing to do is to try and counter the effects of the prolonged winter weather. Winter leaves grass dehydrated, in need of stimulation and an improved airflow. Therefore before you go throwing expensive fertiliser on your lawn make sure it’s in the right condition to absorb it. There are several ways to do this, most of which involve a bit of manual work with certain garden tools. For example if the lawn is dehydrated the obvious thing to do would be water it, right? Well the answer is both yes and no. The reason lawns are dehydrated over the winter is because of two reasons:
- They are in a dormant state and are not actively taking up water from the ground.
- The ground is harder, denser and colder making it more difficult to intake water.
Therefore the ground needs to be de-compacted and lightened up so that water can get absorbed by the grass roots more easily. This is done through a simple process called aeration. To aerate a lawn you simply need to create lots of small regular incisions in the ground. This can be done with any spiked implement or tool. A good example of such a tool is the garden pitch fork. Cover your lawn in multiple directions, creating lines of holes helps to loosen up the soil (which also helps with water drainage). If you undergo this procedure before watering your lawn you’ll get much better results.
Sometimes a portion of the lawn will naturally die off during the colder months. This leaves some dead material in amongst the remaining healthy grass. If this is left untreated it can turn into thatch which causes problems for the lawn’s health. Thatch is when dead grass and other debris turn into a thick fibrous layer between the ground and everything above it. This stops water, air and nutrients reaching the grass roots; which essentially starves the grass. Top stop your lawn getting thatch you should rake up any dead material on your lawn at the start of spring.
Moving on to actively mowing and maintaining your lawn, there are some simple tips to follow for this first season of the year. When you first cut the grass make sure that you don’t go set the mowing height too low. This is because you will over expose the grass and leave it open to getting burnt in the sun. The best way to go forward is to reduce your cutting height gradually. This will ensure that the grass gradually adjusts to being exposed and isn’t overly damaged by the sun.
About the Author
Peter McAllister is the author of this article. He works for SGM who are a groundcare company providing both commercial and garden grass maintenance machinery.