5 steps to get your yard ready for spring

(Family Features) As the weather begins to warm and days get longer, it’s important to begin preparing your yard for a healthy growing season. While climate, soil, and grass type can impact your yard’s growth, you can take a few steps during the spring months to help your lawn thrive.

From dethatching and aerating to fertilizing and mowing, tackling these simple chores can help ensure your yard looks its best and is prepared to fight seasonal weeds, disease, and drought.

Tune Your Mower

Before the first mowing of the season, inspect your mower and perform any necessary routine maintenance. That goes beyond sharpening or replacing the blade and includes changing the oil, spark plugs, and filter and filling a fresh tank of gas.

Loosen the Thatch Layer

While it’s important to avoid working on your lawn until after the final freeze to avoid damaging the grass, raking your yard with a spring tine rake to loosen thatch – the layer of leaves, roots, and dead grass that builds up between live grass and soil – before the first mow is equally important. Be sure to rake when the soil is dry; if it’s too soft or muddy, you may pull up healthy grass crowns.

Combat Compacted Soil

If your soil has become compacted – likely the effect of heavy foot traffic – and is too dense for water, air and other nutrients to reach the roots of your grass, aerating can help break it up and reduce thatch. A plug aerator can introduce tiny holes into your soil by removing plugs of grass and soil, which lets nutrients more easily reach the roots. An added bonus, the plugs can decompose on top of your grass, supplying more nutrients.

Fill in Bare Spots

If your lawn looks sparse, overseeding, which involves spreading grass seed over your existing lawn, can help fill in bare spots. Be sure to choose the right type of seed for your climate and soil type to ensure proper growth. Applying a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer at the same time can provide additional important nutrients for promoting healthy growth.

Start Seasonal Mowing

When the ground is dry enough and your grass is long enough to require cutting, begin seasonal mowing. Be sure to use proper techniques, including varying your mowing direction each time to avoid creating patterns or ruts, and avoid cutting grass too low, which can make the lawn more susceptible to weeds and drought stress. In general, never remove more than one-third of the grass blade at a time.

Find more tips to help get your yard ready for warm weather at eLivingtoday.com.

Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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