Eight Tips to Get Your Lawn Ready for Spring

Spring is the season of new beginnings. Warming temperatures give way to new life and the natural world reawakens after many cold months. It’s not very surprising that many homeowners look to spur on a fresh start for their once-dormant lawns.

There’s no underestimating the effect a lush and green lawn can have on a home. A well-cared-for lawn can add loads of curb appeal to your house and spring garden. Follow these spring lawn care tips to help your own yard flourish in the spring months.

Tip 1: Be patient

In Alberta, the start of spring doesn’t necessarily mean the end of cold weather. Unless you are very new to Alberta, you’re used to the warm spring weather not arriving until much closer to summer.

For most spring lawn care tasks, you’ll want to wait until your grass starts getting some of its green back, the ground is thawed and dry and you are fairly sure that the cold season is behind you. This may be especially true for the tasks that require you to walk on your lawn. Walking on lawns that are still wet could compact the soil, damaging it and making it difficult for grass to grow in the future.

Tip 2: Get your mower ready

You’re going to be using your mower fairly frequently throughout the warm months. Take this time to get it prepared for the heavy workload.

Preparing your mower is one task you can get out of the way while you perform spring home maintenance and wait for consistent warm weather to arrive. Give your lawn mower a good tune up by:

  • Changing the oil and spark plug
  • Cleaning or replacing air filters as directed in your user manual
  • Sharpening or replacing blades—dull blades might pull grass up rather than giving it a nice clean cut
  • Cleaning off old dirt and grass

If you have an edger, you can use the above tips to tune it up for use during the warmer part of the year.

Tip 3: Do some light raking

When your grass begins to show some green and the ground is thawed, start off your spring lawn care by giving your lawn a gentle rake. Concentrate on clearing the lawn of dead leaves and debris that may have gathered during the winter, rather than getting deep into your grass (this is something you’ll save for later). This is also a great chance to inspect your lawn and see if there are any trouble areas such as dead or bare patches, or areas infested with  that you’ll have to take care of at a later time.

Tip 4: Dethatch your lawn

Thatch is a layer of organic material made up of old and dead grass roots and other parts of grass that sit right on top of the soil in your lawn. Having a thin layer of thatch can benefit your lawn as it may . On the other hand, thatch that is too thick may harm your lawn and keep nutrients, air, and water from the soil. Getting rid of excessive thatch or dethatching may play a role in keeping your lawn healthy.

Minimally, you’ll need a thatch rake and some elbow grease to dethatch your lawn. Rake deep into your lawn vigorously to remove the layer of thatch.

You can also dethatch your lawn by machine. Power dethatchers come in all shapes and sizes. Since this is a machine you’ll not be using regularly, you may want to rent one from a local tool and hardware store rather than purchasing your own.

Tip 5: Aerate your lawn

As with any living organism, breathing is essential for your lawn. Heavy foot traffic can compact the soil, which may hinder airflow to the roots and restrict proper circulation of water and nutrients to your lawn. Aerating your lawn can help combat the negative effects of compacted soil.

When to aerate your lawn varies depending on the type of grass and climate. Generally, around Alberta, it’s best to aerate your grass between May and June and .

Your lawn should be moist but not saturated with water, so water your grass two days before you begin aerating. You can likely rent an aerator from your local home and garden store. The aerator should punch holes about  approximately 5-8 cm apart. Leave the resulting soil plugs in place to decompose and add nutrients to your lawn.

Tip 6: Fertilize your lawn

General lawn care tips for spring tend to recommend fertilizing your yard when the grass grows and gets green again. In Alberta, this means you may not be able to fertilize your lawn until late spring or early summer, which is also  you should start watering your lawn again. Wait for the weather to stay consistently free of snow and rain before you start regularly watering your lawn. This will promote healthy root growth and prevent you from using water while nature already provides it.

Fertilizer is typically organic, like compost, or synthetic. Both types of fertilizer provide the soil with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Labels on store-bought fertilizer will tell you the percentage of each of those nutrients. Look for a ratio of about .

Be careful not to add too much nitrogen to your lawn as it could kill the grass by way of fertilizer burn. To avoid fertilizing issues, you may want to have a professional lab  to learn how much or how little fertilizer your lawn needs. You can also buy a home-testing kit from your local home and garden store to gauge the health of your lawn’s soil on your own.

Tip 7: Overseed your lawn

Overseeding is simply the process of spreading grass seeds over your lawn. Before the cold hits, you’ll want first to overseed your lawn in the fall. As your grass grows in the spring, you may find patches of empty space in your lawn or patches of dead grass. You may want to oversee these areas to help promote fresh grass growth. However, taking general good care of your lawn (watering, mowing, fertilizing, etc.) may also help revive the troubled areas of your lawn.

If your lawn is susceptible to weeds, you might want to consider overseeding empty spaces in your lawn. By seeding the space with new grass, you can keep unwanted weeds, like crabgrass, from growing.

Tip 8: Remove weeds

There are a few ways to handle weeds in your lawn during the spring. As a preventative measure, overseed your lawn before cold weather hits. Overseeding in the fall may help promote healthy growth of grass in the spring or early summer, giving little to no room for weeds to grow.

You can also attack weeds chemically. Pre-emergent herbicides stop certain weed seeds from growing out of the soil, while post-emergent sprays attack weeds that have already emerged. Before you go the chemical route, make sure you research the effects any given chemical might have on your grass, animals, and the environment.

If you don’t want to spray your lawn, you can pull weeds out manually. There are a variety of weeding tools that can help simplify the task of pulling weeds from your yard. Just ensure you are removing weeds at the root for the best results.

Taking good care of your lawn could get it to the perfect shade of green that has your neighbourhood a-buzz. We hope these spring lawn care tips can help your lawn get to where you want it.