You want to keep up with all of your Northern Virginia lawn’s needs throughout the year.
And spring is one of those important times when you don’t want to delay too long or mess anything up. You don’t want to miss your moment and notice that your grass color is now off or that you missed a fertilization window or that weeds are taking over your lawn.
Spring is the time you get outside to enjoy your lawn after all. All the neighbors emerge from their cocoons to take walks and experience the sunshine and fresh air. You don’t want to be the one who can’t enjoy their lawn because it looks a bit sketchy or have the lawn that neighbors stop and stare at for all the wrong reasons.
What you need is a guide. Let’s talk about spring lawn maintenance in Northern Virginia so you can get a better handle on what tasks you need to focus on come springtime, so your lawn looks like the best on the block.
The Ultimate Spring Lawn Care Checklist for Northern Virginia Lawns
Lawn care is certainly not a one-time thing. It’s a process that is a year-long endeavor to ensure good health to this growing, living plant.
And spring is when the year kicks off for your grass; it’s a time you don’t want to mess up as your lawn growth kicks into high gear.
Follow these spring lawn maintenance tips to ensure you give your grass the best start possible.
#1. Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning doesn’t only happen inside; it happens outside, too.
Once the winter chill begins wearing away, it’s time to clean up your yard as part of spring lawn maintenance. You can lightly rake up dead leaves and debris. You don’t want to be aggressive as you do this and take out chunks of your lawn, but you do want to clear the lawn so it can receive sunlight, air, water, and nutrients to grow properly.
Also remember at this time to keep your eyes open for bare spots or areas where your lawn seems impacted by snow mold, salt, or snow plow damage. If you notice any issues, flag these areas for repair and overseeding later so you can get them back to good health.
#2. Mower Prep & Mowing Best Practices
It may not be time to mow yet, but you can prepare your mower for use as part of your spring lawn care checklist.
Do this by sharpening your mower blades, filling the tires with air, changing the oil, and making sure everything works like it should. Check these things throughout the year as well as in spring to ensure you get a great cut every time.
Then when it’s time to mow, you want to avoid making some common mowing mistakes, such as mowing to the wrong height, mowing at the wrong frequency, and using unmaintained mowing equipment with unsharpened mower blades.
The ideal Northern Virginia lawn height is 3.5 to 4 inches. This grass height optimizes your lawn health, so that it can grow thick and green and resist weeds. At times, you could be tempted to cut your lawn short to save yourself time or match your favorite golf course grass. When you cut your lawn too short, you stress it out and it could make it turn yellow, brown, or give weeds a free pass to emerge.
Once the growing season is consistent, you’ll mow weekly to maintain this ideal height. Remember that you never want to cut one-third of your grass blades at any one time.
Another thing to remember in spring: Never mow your grass when it’s wet. Wet grass blades can clump together and topple to one side, giving you a raggedy cut. They can also clog your mower deck, leaving clumps in random places as you mow, giving you a pick-up job afterward.
As you mow, walk at an even pace – approximately 3 miles per hour or less. And to improve lawn health as you mow, recycle your grass clippings with a mulching mower so you return your clippings in smaller pieces to your lawn, providing additional nutrients as they break down.
Also, keeping sharp mower blades and a level mower deck can help you achieve an even, crisp cut from spring on.
#3. Spring Fertilization
Everything from home building to hardscape installation to foot traffic to rainfall can all impact your soil, taking away nutrients and organic matter that helps your plants grow.
This creates a less-than-ideal environment to grow grass.
That’s where fertilization comes in as a spring lawn maintenance basic: to give your lawn the nutrients the soil may not be providing.
And spring is when fertilization starts, but this strategy takes consistency. Fertilization is important in the spring when the growing season is kicking off to build top growth. But it’s also important again in fall when the growing season settles down for root growth.
#4. Conduct a Soil Test
A soil test is an important task that can happen any time of year, but it can be a great tool to include as part of spring lawn care in Northern Virginia.
A soil test will show whether your lawn soil is in the right pH range, which is ideally between a 6 and 7. This pH range ensures that your lawn can absorb nutrients properly.
The tendency for Northern Virginia lawns is for them to have a low soil pH. In that case, corrective lime applications can help fix acidic soil and bring it back to the right pH range.
A soil test can also guide your fertilization strategy, ensuring your lawn gets any nutrients that it’s lacking. Your lawn care professional will start fertilization in early spring, which is an important time for kicking it off, and then apply another fertilizer application in late spring. Fertilizer will continue at regular intervals through fall, giving your lawn what it needs throughout the year.
#5. Target Spring Weeds
Weeds compete with your grass for water and nutrients, which is kind of like a bully stealing lunch money from other kids at school.
Knowing which weeds infest your lawn and the optimal treatment timing for each weed can help you better control them so you can control these bullies and keep them away from your healthy grass.
In spring, putting down a pre-emergent herbicide application as part of spring lawn maintenance can help you tackle those nasty weeds like crabgrass that are best controlled prior to germination. Pre-emergent herbicides are commonly applied earlier in the spring and then again later in the spring to help control those sneaky weeds that aren’t operating on a perfect schedule. This provides an extended period of control to handle Mother Nature’s weather impacts.
#6 Water Your Lawn Properly
In spring, water may not be a big problem since rainfall is usually adequate for your lawn. But knowing the correct way to water grass is a spring lawn care checklist item that you want to keep in mind since water is important for your lawn’s overall performance and vigor.
If you notice yellow grass blades or an overall loss of health, this could be the result of insufficient water.
Your lawn needs roughly 2 inches of water each week. If it doesn’t receive that from Mother Nature, you want to add water with supplemental water via an irrigation system or sprinklers.
Lawns can also receive too much water, which can also result in yellowing or spots that could be from the excess water or even lawn disease caused by overwatering.
Watering your lawn involves long, deep watering to encourage strong, deep roots and healthy, green grass. If you water too often for short times, the roots may grow only near the surface. Your goal is always deeper roots.
Watering during the early mornings is also ideal, since sun and wind can evaporate your water or move it before it gets a chance to soak into the soil.
Embrace the Best Spring Schedule for Your Northern Virginia Lawn
Tending to your lawn can be time consuming. To succeed, you should know which grass species you have, and maintain proper mowing, watering, fertilizing, weed control, and other treatments to ensure lawn vigor and success. And we hope following this spring lawn care checklist helps you stay on top of the chore.
This process can certainly be daunting, and it can be easy to get confused. We completely get it. Who wants to waste their time on lawn care tasks, especially if they aren’t sure whether or not what they’re doing is working.
Want your weekend time back? We’re happy to take this job off of your hands. Call Turf’s Up. You can choose from our different lawn care programs based on the results you’re after and your budget, and we’d be happy to check out your lawn and tell you what services you may need in order to start spring off right.
Ready to learn why Turf’s Up could be your totally awesome choice for lawn care services in Northern Virginia? We’re stoked to learn more about you and help you have the best lawn on the block. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we can prepare a customized plan that is perfect for you and your lawn.
Image Source: leaves and rake