With spring in full effect in the Northern Virginia area, it is time for all things green to start growing after a long hibernation during the cold winter. This means – you guessed it – yard work and plenty of it (at least, that’s what your HOA told us).
Spring Maintenance Tips for your Northern Virginia Lawn
It is a common misconception that it takes a lot of work to take care of your lawn and landscaping in spring, but we’ve got a few tips to “trim” down the chore list. While a weekend dread for some, spring cleanup plays a vital role in getting the grass on your lawn on track for a healthy, productive growing season this summer.
Proper spring lawn care will provide your little grass plants with the correct combination of fresh air, sunshine, and nutrients. This lets your lawn to grow at its maximum capacity so that the grass on your lawn is able to be as tall as it can (that is, until you call Brennan’s Landscaping to come and trim it). We’ve got a short list of a few vital tips for spring lawn care that will help you master spring maintenance. The tips are separated in sections of things you should do in the early spring and things you should do in late spring. Although often referred to as simply “spring,” in the lawn maintenance world, early spring and late spring might as well be months apart.
Lawn Mower Maintenance
In the early spring, it is a good idea to start up the lawn mower and begin to mow the lawn. It is imperative to make sure that the lawnmower remains in good working condition – it’s at this point you can kick your past self for not winterizing the lawnmower. Be sure the change the oil, air filter, and spark plug entering into early spring. Be sure to also clean the top and undercarriage. Take care to remove dirt and grass clippings – yep, even if you don’t feel like it. Also, make sure to detach the spark plug wire before working around the cutting blade to ensure safe cleaning.
To clean under the motor, do not turn the entire mower over to clean it. This is bad for the lawn mower because something may break in the process of flipping the lawn mower. Simply brush away the dried grass simply by lifting up one side. For pieces of dried grass that’s harder to remove, use a box cutter or something with a sharp edge (be safe here) to gently nudge off the pieces of dried grass. Finally, remember to fill up the fuel tank so it has an adequate amount of gas to run. Keep in mind that a cold lawn mower will be more difficult to start in early spring. To make the lawn mower easier to start, warm up the mower by placing it in the sun for a couple of hours before to make it easier to start – yes, we just told you to set up your lawnmower for a nice tan.
Cleaning Up Lawn Debris
You can also take care of it by simply walking over your lawn and gather any twigs, branches, or any other visible debris that has littered your yard over the winter (lookin’ at your dog, neighbor).
Pitch the trash (remember – recycle!), and add the small twigs and leaves to your compost pile. Dead grass that you rake up is also new additions to your compost pile which means you can save money and effort on another spring maintenance tip – fertilizer. You can use the same compost to fertilize your lawn nutrients to assist in the growth of the grass on your lawn.
Weeds Be Gone
In addition, taking care of any weeds that have sprouted up on your lawn is important. An easy way to remove the weeds in your lawn is to fertilize with a weed killer that is ecologically friendly. If you do not want to use chemicals on your lawn, you can also remove pesky weeds by hand which, although time-consuming, is about as “natural lawn care” as you can get.
Along with removing unwanted weeds, add fertilizer to your lawn to give your grass the proverbial “defibrillator” from winter hibernation. The extra nutrients given to the grass will set up the foundation for a strong growing season.
Mow Mow Mow Your…
When mowing your lawn, be sure you are cutting at the highest possible setting for your lawn’s type of grass. Taller grass contains deeper roots that typically edge out any potential for weeds to take root. Most turf types grow the best with three to four inches of blade height which typically corresponds to typical lawn mowers’ highest settings. The general rule for mowing is to remove only one-third of the total grass blade length when mowing.
In addition, early spring is the best time to set edge lawn beds. Using a sharp garden spade makes it easy to cut a two to three-inch deep V-shaped trench along beds to keep the grass out. When the soil gets warm enough to add mulch, you should add shredded mulch to provide a polished finish to planting beds. Be sure to only add a two to three-inch layers around but not on top of your plants. In the late spring, you should replace any visible lawn patches with seeds. Wait for these patches to grow two to three inches of adequate height before mowing it. In the meantime, be careful to mow around these patches.
You can thicken a thin lawn and overseeding it. You can combine seeds, fertilizer, and soil improver and spread them out so that it is easy to grow. Be sure to water newly seeded areas daily for at least the first two weeks.
Back to weeds – we can’t stress this enough – it is important to continually exterminate weeds as they pop up on your lawn so they don’t grow out of control. An easy way to easily exterminate weeds such as dandelions (such a pretty shade of yellow) is to use a weed killer that you trust – not all weed killer is created equally, so do your research, or trust a company like Brennan’s Landscaping to make the right call for your lawn.
The weed killer will kill the weeds clearing them out and also prevent future growth of those pesky weeds. Late spring is a common time that the grubs that were once hibernating in the lawn begin to crawl toward the surface to chew on the grassroots. There are generally two ways to deal with grubs. You can use chemicals before the grubs hatch to kill off the hibernating grubs and their eggs so that they will not be a problem as summer rolls around.
When the birds start chirping and the view is vibrant with green leaves (and your car is covered in a thick layer of yellow pollen), it’s time to get a jump start on lawn care maintenance, and with the above tips, you’ll be a leg up on the neighbors this year!