A great lawn doesn’t just happen; it requires the right preparation at the right time. Whether your lawn was great last year or it needs a little help, right now is the time to prepare your lawn for a summer showing. A great lawn doesn’t only look good, but according to The Lawn Institute, it also controls erosion, protects groundwater, moderates neighborhood temperatures and improves local air quality.
Of course, who doesn’t love roaming barefoot on the grass in the summer? If you prepare your lawn right now, using these five steps to a great lawn, you can enjoy the benefits all year long.
Gather Your Equipment
In the spring, even before the snow melts, start getting your equipment in order. Lawnmowers and string trimmers that have been in hibernation all winter can be spruced up for spring. Change spark plugs, replace air filters, clean over and under, and sharpen blades. Sharp lawnmower blades are especially important, as ragged cuts lead to discolored grass and bare spots.
Once you can see your lawn, see what’s been hidden there all winter. Leaves from last fall, branches and twigs that fell through winter, and gravel kicked up by snowplows will all hamper a great lawn’s growth and appearance. They can also damage your lawnmower. Pick up rocks and sticks and rake away any dead leaves to give your lawn room to grow.
Fill in the Bald Spots
If your lawn has bare spots, now is the best time to fill them in. Use a bow rake to break up the ground, then seed with regular grass seed. Use the rake again to mix the seed into the soil, but not too deep. Cover with hay or straw to discourage foraging. Water well and you should start to see growth in a couple of weeks. Lightly rake the hay away before mowing.
Consider treatments to prepare your lawn for hot summer and attacks by insects and weeds. Fertilizers give your lawn the nutrients it needs for strong growth and great color. Insecticides prevent attacks by grass-loving insects and herbicides prevent weed growth that steal nutrients from your lawn. Check the instructions for application times and safety information. You can use a broadcast spreader to evenly distribute grass seed and certain fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides.
The First Cut
Finally, when you get to your first cutting of the season, don’t go right for your desired lawn height. Ideally, wait until the grass is about four inches high and cut it to about three inches. This is the typical highest-setting on many push mowers and won’t damage first-growth grass. For subsequent cuttings, lower the deck a little more each time until you reach your desired grass height. Keep in mind to never trim more than a third of the grass height in a single cutting.
When you take your time to prepare your lawn early, even before the snow melts, you and your lawn will be better prepared to face spring rains and summer heat, not to mention cookouts, dog walking, Frisbee, volleyball, stargazing, relaxing and everything else you use your lawn for.
Check out all the lawn and garden products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine automobile maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to prepare your lawn for summer, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Image via Max Pixel.