If you’ve just moved into your first home, congratulations. Now that spring is here, you have outdoor chores and lawn maintenance to look forward to. This can be overwhelming, especially are trying to unpack and settle into your home, have never cared for a lawn before, or you haven’t mowed the lawn since you were a kid. Here are some tips to get you started with spring lawn maintenance.
First, rake away any dead leaves, sticks and other matter that is cluttering up your yard, under bushes, and in flower beds. Besides making your lawn look tidier, removing anything that is covering the grass and flower beds will allow more light to reach the lawn, and make it easier for bulbs and other perennials to sprout. Raking will also help break up the thatch layer,
Mulch flower beds and bare spots around trees or under bushes. Mulching will cut down on weeds and help retain moisture during hot, dry spells later in the year.
Lawns will naturally perk up in the spring, but it never hurts to aerate, then overseed in the spring. Do this before you start to mow. Aeration will loosen up compacted soil and let air and water flow to the roots, promoting extra growth, and over seeding will fill in bare spots. Overseeding in the spring will take advantage of spring rains and cool temps, allowing new growth to establish itself prior to the heat of summer.
Prune back shrubs and ornamental trees, because few things can tidy up a yard and open up the view of your home like trimming back overgrown bushes and shrubs. The time to prune varies by plant type or flowering time, so do your research before you get out the pruners or the loppers.
Mow the lawn. But before you mow, take the time to learn what type of grass is growing in your yard. Kentucky bluegrass is best kept and 2 to 3.5 inches, while Zoysia is happiest and .5 to 1.5 inches. The first time you mow in the spring, keep the grass a little on the long side, as this put less stress on new grass. As you move on in the season, don’t make the mistake of scalping your lawn; never remove more than the top third of the blade. Cutting too short can invite disease, so it’s better to mow more frequently.
Unless your HOA rules require you to remove the clippings, leave them on the lawn. They provide vital nutrients to your lawn as they compost. A benefit to mowing more frequently is that smaller clippings will take less time to decompose. You can also invest in a mulching mower, which will cut the clippings into smaller shreds than a normal mower.
Before planting trees, installing planters, or doing any major landscaping, check with your HOA rules to make sure you won’t inadvertently be breaking any rules or starting a fight with that neighbor who has the rules memorized.