Spring is the prime time for tackling thin and weedy lawns which have taken a beating from the harshness of winter. Chilly soil temperatures, frost and reduced sunlight can all take their toll on your grass, leading to an increasingly unhealthy lawn. If your lawn has been affected by the cold weather, and is starting to show signs of damage, thinning and death, it’s time to help it bounce back to lush greenness.
Your lawn may have accumulated a build-up of dead leaves and debris over the winter months – now it’s time to clear this all out. Removing debris will allow maximum sunlight to reach the lawn, and will also prevent mould and fungus from developing in damp, sheltered places. Give your lawn a thorough raking to remove all the obstructing debris – this also helps to remove thatch as well. Read about Lawn spring clean.
Soil can become compacted over winter, particularly if your lawn experienced high traffic. Once you’ve cleared the debris off the lawn, it’s time to aerate and break up the compaction. Grab a pitchfork and use the spikes to make small holes in the ground. Repeat this across your entire lawn to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate deeply to the grassroots and encourage better lawn health. Alternatively, you could use a lawn coring machine or a lawn aerator to make the process quicker. Then give the lawn a good water and application of fertiliser.
The absence of a good fertilising regime will cause your lawn to become thin, patchy and overgrown by weeds. Fertilising is one of the most important things you can do for good lawn health – and spring is the most important time to fertilise. A simple investment in good quality fertiliser will reap great rewards in terms of lawn growth and nourishment.
Give your lawn a light application of slow-release organic or inorganic fertiliser at the rate specified on the product label. This will give the grass a good boost as it goes into spring.
You can access Horsham’s quality range of fertilisers here.
Click here to read seven lawn fertilisation mistakes to avoid.
Winter lawns can quickly become weedy, as weeds move in and take advantage of a winter-weakened lawn. Weeds tend to thrive in cold, damp weather and can take quite a hold in your lawn before you even know it. Get rid of them through hand removal or the use of a weed killer. An entrenched crop of weeds will usually need to be treated with a selective herbicide. It’s important to do this as early in spring as possible, before the weeds start seeding and spreading – but try and wait at least three weeks after you’ve applied fertiliser to treat and remove weeds.
You may not have had to mow much over winter, but come spring and you’ll definitely have to haul the lawnmower out and get in it working order! Get your mower serviced if necessary – or at the very least, check that the blades are sharp, change the oil and fuel and check that everything is in good working order.
Don’t mow aggressively and cut the lawn too low, as this will leave it even more vulnerable to weed infestations. Just give it a light trim to start with, to remove the brown, dead grass tips, but don’t remove more than one third of the blade length. Gradually increase your cut as the lawn hits its growing season, but don’t mow so low that you damage the crown of the plant.
Your lawn may not need massive amounts of water just because it’s spring, but a regular light drink will definitely help the lawn to build resilience. If your lawn has become damp and mouldy over winter, it’s wise to let it dry out a bit in the spring sunshine before adding more water. And a deep watering may last the lawn longer than you expect in early spring. Check that the lawn actually needs watering before giving it a drink – you can do this by inserting your finger into the soil and checking whether it feels dry.
As your lawn starts to flourish again after winter, your watering will gradually need to increase. Keep an eye on the weather, and don’t water when rain is expected. As a general guide, most lawns need around 1 inch of water a week, including rainwater.
Also read: When is the best time to install a new lawn?
You might need to re-turf or re-seed areas of your lawn if it currently contains dead or damaged areas. Remove any damaged grass, add some topsoil and lay strips of turf or plant grass seed in the area. This will give your lawn an instant pick-me-up and make it much more usable too.
To access a wide range of instant turf varieties, click here.
Now is a great time to spring your lawn out of winter hibernation (particularly if coronavirus has kept you at home and you’re looking for something to occupy your time). Your lawn will thank you further down the track when it’s looking lush, green and healthy – and ready for summer.