Gently Wake Up Your Lawn in Spring for a Season of Green

By Jaime Staufenbeil - Milorganite Agronomist

Green Lawn in Spring with Lilac bushes

Tread lightly. Actually, don’t tread at all.

You’re eager to get back into your yard after a cold, gray winter, but just because you’re ready doesn’t mean your lawn is.

Take a hand full of soggy, spring soil. Squeeze it hard. You might get water dripping or even running between your fingers. You end up with a solid, well-compacted mud ball. The same thing happens when you walk through your emerging spring lawn, but this time it’s all your weight compacting the soil, not just your hand. The tender grass shoots and their equally tender roots don’t stand a chance.

Wait until the soil is drier and doesn’t compress before doing any heavy yard work, which includes vigorous raking and transporting a wheel borrow of mulch to the garden, as well as the kids’ first soccer game in the yard. Even now, be gentle—the grass is just waking up for the season. Rake your lawn lightly using a plastic rake to remove leaves and debris. You can use a metal rake later in the year, but not now. Your lawn will appreciate it your kind attention.

First “haircut” of the season.

Now’s a good time to have your mower blades sharpened, which will give your lawn a clean cut. A dull blade tears grass instead of cutting it. Lawns also dry out more quickly with frayed ends, making it more susceptible to insects and disease.

Don’t buzz cut your lawn now or throughout the growing season. Rule-of-thumb: only cut off one-third of a blade of grass in a single mowing. You can keep your lawn a little on the longer side, too. For example, lawn that’s in the three-inch range has roots about the same depth. Deeper roots. Healthier lawn. Check to find the optimum growing height for your variety of lawn.

Time to fertilize!

Using spreader to fertilize a lawn.

When your lawn starts to green-up, it’s time to fertilize. If you do it too early, your lawn will concentrate on top growth at the expense of root growth. It might look good, but in spring grass wants and needs to focus on establishing roots. Strong, healthy roots will help your lawn withstand drought conditions throughout the summer months.

If you’re a northerner, fertilize your lawn when it’s consistently in the 60s during the day—soil will be in the 50s. Probably about mid to late May.

Southerners, you’ll know it’s time to fertilize your lawn when the when daytime temps are consistently in the 70s—and soil temps are in the 60s. Usually April depending on the weather.

Milorganite is always a good fertilizer option. Its nutrients are released when the soil temperature is right for grass to grow and it’s released slowly for consistent growth and greening.

When it’s time to start mowing, leave the clippings on your lawn. It’s free fertilizer and it adds organic matter.

Spring Lawn Video

For more spring lawn tips to help get your lawn back in shape. Happy spring!

How to Improve Your Lawn this Spring