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Spring Lawn Care 101

Spring is in the air, but your yard is looking bare.

Initial Preparation: March & April

Preparing your lawn for greatness comes down to these basic steps: tune up your mower, mow your blades high, and eliminate intrusive weeds

Behind Every Great Lawn Is a Great Lawn Mower

To keep your lawn in tip-top shape, ensure that your mower is up to the task. Begin with a tune-up, replacing the spark plug and the filter as necessary. Next, change the oil and sharpen the blade -- we recommend doing this at least once a year. After your mower's essential parts have been brought up to snuff, clean it off -- use a putty knife to remove caked-on grass, and wax the deck to keep clippings from sticking to it. Finally, you'll want to lubricate the wheel bearings and other moving parts to improve the efficiency and extend the lifespan of your mower.

Pick up Sticks and Mow High

Storms during the winter season likely deposited a smattering of fallen leaves, branches, and twigs on your lawn. Once you've picked up this debris and disposed of it properly, you're ready to mow. The best-kept secret to lush, thick lawns? Mow high. Setting your mower to the highest possible setting for your grass type allows the blades to grow thick and develop a deep root system. This method also crowds out weeds, putting you well on your way to cultivating the most enviable backyard on the block.

Stamp Out Pesky Weeds at the Source

No matter where you hail from, invasive weeds are a fact of life. For lawns in the North, tamp down on crabgrass early with a

pre-emergent weed killer like Scotts® Turf Builder® Halts® Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food. However, if you've recently seeded or are planning to use grass seed in the spring, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action Built for Seeding instead. It prevents crabgrass and other listed weeds for up to 6 weeks but won't interfere with the germination of your grass seed.

For lawns in the South, dollarweed will be your biggest lawn foe. Kill it by using a weed control product like Scotts® Turf Builder® Bonus® S Southern Weed & Feed2 (see label for listed grass types). If you battle fire ants where you live, though, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Triple Action instead, which adds the benefit of preventing and killing fire ants for up to 6 months (in addition to killing weeds and feeding the lawn).

North or South, regularly feeding your lawn will help the grass grow thick and strong, crowding out unwanted weeds.

Late Spring Maintenance: May & June

A grass lovers work is never done. Once you've laid the foundation for a weed-free, luscious lawn, it's time to shift your focus to maintenance

Sow Your Seeds

A high-quality grass seed with a germination rate of 85% or higher can give your lawn the extra boost it needs to grow, literally, to its fullest potential. Patience is a virtue when it comes to seeded grass: wait until the new sprouts are at least three inches tall before mowing.

To specifically target bare patches, spot seeding with Scotts® Bare Spot Repair products will do the trick — just be sure to water daily or as needed to keep the soil surface moist until the seedlings are at least 2 inches tall.

If you need to thicken up a thin lawn, use Scotts® Thin Lawn Repair products. It contains everything you need (grass seed, fertilizer, and a soil improver) to help turn weak, thin grass into a thick, green lawn. Just be sure to water the lawn daily or as needed for the first 2 weeks after application.

Fend off Invaders

Dandelions might seem like a harmless addition to your backyard flora and fauna, but this innocent looking flower is actually a weed. Left to its own devices, it will multiply and take over your precious lawn. Spot-treat dandelions where they sprout up with Scotts® Spot Weed Control for Lawns, or if they've already begun to multiply, control them with Scotts® Turf Builder® Weed & Feed5, which is guaranteed to kill dandelions while fertilizing your lawn. Forgot to put a stop to crabgrass earlier in the spring? No problem. Simply choose Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action as your late spring weed-and-feed—it prevents crabgrass in addition to killing dandelions (and other listed weeds) and providing nutrition for your grass.

Another invader may be lurking just beneath the surface of your lawn. If you experience an influx of beetles in the early summer, you may have a problem with grubs — the larvae of these beetles — which feast on the roots of grass and plants. Never fear: one application of Scotts® GrubEx® before or just as the grubs hatch kills and prevents them all season.

Put the Final Touches on Your Herbaceous Masterpiece

Use a shovel to cut a clean edge between landscape beds and your lawn, then layer the beds with two to three inches of mulch for a polished look that also stops weed seeds by blocking their access to sunlight. Once the hard work's done, kick back and relish in your pristine backyard oasis — your neighbors will surely be green with envy.