Tackling spring lawn care provides a just-right dose of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise—and sets your lawn on its way to season-long glory. Spring lawn chores aren’t difficult, but they do play a vital role in getting your grass on track for a healthy, productive growing season.
Early Spring Lawn Care Tips
Late Spring Lawn Care Tips
Here are our top spring lawn care tips:
Tune up your mower. Change the oil, air filter and spark plug. Once you’re done high-fiving yourself, clean the top and undercarriage, removing dirt and grass clippings--just be sure to detach the spark plug wire before working around the cutting blade. Don’t flip a gas mower over to clean underneath; simply lift one side and brush away dried grass. If dried grass has hardened, loosen with a hand trowel or putty knife. A dull blade makes mowing more work. Sharpen that blade, and replace it if it has large nicks or gouges. It’s a good idea to keep an extra blade on hand so you always cut with a sharp edge. Now fill your mower with gas or charge the battery, because, well, power.
If you prefer a hands-off approach, take your mower to the shop, though you will want to do it in late fall or winter to avoid spring crowds. Note, too, that a cold mower can be hard to start in early spring. Warm it up by placing it in the sun for an hour or two prior to starting. Kick it up a notch by placing a dark trash bag over the engine while it’s soaking up some rays. (Don’t forget to remove the bag before you start the mower!)
Clean up. Walk around and pick up twigs, branches, and any trash that winter (or the kids) tossed onto your lawn. Then, rake out dead grass and throw it onto your compost pile—along with any other green scraps—unless it contains weeds.
Repair bare spots. Look for bald spots. (In your lawn, pal.) Cover them with a grass toupée — A.K.A. Scotts® Bare Spot Repair products. Water newly seeded areas every day for at least a week, or until the grass reaches mow-able height. (Mow around the bare patches until then.) Once the new grass is 2 inches high, mow over them. Do the rest of your lawn while you’re at it.
Prevent weeds in the North. If crabgrass has crawled across your northern lawn, multi-task by spreading Scotts® Turf Builder® Halts Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food* in early spring. Follow label directions, and only use this product if no spring seeding projects are planned.
Kill weeds in the South. If your southern lawn has weeds, send them on a permanent spring break with Scotts® Turf Builder® Bonus® S Southern Weed & Feed. It kills dollarweed and clover, plus many other weeds commonly found in the South. If you also have issues with fire ants, though, applyScotts® Turf Builder® Southern Triple Action instead. In addition to feeding your lawn and killing stubborn weeds, it prevents and kills fire ants for up to 6 months. With both products, be sure to read and follow the directions on the label.
Mow high. Adjust the mower deck to cut grass at the highest possible setting for your lawn’s type of grass. Tall grass sinks deeper roots (which can seek out moisture) and crowds out weeds. Most turf types thrive with a 3- to 4-inch blade height, which usually corresponds to a mower’s highest setting. There are a few exceptions: Bermuda grass and creeping bentgrass like to keep a low profile, while Zoysia grass and Centipede grass enjoy a happy medium. No matter what, never remove more than one-third of the total grass blade length at a time.
Edge beds. The soft soil in early spring makes edging beds a cinch. Use a half-moon edger or a sharp garden spade to cut a 2- to 3-inch deep, V-shaped trench along your beds. This’ll show your lawn where it stops and your garden and landscape areas begin. Boundaries are important. Recut it as needed throughout the growing season, using a string trimmer. Toss any weed-free material you might dig out onto planting beds as mulch or add it to your compost pile.
Apply mulch. Once the soil has warmed, refresh your mulch. Shredded mulch provides a polished finish to planting beds, but it also helps prevent weed growth by blocking access to the sun. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer around your plants. Don’t put mulch on top of your plants.
Thicken a thin lawn. Pull out your spreader and fill it with grass seed fit for your lawn type. If you have a cool-season grass type (Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue, or tall fescue) use Scotts® Turf Builder® Thick’R Lawn™, which combines grass seed, fertilizer, and a soil improver into an easy-to-use product you apply with a spreader. If you have a warm-season grass type (bermuda, zoysia, centipede, or bahia) use the appropriate Scotts® Grass Seed Products for late spring for your grass type, and get your grass off to its best start by using Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter® Food for New Grass. Water your lawn every day for two weeks.
Wipe out dandelions. Kill these pesky weeds with Scotts® Turf Builder® Weed & Feed3, which is guaranteed to clear out dandelions and clover—all while feeding your grass to build strong roots. However, if you live in the North and didn't apply crabgrass preventer in early spring, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action* instead. You'll still be killing dandelions (and other listed weeds) while feeding the lawn, but this 3-in-1 product also prevents future weeds like crabgrass.
Go after grubs. What the heck are grubs? They’re white, C-shaped beetle larvae that chew on your grass’s roots before turning into beetles and flying off to find mates. Late spring is a great time to go after them by applying Scotts® GrubEx® with your trusty spreader. You definitely don’t want to skip this if you had a problem last year or your neighbor is dealing with grubs, they can end up in your yard.
*don't apply to newly seeded areas until after the 4th mowing; wait 4 months to plants seeds after applying