Spring Lawn Care for Northern Lawns

There’s no better time to start taking care of your lawn than spring.

Starting lawn maintenance in spring helps get your grass growing green and strong for the rest of the year. If you’re in the north, start in the early spring with some cleanup. “Wake up” the lawn by applying fertilizer and mowing the grass. By late spring, you’re ready for seeding. These steps for spring lawn care will help strengthen your grass so you can enjoy a lush, green yard.


Early Spring

Once the snow melts and the soil temperatures begin rising, it’s time to start preparing your lawn for the year ahead. This mostly means cleaning up from winter and figuring out what your lawn will need in the coming months.


  1. Get your mower ready: Give your mower a tune-up so it’s ready for mowing season. Clean your mower thoroughly and do any maintenance needed, like replacing parts. This is also a good time to change the oil and fill up the gas tank. Finally, sharpen the mower blades to ensure a clean cut.
  2. Clean debris: Winter might have left your yard littered with debris like branches, twigs, and rocks. Removing debris provides fewer opportunities for pests and lets more sunlight reach the grass and soil.
  3. Rake: Once you’ve cleared the big stuff, rake up leaves and smaller debris. Using the rake, loosen up dead grass and dirt. This will make it easier for your soil to receive light, water, and nutrients.
  4. Make notes: It’s not quite time for fertilizer or seeding, but make note of any areas in the yard that need extra maintenance, or if your whole lawn could use a green-up. This will help you determine the right type and amount of supplies needed for later in the season.



Once temperatures are consistently above 55°F, it’s time to prepare your lawn for growth and prevent weeds before they can start growing.


  1. Wake the lawn: Feeding your lawn with fertilizer or lawn food gives the grass the signal that it’s growing time. Using a combined pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer not only helps the lawn green up, but prevents weeds before they can start growing. Scotts® Turf Builder® Halts® Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food is an excellent choice for many Northern lawns and grasses.
  2. Mowing: When the grass gets tall enough, start mowing at the highest recommended setting for your grass. Mowing promotes horizontal as well as vertical growth, which helps thicken your lawn. Cutting high allows the grass to grow stronger roots and thicker blades that shade the soil to prevent weed growth.

Late Spring

Wait until air temperatures are consistently between 60°F and 80°F to seed your yard. The type and amount of seed you need will depend on the current condition of your lawn.


1. Whatever your seeding needs, Scotts® has you covered:

  • Patching: You may have just a few small areas of grass that aren’t growing. A little repair is all you need! Try Scotts® EZ Seed® Patch & Repair Sun & Shade to target specific spots in your lawn.
  • Overseed: If your lawn is thin or has a few larger spots of dead grass, overseeding might be the best option. An overseeding product like Scotts® Turf Builder® Thick’R Lawn® Sun & Shade will help build thicker turf while also seeding dead spots for new growth.
  • Reseed: Reseeding helps a very thinned lawn or larger dead patches recover with fresh, new turf. Scotts® Turf Builder® Rapid Grass Sun & Shade Mix® is a great option with both seed and fertilizer to help grow new grass while feeding any areas that have some green left.
  • Feeding new seed: Whether you just moved or had a harsh winter, sometimes the best thing for your lawn is a fresh start. Consider Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action Built for Seeding to grow new grass. This three-in-one lawn care product prevents weeds from choking out your new grass and provides nourishment to seedlings for faster establishment.

2. After you’ve seeded, keep your lawn growing strong!

  • Newly seeded lawns: Before fertilizing a newly seeded lawn, mow two or three times to ensure new seed is established. After 6 to 8 weeks, you can begin a fertilizer program. Check the label instructions and follow them carefully.
  • Established lawns: Two fertilizer applications in spring will help crowd out weeds and strengthen your lawn before the summer heat arrives. Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action is a three-in-one weed and feed product for Northern lawns. Read your fertilizer’s label and follow the instructions carefully. Typically, you need to wait 6-8 weeks between fertilizer applications.


Enjoy Your Lawn

Once you’ve taken these smart lawn care steps in the spring, get ready to enjoy a beautiful yard all year! Keep mowing, and stay on the lookout for signs of damage, weeds, and pests. Even though lawn maintenance is an ongoing process, starting early with good habits will pay off in less work for the rest of the year.