Are you tired of fighting with your lawn every year in an effort to keep it green and lush? Believe it or not, what you do in spring is what can determine whether or not your lawn is beautiful this summer. The following are the three top tasks you can do now to enjoy a healthier lawn later.
A thatch layer builds up on top the soil and around the grass blades over time. This layer is primarily made up of decomposing grass clippings and other plant detritus. A thin layer of thatch is beneficial, as it behaves like mulch and helps retain soil moisture. Thatch becomes a problem when it is more than a couple of centimeters thick because an overly thick layer will start to prevent nutrients and water from leaching through and into the soil.
When this happens, grab a dethatching rake and give the entire yard a thorough raking. You will pull the thatch up to the surface where it can be easily gathered and either composted or disposed of. You may not need to dethatch every spring, but keep an eye on the depth of the layer so you can act once it is time.
Soil compaction can occur even in areas with healthy soil composition. Heavy lawnmowers and foot traffic are common causes of compaction, and some compaction occurs naturally as root mats grow. Once the soil becomes heavily compacted, water can't easily penetrate the soil and roots may have trouble growing.
A core aerator is a mechanical device that removes small cores of soil from the lawn. The cores are left on top of the grass where they "melt" after a few waterings or rainstorms. The main benefit of core aerating is that it breaks up the soil. The roots of the grass will have room to spread, and earthworms can move in, which further aerates the soil. Moisture and fertilizer nutrients will also be able to make their way into the soil.
Your lawn may have a few bald patches following winter. These patches may be the result of winter damage, animal urine, or just foot traffic across the lawn. If ignored, weeds will move in and ruin the look of your lawn.
The time to re-seed the lawn is in spring, as soon as the grass starts growing but after dethatching and aerating. Spread a thin layer of compost or topsoil over the bare areas and rake it in, and then apply the grass seed over the thin areas. Keep the soil moderately moist and avoid mowing until after the seeds have germinated and the new grass has established.
Contact a lawn care service for more assistance.