Spring Cleaning: Lawn Care Style
Clean up Fido’s backyard oasis with these early spring lawn care tips./
Clearing out that cord-filled junk drawer is just one part of spring cleaning. Once March 20th AKA the first day of spring hits, show Old Man Winter who’s boss and give your yard a little TLC...tender lawn care.
Clean Out Flower Beds
Trust us, you’ll sleep better with a clean (flower) bed! Before planting your springtime flowers, pull up annuals, remove dead branches, prune bushes and rid your beds of any lurking weeds. Heck, you might even find your pup’s long lost chew toy buried amongst the mulch!
After you’ve tackled the cleanup, it’s time to break out the rake. Mulch can start to mat over time, blocking rain and sunlight from feeding your plant’s roots. To help remove this barrier, simply rake up the mulch and layer your beds with two to three inches of new mulch. This will stop the weed seeds by blocking their access to sunlight. Keep in mind that if your matted mulch has developed a fungus or mold, it’s best to use a fungicide or remove it completely. Lastly, always check the mulch label to ensure it’s pet-friendly! Avoid using cocoa mulch (also known as cocoa bean mulch and cocoa bean hull mulch), as this mulch contains caffeine and theobromine—which can be poisonous if your dog eats it.
After mulching, use a shovel to cut a clean edge between your beds and your lawn. Then, take a step back, admire your work and whisper “thank you, thank you very mulch” in your best Elvis impression.
Grab a Rake
The only constant in life is change...and stray leaves. Even if you raked in the fall, there will no doubt be some stragglers. Before mowing, you’ll want to remove these leaves, branches and other winter debris. Of course, only after you’ve let Fido romp around in those leaf piles.
Not only will this cleanup make your mower easier to run, it’ll also help control thatch—an organic layer of grass stems that lies between your grass blades and the soil. When this layer becomes thicker than one inch, it can prevent the root system from receiving necessary water and nutrients.
If you can’t easily push your finger into the soil, then you most likely have a thatch problem. To show thatch the door, simply push the rake tines deeply down through the grass to break this layer up. Voilà!
Tune up Your MowerThe secret sauce to a green lawn? A mower that’s up for the task!
Before you get going, there is some lawn mower maintenance that needs to be done each spring! First, start by replacing the spark plug and filter. Then, change the oil and sharpen the blade (this should be done at least once a year). Next, clean your mower with a putty knife to remove any caked-on grass and lubricate the wheel bearings for optimal cutting.
Finally, set your mower to the highest setting for that first big mowing to help your blades grow thick AND crowd out any lurking weeds. You can always adjust your lawn mower height later on based on your personal preference and after assessing your lawn.
However, as a general rule of thumb, you should only be removing the top ⅓ of the grass blade at each cutting. During spring, mow cool season grasses like tall fescue to a height of around 3 inches and cut warm season grasses like Bermuda grass to a height of about 1.5 inches.
Sow Grass Seed & Fertilizer
Once late spring (May and June) hits, it’s time to spread a high-quality grass seed that’ll give your lawn a little extra boost. Your yard needs will depend on where you live, so be sure to research what seed or fertilizer works best for your grass. If you have a thin lawn, evenly apply Good Boy™ over your entire lawn to help your grass grow thicker and greener. Simply water daily or as needed to keep the soil moist for the first two weeks.
If you notice bare patches courtesy of Fido, opt for Bad Spot® in our BarkYard kit. Be sure to gently water the area for several minutes until no more water is absorbed and when the area begins to turn light brown, water again. Remember to keep your kids, pets and lawn mower off the newly planted seedlings until the grass is three inches high!With these tips, your lawn will be the greenest pup playground this spring! Now that you’ve got a good springtime game plan, it’s never too early to look ahead. For more detailed year-round lawn care pointers, check out our other article here.