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Spring Lawn Care Tips

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.

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.

Here are our top spring lawn care tips:

Early Spring

  • Tune up your mower. Change the oil, air filter and spark plug. 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. Sharpen the mower 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. Last but not least, fill the fuel tank. 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. Enhance warming by placing a dark trash bag over the engine while it’s soaking up some rays. (Remove the bag before you start the mower, though!)
  • Clean up. Walk over your lawn and gather any twigs, branches or other debris that has appeared over winter. Dispose of trash, and add small twigs and leaves to your compost pile. Then, rake out dead grass. It can also go on the compost pile unless it contains weeds.
  • Repair bare spots in Northern lawns. Fix bare patches in cool-season turf using Scotts® EZ Seed®. Water newly seeded areas daily for at least a week, but ideally until grass reaches mow-able height. Avoid mowing until grass is at least 2 inches tall or the same height as surrounding lawn. (Wait until late spring for Southern lawns.)
  • Prevent weeds in the North. For Northern lawns where crabgrass has been a problem in the past, apply 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. For weedy Southern lawns, fertilize with Scotts® Turf Builder® Bonus® S Southern Weed & Feed, which kills dollarweed and clover, plus many other weeds commonly found in the South. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the label.
  • Feed the grass. If crabgrass wasn’t a problem, apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food to Northern lawns around the time of the first mowing. This will give nourishment to plant roots for strong growth. If weeds weren’t an issue last year on your Southern lawn, feed grass with Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Lawn Food to help protect your lawn against heat and drought. With all lawn fertilizers, follow label directions carefully for best results.
  • 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. Choose a middle setting for Zoysia grass and Centipede grass, and the lowest setting for Bermuda grass and creeping bentgrass. The rule of thumb for mowing is to remove only one-third of the total grass blade length at a time.
  • Edge beds. In early spring, soft soil makes edging beds a cinch. Using a sharp garden spade or half-moon edger, cut a 2- to 3-inch deep, V-shaped trench along beds to keep grass out. Maintain this edge with a string trimmer throughout the growing season, recutting only as needed. If you’re refreshing existing trench edges in spring by digging out soil or mulch that has filled the trench, toss weed-free material onto planting beds as mulch or add it to your compost pile.
  • Apply mulch. Wait until soil has warmed to refresh mulch for the growing season. Shredded mulch provides a polished finish to planting beds, which you’ll get when you use any variety of Scotts mulch. Scotts mulches provide vibrant year-long color and help prevent weed growth by blocking access to the sun. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer around (but not on top of) your plants.

Late Spring:

  • Repair bare spots in Southern lawns. Use Scotts® EZ Seed® to seed bare patches in warm-season turf. Until it becomes high enough to mow (at least 2 inches tall), water newly seeded areas daily. Begin to mow when the new grass reaches the height of the surrounding lawn.
  • Overseed. Thicken a thin lawn by overseeding. 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® Turf Builder® Grass Seed product for your grass type, and get your grass off to its best start by using Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter® Food for New Grass. Water newly seeded areas daily for at least the first 2 weeks.
  • Wipe out dandelions. Kill these pesky weeds with Scotts® Spot Weed Control For Lawns, which attacks weeds without harming grass. It’s a good way to kill dandelions because it avoids the pitfalls of hand-digging, which include disturbing grass roots and unearthing dormant weed seeds.
  • Go after grubs. Late spring is the time that hibernating grubs in the lawn begin to crawl toward the surface to chew grass roots, before turning into beetles and flying off to find mates. Apply Scotts® GrubEx®to deal with awakening grubs and new grubs that will hatch in coming weeks. Definitely, treat for grubs if you had a problem last year or know that a neighbor is having a problem with grubs.
weeds pulled out by their roots

War on Garden Weeds

weeds pulled out by their roots

You step outside to breathe in the fresh air and admire your garden but then you see it: Weeds everywhere! Plants versus weeds – it’s a constant battle, fighting for territory over your garden but who will come out on top? Read these tips to win the war on weeds!

Keep Your Garden Weed Free

If your garden is already weed free, this is a good time to prevent an invasion! Weeds grow like… well… weeds. Once one or two weeds sprout, your garden is already under attack. Why spend your day hunched over in the hot sun digging for roots all day when you could be relaxing in the sun on a lounge chair amidst a beautiful garden? Preen® Weed Preventer prevents weeds from growing for 3 months. Simply spread it over your weed-free garden and give it a little, soft shower with the hose for it to take effect. Taking preventative measures to ensure that your garden stays healthy will save you a lot of time and effort when weeds do try to grow in your garden.

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Get Rid of Pesky Garden Weeds

Getting rid of those pesky weeds can be annoying and time-consuming. Truper® Weed Cutter will help dig up your weeds faster and in larger quantities. Use the weed cutter to pull up surface level weeds but try not to dig deeper than a couple inches. There may be more weed seeds waiting to be brought to the surface for sunlight. Ortho® Weed B Gon® Weed Killer Concentrate For Lawns kills stubborn weeds immediately, down to the root. It is safe for lawns and easy to spread, saving you a lot of time and strain.

Don’t Cut Until You See the Green of Their Leaves

If the weeds in your garden are out of control and digging them out is simply not an option, your best answer is to start clipping! Wait until the opportune moment to strike. When pulling out weeds, the sooner the better but if they’ve grown into your plants, it’s not too late. Cutting the tips off of weeds will effectively stunt their growth.

Divide and Conquer

Strive to be strategic and ‘keep it close to the chest!’ In this case, the strategy is to block out weeds by planting close to the rest! If your plants are in close quarters with one another then there isn’t enough room for weeds to grow. Make sure to give your seedlings a couple inches (or what is suggested) from each other so that they have room to grow but take up the areas where weeds could flourish.

And Keep Them from Coming Back!

After removing surface level weeds, there are still weeds a few inches under the soil waiting to reach enough sunlight to grow. Consider adding mulch to help nourish your plants and keep moisture in, while blocking weed seedlings from sunlight. Pick up a bag of Scotts® Nature Scapes Color Enhanced Mulch and lay a generous layer on your garden or landscape! Master Gardner Company Weed Ender 10 Year Landscape Fabric effectively controls weeds, without chemicals, letting nutrients, water and air in and keeping weeds out.

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We want you to win the war on weeds! Try these helpful methods and take back your garden! Weeds grow fast and are stubborn enemies but they are no match for us. Stop by Big R and pick up your weapons against weeds.