If you’re a homeowner in areas like Calgary or Edmonton, you may struggle with how to properly care for your lawn to avoid the dead grass and unhealthy soil that Alberta winters leave behind.
With careful planning and the right resources, we can prepare any landscape for months of planting and outdoor activities.
Our lawn care professionals have come up with a few tips to help get a lawn ready for spring.
Follow these easy preparation steps to get your yard ready for spring while saving time, energy, and money.
What Happens to Your Lawn During Winter?
Snow coverage and frigid temperatures may cause large patches of brown grass or slowed grass growth.
Older grass can die out with exposure to colder temperatures.
There may also be the need to repair salt or snowplow damage, snow mould, or crown hydration.
Without the proper spring lawn care, these conditions can lead to years of poor grass growth.
To avoid this, you should start working on your lawn once the weather begins to warm and the snow has thawed.
1. Get Your Lawn Mower Ready
Always make sure that the lawn mower’s tank is full with fresh gas, that the air filters are working correctly, and the blades are sharp.
The optimal length for most grass is 2-3 inches long.
Pay attention to the length of the grass and avoid cutting any more than necessary.
Typically, lawns require more frequent mowing in the spring than in the summer.
2. Rake Your Lawn in the Spring
Raking through the lawn will remove the dead leaves and grass that may have accumulated throughout the winter.
This step will allow the ground to breathe.
Snow mould can also cause matted patches, in which the grass blades are all stuck together. This might create an issue for new grass to grow and raking will help solve this problem.
To rake the lawn, draw a spring-tine rake upwards forcefully to ensure removal of all the debris in your yard.
3. Dethatching in Spring
Thatch is a buildup of dead leaves and grass.
A layer of thatch over about ½ inch thick can insulate the ground, making your lawn a breeding ground for disease.
Thatch is the reason why raking is recommended. A spring raking will help remove grass blades that died over the winter. Dead blades eventually become thatch without proper management.
To remove thatch, run a dethatching rake over your lawn. We strongly recommend following up dethatching with overseeding and topdressing for best results.
4. Overseeding Your Lawn
Overseeding is a method of planting in which seed is dropped directly over existing turf.
If your lawn is experiencing bare patches from traffic, neglect or dog spots from your puppy’s urine, grass seed may need to be applied to fill in those bare patches.
When overseeding, there’s no need to tear up the existing soil or turf. This is why this is the preferred method seeding.
To overseeding, spread the seed by hand when trying to fill smaller patches of grass or use a spreader for larger pieces of land.
Before you start overseeding, you should lightly rake. The grass should not be covered with seeds either since they will require sunlight for the sprouting process.
Aeration allows key nutrients like water and oxygen to permeate the ground and nourish grass.
If your lawn experiences a lot of traffic, it might suffer from compacted soil. A presence of moss might be a sign for compaction.
Lawn aeration is an effective solution to soil compaction and it also helps control lawn thatch.
To aerate your lawn, use a pitchfork or aeration machine to create small holes throughout your yard.
Water your lawn beforehand to help the tools puncture the ground and remove any extra debris that might cover the grass.
6. Lawn Fertilization and Weed Control
Grass needs the nutrients found in fertilizer to flourish throughout the spring.
We recommend combining fertilizer with weed control to avoid overgrowth of weeds.
If your lawn uses “cool-season grass”, it is recommended for lighter feeding in spring and a heavier one in late fall. Too much fertilizer in the spring can lead to diseases and weed problems.
For the best results, our lawn experts apply fertilizer and weed control at four separate times throughout the season.
7. Easy and Effective Watering Tips
As we mentioned above, grass seeds require direct sunlight to sprout. An ideal soil should retain moisture and nutrients but doesn’t stay soggy.
This means that you should be mindful of watering your lawn at the beginning of the spring to ensure that your soil will stay moist, but not wet.
To promote healthy growth, be sure to water the lawn daily for the first three weeks of seeding.
Once the grass seeds have sprouted, we recommend that lawns get about an inch of water a week so running sprinklers every day may be overdoing it.
You should water a lawn in the morning to prevent evaporation as the day warms up. You should also avoid watering at night as the lawn will stay wet and drain slowly, making it an ideal environment for bugs and diseases.
Homeowners may also want to consider buying a smart sprinkler system to prevent overwatering.