How to Prepare Your Lawn & Garden for Spring

Posted by Anida Leeds

When winter is finally over, which means it’s time to put away the snow shovels and start thinking about spring projects, such as your lawn. These spring cleanup tips will prepare your garden and yard for spring and the heat of summer to come. You will promote plant growth by adding organic matter to your garden soil; plant roots will begin to eat up all natural materials when the soil temperatures start to rise.

Winter weather can leave your grass, shrubs, and trees weak and hungry, especially after months of lying dormant under a blanket of ice and snow. If you want them to come back fuller and lusher than ever, follow these simple steps and suggestions.

Spring Cleanup - Wheelbarrow and branches.

Start your engines

Much like cars, lawnmowers will stop working without routine maintenance. If you haven’t already done so in the fall, replace the mower’s oil and gas with the types recommended in your mower’s instruction manual.

Early spring late winter would also be an excellent time to replace that corroded spark plug and dirty air filter. Add a fuel stabilizer to keep the gas from going stale and harming the mower’s engine.

A dull mower blade makes your grass more susceptible to disease with each rough cut it makes, so sharpen the edge with a metal file when it starts to get dull. Clean your mower often to improve performance and prevent corrosion if you own a riding mower, air up the tires for an even cut and comfortable ride.

Do some cleaning.

The first step to prepping your lawn for spring is to clean up the leaves, twigs and other debris that have gathered over the winter. Rakes work, but air blowers are even more comfortable. Debris can get stuck in your lawn mower, and it will block fertilizers and other materials from being properly absorbed by the lawn.

Trim the trees.

It’s hard to tell if a tree has dead branches unless you get up into it. If dead branches are left untended, they can fall, causing property damage and potential injury. Consider hiring a tree trimmer to do a “safety prune” once every three years — ideally before the leaves come out, when it’s easier to see the condition of the branches.


Raking will be your first task of spring lawn care. You're likely saying, "But we already raked leaves in the fall!" Sorry, but raking is for more than just removing leaves: it's for controlling thatch, too. A thatch build-up of more than 1/2 inch is considered excessive.

When thatching it is recommended, when you rake leaves in the fall, you make an effort to scrape deeply. Don't just skim the surface so as merely to remove the leaves. A deep raking will remove thatch, too, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone. Even if you followed this advice in fall, we recommend a spring raking as it will remove grass blades that died over the winter -- dead edges that are just waiting to become thatch.

But there's often another good reason for a spring raking. As you survey your lawn in spring, see if there are any matted patches, in which the grass blades are all stuck together. A disease is known as "snow mold" is when grass blades that are all attached. New grass may have difficulty penetrating these matted patches. But raking will be sufficient to solve this problem.

Raking your lawn of leaves and sticks will promote growth and a fuller lawn.


Lawns can be fertilized organically by using compost and mulching mowers. But for those who prefer chemical fertilizers, you can find a schedule for fertilizing lawns available online. Many experts, however, recommend a lighter feeding in spring and a heavier one in late fall for the types of lawn grasses known as "cool-season grasses." Too much fertilizer in spring can lead to disease and weed problems. And if you have, indeed, already fertilized in late fall, your lawn is still "digesting" that fertilizer in spring.

For those who prefer weed-free lawns, spring grass care is as much about weed prevention as it is about fostering healthy lawn growth. Novices are often surprised to learn that not all lawn weeds battle in the same manner. Depending upon whether a weed is an annual or perennial, you will use a preemergent herbicide or a post-emergent herbicide against it (although landscapers commonly use both preemergent and post-emergent crabgrass killers -- an indication of how tough that weed is to battle).


Start the season off right by mowing more often, on a higher setting, and in alternating directions. Inspect your sprinklers and pipes for possible breakage — a patch of damp soil or an excessive water bill would be your first clue. If your lawn seems to let into the surrounding landscaping, start edging now to define your boundaries.

A string trimmer is excellent for maintenance, but cutting through the dirt with it could get messy. Either rent an edger or purchase a handheld half-moon tool to make broad, clean cuts that persist through the year for easier mowing and trimming.

Final Tip

Attract birds to your garden. A single chickadee can consume up to 1,000 bad bugs a day. Include a birdbath as well as seed- and fruit-bearing plants, like sunflower, echinacea, cotoneaster, honeysuckle, viburnum, aster, salvia, and zinnia. Vegetable gardens can be started indoors at this time, use organic materials and other soil amendments in this pre-emergent stage. A rule of thumb on planting your new garden bed full of your sprouts of vegetables is to wait until after Mothers Day. When to plant your garden all depends on your geographical location and your soil type.

We hope you enjoyed our article and if you know someone that would benefit from this information, please feel free to share. Have a Beautiful Spring Season.

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