While the fall is the best time to really get your yard going, there are some things you can do this spring to help it along.
First, just like any project you take on, know what you are dealing with. Experts over at the Virginia Cooperative Extension highly recommend getting your soil tested before you start on any yard project. By taking this step, you can pinpoint exactly what nutrients your lawn is lacking and get a plan of action for the fertilizers that will best suit your needs. You can pick up a soil test kit at the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District office or at a Fairfax County public library, and for a $10 fee, you can send it to the lab at Virginia Tech for testing.
Once you’ve got your soil results and know what your yard needs, it’s time to prep for fertilizing by raking and sowing. According to Merrifield Garden Center, it is best to clean up the yard before fertilizing. A good raking will do the trick, along with cleaning up any bare spots to provide a good surface for the fertilizer. Also make sure to trim dead branches from trees and bushes along with any that were damaged during the winter.
While the lawn is in transition and the temperatures aren’t scorching, take the time to deal with any emerging weeds. Go ground-to-trowel for those already surfacing, and use an herbicide to combat future growth.
Seed and Fertilize
When the yard is prepped, you want to do more research before spreading any seeds. Make sure you choose a grass that will work best for your yard’s conditions. LawnStarter offers timing tips depending on the type of grass you have. And you want to make sure whatever fertilizer you choose does not have negative effects on the Chesapeake Bay as the majority of the Northern Virginia area lies in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Once you pick a seed and fertilizer to move forward with, seed and fertilize in horizontal rows followed by another set of vertical rows to make sure you cover the entire area. Also apply crabgrass preventer and cover bare spots with a topper such as peat moss, topsoil or straw. You’ll want to frequently water the lawn to get the grass to germinate.
Take the time to get your lawn mower, weed whacker, trimmer and other lawn tools ready for the season. Just like a car, the lawn mower needs frequent tune-ups: oil changes, new spark plugs and the like.
And once you’ve put in the effort to get your lawn ready, just know that next year all of this hard work will pay off. The best weed preventer is a solid foundation of healthy grass, and you’ve just begun that process.