The spring season is an important time for getting your lawn into top shape for the following months. What you do now in the spring by way of lawn care, will determine how well your lawn will cope with the wear and tear of day to day use, and also its ability to withstand drought or even water-logging during the summer months.
The First Cut
If you are just starting out with your lawn, then have a look also at our Autumn lawn care page.
When the spring season actually starts is more a combination of climatic conditions and general 'feel' about things than an actual date on the calendar! This is certainly true of lawns and lawn care maintenance.
If the grass is sodden or frosted - and it is certainly the former as I look outside at the moment (March 28 - 2008) - then stay off the lawn, don't cut the grass, and just read a few more pages of the web site.
The grass can often be a little on the ling side after a mild, wet winter, so the first task is to lightly mow off the top growth. DO NOT cut the grass too short. Most of the 'hard' work should have been carried out with the Autumn Lawn Care and maintenance tasks. Spring is NOT a good time for scarifying the lawn - as has been explained in the Autumn page.
Likewise, most books will tell you to start the spring lawn maintenance schedule by giving the lawn a good raking over. Not so. See below.
If the lawn is dry enough, then it would be good to start the spring maintenance with a light roll. All sorts of things happen to the lawn and the soil under it in winter months - often resulting in some of the grass being actually lifted slightly. A light roll, either with the roller on a mower or a purpose made roller will settle the grass down again. Not a heavy roller! Do not expect to be able to roll an uneven and bumpy lawn flat. It does not work.
The first task in the spring garden - once the lawn soil conditions allow - is to carry out the first cut. However long the grass has grown throughout the winter months - either by neglect or as a result of mild wet conditions - do not be tempted to mow the lawn too close. Set your mower to cut off about an inch (25mm) of grass. No more. Then exception for this would be if your lawn grasses have grown over 6in (15cm). This is normally neglect. In this case then rather more drastic action is required.
Subsequent cuts can be carried out from April onwards - preferably on a weekly basis, and lowering the cutting height of the lawn mower at every cut, until the desired height of grass is attained. Aim for grass around 1in (2.5cm) in height with normal use lawns. Leave a little longer under trees.
Once cutting is carried out on a regular basis, you will be able to ascertain whether or not you have a moss or a weed problem that needs to be treated. April is a good month in which to carry out treatment - just as everything starts into vigorous growth. If you don't have weeds or moss in your lawn, then DON'T use a weedkiller or Mosskiller!
Any areas of rough grass can be dug out at this time of year - before they take hold. If your lawn is basically all rough grass, then read Lawn Renovation.
Bare patches in the lawn can now be over-sown - providing the cause is firstly diagnosed. Use a general grass seed, unless you have a lawn that was sown with a fine mix.
April is a good time to start feeding your lawn in the lawn maintenance and care programme. A fine day, with damp soil under the lawn will be ideal. Read our tips on Lawn Feeding. Feeding - if necessary - can then be carried on right through until the hot weather (Please) starts. You might also consider a dressing of Lawn Sand - which is chemically treated to kill off moss. This is not the sand that is normally used for top dressing your lawn.
If your lawn has not been spiked and has hard compacted areas through regular use, children, or dogs, it would be a good time to carry out a little spiking of the lawn whilst still damp from the winter rains. This will help the drainage and allow air to get down to the roots of the grass to help vigorous growth. You should also put in diary for possible aeration of lawn in the Autumn.