7 Common Questions about Spring Lawn Care in Utah

If you’re tired of looking out your window at a dry and patchy lawn, follow the advice in this article to bring your lawn back to life this spring. This post will answer the following common questions about Utah lawns:

  1. When should I start watering my lawn in spring?
  2. When should I start mowing my lawn?
  3. When should I start fertilizing my lawn?
  4. How do I dethatch my lawn?
  5. When should I aerate my lawn?
  6. When should I overseed my lawn?
  7. When should I apply pre-emergent to my lawn?

When should I start watering my lawn in spring?

Start watering when your lawn starts to dry out after early spring rain subsides. Your lawn needs about 1–2 inches of water a week in the spring and 2–3 inches a week in the summer. You’ll know it’s time to turn on your sprinklers if it doesn’t rain or snow for about a week. Once you turn on your sprinklers for the season, you should measure the amount of water they provide by following these steps:

  1. Place a flat-bottomed container (like an empty tuna can) on your lawn
  2. Run one sprinkling cycle
  3. Measure the depth of the water with a ruler
  4. Multiply that by the number of times you run your sprinklers each week

In late spring, you should only need to water once a week. In summer, water deeply two or three times a week for long periods of time so your lawn can develop a strong root system. During periods when temperatures are consistently above 90 degrees, we recommend watering every other day for the best results.

Avoid over-watering your lawn! Lawns that get too much water become depleted of oxygen, causing the soil to compact and preventing roots from anchoring deep.
Watch our video for more helpful watering tips:


When should I start mowing my lawn?lawn mower mowing green grass

Wait until late spring to start mowing so your grass has time to recover from winter conditions. When you start mowing, try to keep your grass about 2–3 inches long in spring and 3–4 inches long in summer.

Keeping your grass longer in the summer will help keep your lawn’s root system cooler, which can result in a greener lawn. Lawns with longer, thicker grass are also more resistant to various insects, weeds, and lawn diseases.

Mow your lawn once or twice a week to prevent it from becoming too long (and difficult to cut). Try to avoid cutting your grass more than 1/3 of an inch at a time because it can damage the lawn. If your grass is long, cut 1/3 of an inch a day until your lawn is at the desired length.

When should I start fertilizing my lawn?

Start fertilizing your lawn in early spring after the snow melts. Because granular fertilizer takes longer to break down, it should be applied earlier and watered well to help it soak in.

In contrast, liquid fertilizer can be applied a little later because it works faster than granular mixtures. Other benefits of liquid fertilizer include the following:

  • A liquid approach allows for convenient mixing of fertilizer, grub control, and weed control.
  • Liquid fertilizer starts working almost as soon as it’s applied.
  • Controlling the rate of application is easier with a liquid solution.
  • Thoroughly treating the edges of the lawn is easier with liquid fertilizer.

How do I dethatch my lawn?

The layer of dead grass between the soil and the green grass of your lawn is called thatch. A little thatch (half an inch thick) can be good because it keeps moisture near the soil layer, but too much of it can suffocate the healthy, green grass layer above. If you have more than half an inch of thatch in your lawn, you may want to remove the excess by dethatching.

To dethatch your lawn, use a rake to gently remove the extra thatch. Wait to dethatch until the soil under your lawn has thawed out from winter weather—usually from mid-March to mid-April in Utah. If you dethatch too early, you may tear out healthy grass and expose the lawn to diseases.

Before dethatching, make sure your lawn needs it by taking a small core sample of the lawn and measuring the thickness of the thatch. A good alternative to traditional dethatching methods is to use an aeration machine to help remove excess thatch from your lawn.

When should I aerate my lawn?

Aerating your lawn can benefit the soil and root system. Aeration machines create holes in the turf, relieving compact soil and allowing nutrients to penetrate deeper. Other benefits of aeration include the following:

  • Removes excess thatch
  • Relieves compacted soil
  • Stimulates healthy new roots
  • Sends oxygen to the root zone
  • Helps fight lawn diseases like necrotic ring
  • Reduces water runoff
  • Promotes seed-to-soil contact

You can aerate your lawn in spring or fall. If you choose to aerate in spring, it will help jump-start the lawn so it can start receiving the nutrients it needs.

Be sure to clean the aeration machine before aerating your lawn because dirty aerators can spread lawn diseases like necrotic ring spot. For the best results, aeration should be paired with overseeding.

When should I overseed my lawn?

Because aeration opens up space for new growth in your lawn, the best time to overseed is directly after aerating your lawn. Overseeding thickens the lawn, which helps discourage weed grasses from growing.

If your lawn is aging—and starting to thin out and weaken as a result—overseeding will help revive your lawn. By adding fresh, new grass to your old lawn through overseeding, your lawn will begin to thicken and regrow in problem areas.

To overseed, evenly spread a grass seed mixture over your lawn after aerating.

As your lawn begins to grow back in the spring, you may notice dead spots. These are easy to fix: Simply flush the area with water, rake out the dead grass, level it with soil, and add grass seed.

When should I apply pre-emergent to my lawn?

Granular Pre-emergent

Pre-emergent prevents weeds from growing by killing seeds in the soil. To work properly, pre-emergent needs to be applied before seeds have a chance to start growing—usually in mid to late spring (depending on the plant).

Applying pre-emergent in mid-April through May will help prevent pesky summer weeds from growing, including crabgrass. Avoid applying pre-emergent too early—the chemical is generally effective for about 3 months after application.

Keep in mind that you should not apply pre-emergent if you choose to overseed in spring because the pre-emergent will kill the grass seed.


Want help with fertilization, weed control, and grub control in your lawn this year? Stewart’s lawn care program is for you! Call or text our office at 801-226-2261 for a free quote and answers to your lawn care questions.