Utah lawns can be difficult to manage, and many people have questions about how to care for their lawn come springtime. Start your lawn’s year off right by checking out our answers to these questions:
- When should I start watering my lawn in spring, and how much should I water it?
- When should I start mowing my lawn, and how short should I cut it?
- When should I start fertilizing my lawn in spring?
- What is thatch, and how do I dethatch my lawn?
- When, how, and why should I aerate my lawn?
- When and why should I overseed my lawn?
- When should I apply pre-emergent to my lawn in spring?
Start watering in mid to late spring, when your lawn starts to dry out following heavy early-spring rain.
Water deeply and less often for the best results; your lawn should be getting about 1.5–2 inches of water a week in the spring and fall and 2.5–3 inches a week in the summer. We recommend watering every other day for the best results.
Follow these steps to test how much water your lawn is getting from your sprinkler system:
- Place a clear, flat-bottomed container on your lawn
- Run one sprinkling cycle
- Measure the height of the water with a ruler
- Multiply that by the number of times you run your sprinklers each week
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:
Start mowing your lawn from mid to late spring so your grass has time to recover from winter conditions. Grass should be cut about 2–3 inches long in spring and 3–4 inches long in summer.
Keeping your grass longer in the summer will give you a cooler, healthier root system, resulting in a greener lawn. Lawns with longer, thicker grass are also more resistant to various insects, weeds, and lawn diseases.
Mow your lawn a couple of times 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 really long, cut 1/3 of an inch a day until your lawn is at the desired length.
Start fertilizing your lawn in early spring after the snow melts (between February and April). Granular fertilizer should be applied earlier so it has time to break down. Because granular fertilizer takes longer to break down, be sure to water well after using a granular fertilizer 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, lawn pesticides, and weed control chemicals
- Liquid fertilizer starts working almost as soon as it’s applied
- Controlling the amount (or rate) of application is easier with a liquid solution
- Thoroughly treating the edges of the lawn is easier with liquid fertilizer
The layer of dead grass between the soil and the green grass of your lawn is called thatch. A little thatch can be good because it helps fertilize your grass, 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 sturdy 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. By dethatching too early, you may tear out healthy grass and soil and expose the grass to diseases.
A good alternative to traditional dethatching methods is to use an aeration machine to help remove excess thatch from your lawn.
Aerating your lawn can benefit the soil and root system. Aeration machines create holes in the soil, relieving compact soil and allowing nutrients to penetrate deeper. Aeration has many benefits:
- 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
Aerate your lawn in spring 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 and fungi. Aeration works better if you water your lawn 24 hours before aerating. For the best results, aeration should be paired with overseeding.
Because aeration opens up space for new growth in your lawn, the best time to overseed is directly after aerating your lawn. Overseeding allows your lawn to grow thick and strong, 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 bare problem areas.
To overseed, evenly spread a grass seed mixture over your lawn after aerating.
Pre-emergent prevents weeds from growing by killing seeds under the soil. To work properly, pre-emergent solutions need to be applied before seeds have a chance to start growing—usually in mid or 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. If applied too early, the chemical may lose its effectiveness during the heat of the summer weed season.
Do you need help with your lawn this spring? Give us a call at 801-226-2261 for a free quote and answers to your lawn care questions.