You’ve probably heard this year after year during the endless spring thaw: Stay off your lawn. Yes, we’re antsy to get out there and get the green growing, but take your time. The University of Minnesota Extension gives the best reasons: “At this time of year, our lawns are spongy and wet as soils are thawing out and we get spring snow and rain. Walking on your lawn in such conditions will damage your grass and compact your soil.”
“Compacted soil means trouble for lawns. When soil packs down, roots can have a tough time growing deeply, making them weak and unable to survive the heat of summer. So stay off your lawn, and resist the urge to mow, dig, and weed until your lawn has had a chance to dry out.”
Once it has, Bailey Clifton-Simmons from Southview Design has these three tips for bringing your yard back to life.
Deep snow not only insulates the ground, but also creates gray snow mold (Typhula blight). Tackle snow mold by, ahem, letting the lawn dry out. Then gently rake the areas before applying any environmentally friendly fertilizer.
Do you have areas damaged by de-icers and snowplows? Remove dead grass and debris. Then put down some fresh soil and grass seed, or sod. Just add water.
Check For Animal Damage
Take a good look at your lawn, trees, and shrubs for animal damage. Snow provides excellent cover for rabbits and voles, which can wreak havoc on healthy plants and trees. Do any trees or shrubs need to be replaced? Or can you trim and save them?
Is your lawn full of vole tunnels and humps? Voles are especially busy in the spring. Discourage them with repellant (fox or coyote urine) or a mix of cayenne powder, garlic, onion, castor oil, a little nitrogen fertilizer, and ammonia. Almanac.com has a great article on dealing with voles in the yard.
Fix Drainage Issues
Do you see puddles where they shouldn’t be, like on your walkways or driveway? Start dealing with this problem now. Contact your favorite contractor to install drain tile and catch basins to direct the water away from pedestrian areas and toward your lawn and gardens.
For more advice on crabgrass control, sodding, seeding, and fertilizing your lawn, check out the Minnesota lawn care calendar from University of Minnesota Extension.