7 Spring Lawn Care Tips That Will Set Your Grass Up for Success

Heed our experts' advice, and the grass will finally be greener on your side of the fence this season.

As winter finally takes its leave and the first signs of spring crop up in our yards, many of us find ourselves getting ready to push up our sleeves and get to work outside. Not only is this a welcome change of pace after huddling indoors during colder weather, but it's also the perfect opportunity to set our lawns up for a perfect growing season while the temperatures are still cool. Here's how to tackle spring lawn care this year—and guarantee success for your turf all season long.

Tidy Your Landscape

First things first: Remove any debris that has accumulated on your lawn over the winter. Blustery winds cause dead, forgotten leaves to pile up, and your turf needs to be cleared before you can properly care for it, says Craig Elworthy, the founder of Lawnbright. "Branches, rocks, and other debris will quickly dull your mower blade and cause it to tear your grass," he says. After you tidy up, gently rake your lawn to open "the canopy," which promotes air flow over the soil. "This will also allow sunlight through and send the signal to your lawn that it's time to wake up from dormancy and start growing," he says.

Perform Maintenance on Lawn Equipment

Your lawn equipment hasn't been touched in several months, which is why some basic lawn mower maintenance is officially in order come the start of spring, says Elworthy. "Consider changing the oil, sharpening the blade, and cleaning the cutting deck," he says. Make sure to disconnect the fuel source before you get started to avoid accidentally starting the mower while you're working on it. "Better yet, take it to a small engine repair shop, and they can perform all of these tasks for you," Elworthy says.

beautiful lawn with flowers and gazebo

Wait to Mow

Just because you're experiencing slightly warmer weather doesn't mean your grass is quite ready for its first trim of the season.

Grass Height

You should generally wait until your grass hits the 3-inch mark before breaking out the mower, says Eddie Pundys, a yard work and removal Taskrabbit professional. "Make sure the grass is dry when mowing," he says, hinting at those April showers that spring is known for.

If you aren't sure whether you have 3 inches of growth yet, you can also assess your lawn's readiness via your lawnmower deck (the protective blade lip at the bottom of the machine that grazes over the grass), adds Elworthy. As long as the grass is a good 1/2 to 1 inch higher than that, you're ready to go. Just don't get too overzealous with that first mow: "You never want to cut more than a third of the grass while mowing," he says. "If you do, you'll weaken your lawn and invite disease. Wait until it's about 1 inch taller."


You should always wait until temperatures are consistently above 40 degrees, adds Pundys. This way, you can avoid shocking your freshly trimmed lawn when temperatures plumet.

Get Ready to Feed Your Lawn

While people who live in warmer climates normally feed and seed their lawns in the fall, those who live in the North can give their grass a boost before the mercury starts to climb, says Elworthy. "If you're in a cold-weather climate (so, if you own a snow shovel) you have two windows to use fertilizer—April through June and late August through October," he says. You should be done fertilizing before the weather gets too hot, or you'll run the risk of weakening your grass.

lawn tools for grass yard

Aerate and Dethatch

Homeowners should use the start of spring to aerate their lawns to relieve compaction. You should only need to do this every other year, depending on the condition of your lawn. "To check for soil compaction, stick a screwdriver into the soil up to 6 inches," says Elworthy. "If you need significant effort to do it, your soil is likely compacted and would benefit from an aeration."

Dethatching, on the other hand, is a twice-a-year task. "I usually recommend a de-thatch at the beginning of each spring and going into the fall, especially if you're planning on adding seed," Elworthy says.

(Realistically) Plan for the Season Ahead

While you might have plans to make your grass lawn greener than ever this year, it's important to remain realistic about the maintenance you can actually handle, says Pundys. "It's human to dream big, and we all want our yard to be beautiful, spacious, and diversified," he says. If your vision points toward a "complex yard," ask yourself how much time (or money) you are willing to invest on lawn upkeep, he explains. If your desired project is too big a lift, consider some low-maintenance turf alternatives—like clover lawns or xeriscaping—this spring instead.

Call in the Pros

If you're planning on using a lawn service for routine maintenance—or just want a little help getting started—early spring is the perfect time to do your research and get some quotes. "I do get booked for major yard clean-up projects that can take up to a whole day or even multiple days resulting in significant expense. Regular maintenance takes less time and keeps the yard in good shape at all times," says Pundys. So, if you're planning to hire someone, get them scheduled before everyone else in your neighborhood has the same idea.

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