Looking for the ultimate spring lawn care checklist? As the last bits of snow melt away and tiny green shoots start peeking through the soil, you may look at your lawn and feel overwhelmed. After months of dormancy, it likely has dead spots, matted grass, lingering leaves, and bare patches just waiting for weeds to take over. Getting your lawn back in shape can seem like a huge project – but it doesn’t have to be!

With this simple spring lawn care checklist, you’ll be ready to revive your yard and get it looking lush and healthy again in just a few weekends.

We’ll walk through this spring lawn care checklist to tackle at the very end of winter before active growth kicks into high gear in May. Follow these spring lawn care steps, and you’ll set your grass up for success all spring and summer long. No specialty tools or background knowledge needed!

Spring Lawn Care Steps: What You’ll Need

Before diving into the step-by-step spring lawn care checklist, make sure you have the necessary supplies and tools on hand. This will allow you to tackle each task efficiently (and ensure that you have everything you need for next spring as well!)

Here’s what you’ll need for these spring lawn care steps:

  • Rake – A steel fan rake with sharp tines works best to detangle matted grass and remove debris.
  • Lawn mower – Have a lawn mower in good working condition with freshly sharpened blades. This makes mowing less of a chore.
  • Weed preventer – A pre-emergent herbicide specifically formulated for lawns. This will stop weeds before they sprout.
  • Lawn fertilizer – Choose a balanced slow-release formula to nourish grass coming out of dormancy.
  • Compost/topsoil – For filling in bare patches and uneven areas. Make sure it’s high-quality.
  • Garden hose & spray nozzle – For watering in newly seeded areas if needed. Adjustable spray settings are most useful.

These basic items will get you started with our spring lawn care checklist. But they are not the only tools you will need. Depending on the specific needs of your lawn, you may also want to consider these additional options:

  • Aerator – For loosening compacted soil and allowing air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass.
  • Chainsaw – If you have overgrowth or invasive trees and shrubs that need removal, a chainsaw can help clear the path.
  • Edger – For creating clean and defined edges along driveways, sidewalks, and flower beds.
  • Pruning shears – For trimming back overgrown bushes or shrubs that may be encroaching on your lawn space.

Spring Lawn Care Step 1: Rake and Detangle the Lawn

First, you’ll want to go over your entire lawn with a steel rake. Depending on your location and climate, you may need to do this in the fall to remove dead leaves and debris or in the spring to prepare for new growth.

Though it’s intensive work, this first step serves several purposes:

  • It lifts matted grass and allows air circulation to reach the soil. Air circulation is critical for lush lawn growth.
  • It removes fallen leaves, sticks, and other debris that accumulated over winter. This material can suffocate and disease grass if left in place.
  • It disturbs crabgrass, dandelions, and other early emerging weeds. Disrupting them now gives your lawn a competitive edge.

Focus first on areas with heavy matting, as thatch buildup is hardest on grass plants. 

Rake vigorously but carefully to stand upright any matted blades without pulling them out from the roots.

Make straight passes across each section of the lawn, gathering debris into piles as you go. This routine raking sets the stage for every other task in your spring lawn care checklist. So don’t skip it!

Spring Lawn Care Step 2: Mow at the Right Height

The second step is to mow your lawn at the proper height for your grass type. Cutting too short stresses the grass and allows weeds to invade. Here are the best heights:

  • Fescue and other cool-season grasses: Maintain at 3 inches
  • Zoysia and Bermuda (warm-season grasses): Maintain at 1 1⁄2 – 2 inches

After dethatching with the rake, your lawn will be shaggy, so start by mowing it down with your sharpened mower blades. Set the height correctly and bag clippings the first time to remove accumulated material. Then, maintain with mulching mower set to the ideal height.

Proper mowing height helps your lawn choke out weeds and makes it more heat, drought, and traffic tolerant through spring and summer. Don’t forget to weed whack tall grasses, fence lines, and around trees and garden beds.

Spring Lawn Care Step 3: Apply Weed Preventer

Early spring is prime time for stopping weeds with pre-emergent herbicides before they sprout. These weed preventers form an invisible barrier, blocking seed germination. But they won’t affect already growing plants.

Use a natural corn gluten-based product if reseeding grass. Or a synthetic preventer containing chemicals like Prodiamine if not overseeding. Always follow application guidelines carefully based on your lawn size. Reapply every 6-8 weeks, depending on formulation and watering schedule.

Weed preventer locks your lawn into weed-free mode for the next 10-12 weeks. Having this barrier in place early means less work battling established weeds later! Time this application right before major germination kicks into gear.

Spring Lawn Care Step 4: Fertilize For Healthy Growth

Early spring feeding gives your lawn a boost of nutrients for vigorous growth after being dormant all winter. Look for fertilizers labeled as “spring lawn food,” or use a balanced all-purpose formula. An organic, slow-release product will provide steady nitrogen without excessive top growth prone to disease.

Apply fertilizer after mowing and before expected spring rains according to package rates. This allows the nutrients to feed the soil and roots. Then, water deeply if rainfall doesn’t occur within a week of fertilizing to move nutrients down into the root zone. This fuels rapid green-up.

Fertilizing is key for increasing density and crowding out spring weeds. It strengthens grass to better handle summer stresses, too. Just don’t overdo it with excessive nitrogen, which causes foliar growth to be vulnerable to insects and fungi. Measure carefully!

Spring Lawn Care Step 5: Patch Bare Spots

Finally, fill any remaining bare or thin areas with high-quality compost, soil amendment, or topsoil. These are prime locations for weeds like crabgrass to otherwise take over.

First, loosen the top 1⁄2 inch of soil, then scatter your compost/soil blend, feathering the edges into the surrounding turf. Rake lightly and water gently by hand to moisten without erosion. As nearby grass spreads over several weeks, you’ll see seamless infill.

This is also the right time to overseed larger bare patches before expected final frosts. Use the best quality grass seed suited to sun/shade needs. Water gently 2-3 times daily in short 5-minute sessions to establish.

Additional Spring Lawn Care Checklist

Once you’ve tackled the five key steps for rebooting your lawn for spring, here are some quick tips for keeping the rest of your yard beautiful as warmer temperatures arrive.

  • Prune overgrown trees and shrubs – Remove dead branches and shape overgrown plants before new growth emerges.
  • Edge along beds and borders – Crisp edges keep mulch contained and give a neat appearance.
  • Weed and mulch beds – Pull or trim early sprouting weeds and replenish fresh cedar mulch to suppress future weeds.
  • Inspect irrigation system – Check for and repair winter damage before relying on sprinklers season-long.
  • Sharpen mower blade for cleaner cut – A sharp mower prevents torn leaf blades prone to disease.
  • Adjust mowing height for the season – Raise warm-season grass height up as temps increase.
  • Aerate compacted areas – Punch holes to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate dense soil.

Staying on top of these extra maintenance items prevents little problems from becoming huge headaches later on down the road! Keep your spring landscaping checklist handy to make summer enjoyment that much sweeter in your healthy yard!

Get Your Spring Lawn Care Items at River East Power Equipment

Now that you know the five critical steps for rebooting your lawn this spring, it’s time to gather the necessary tools and products. Luckily, our power equipment dealership has everything on hand for your spring lawn care checklist!

Stop by River East Power Equipment in East Hartford, CT, to shop our wide selection of rakes, mowers, weed preventers, fertilizers, grass seed, and more. We carry top brands like Gravely, Ariens, Echo, and STIHL – known for their quality and reliability.

Our experienced staff will help find just what you need for DIY spring lawn success. We offer pickup and delivery options plus financing plans to make upgrading easy. And you’ll have confidence knowing we service and repair all equipment we sell. Don’t let spring sneaking up on you cause panic! Visit River East Power Equipment today to get stocked up on the essentials, from mowers to fertilizers. Then relax, knowing you have the best tools for tackling your spring lawn reboot.