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GardenSMART :: 6 Ways to Prep Your Lawn for Spring

6 Ways to Prep Your Lawn for Spring

By John Deere
Photograph courtesy of John Deere

The winter months can be a tough time for lawns – dull mower blades and harsh weather can leave lawns lackluster and homeowners unprepared for the spring.

If your region experienced severe weather this winter, your lawn may need some extra TLC when gearing up for spring. Test your turf to see if it survived the winter by tugging on the brown areas; if the grass comes up easily, the roots likely failed and the grass is dead.

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But there is hope! Here are five tips from John Deere on how to prepare and revitalize your lawn for spring:

  1. Bring it back to life. Take the first step in revitalizing your lawn by cutting around the brown areas with a spade, then pulling out the dead patch. Consider purchasing sod, or reseed the area after soil temperatures reach 50-65 degrees. Water the seeds daily until the grass grows at least 3 inches before mowing in that area.
  2. Mow if it grows. When your lawn starts growing, you should start mowing, but hold off if there is frost on the lawn. Mowing when frost is on the turf can damage the turf blades.
  3. A rule of [green] thumb. Remove only about 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow. If you cut too much at one time, the long clippings can cause stress on the grass, inhibiting healthy growth. The new residential ZTrak zero-turn mowers feature Accel Deep Mower Decks, available in 42", 48" and 54", which help maintain excellent cut quality at faster mowing speeds. Mowing on the high side encourages roots to grow deeper into the soil, absorbing water from the insulated soil.
  4. Stay sharp. A dull mower blade will shred grass blades resulting in a poor quality of cut and potentially creating entryways for disease. Keep the mower blade sharp for the best cut and to help promote healthy turf. Also, be sure the blade is balanced to produce an even cut.
  5. Water in the morning. Water in the early morning so your lawn isn't damp for long periods, but the sun isn't high enough to evaporate the water before it penetrates the soil. Grass left wet overnight, or for long periods of time, can encourage fungal diseases that cause discoloration.
  6. If the timing is right, fertilize. The right time to fertilize depends on your type of grass. Broadly speaking, cool season turf should typically be fertilized in the fall and early spring. Warm season turf should be fertilized in the late spring and summer. In spring, a good barometer for when to fertilize cool-season turf is the forsythia plant – when you see those yellow blooms, the ground is typically warm enough to apply fertilizer and have it be absorbed by the turf plants.

As we countdown to March 20, be sure to tune up your mower by tightening all nuts and bolts and checking tire pressure, brakes and belts. Replace any damaged or missing parts, including spark plugs. Visit your dealer for a service inspection to make sure your mower is ready to hit the ground running without the fear of breakdowns.

Is it time for a new mower? John Deere offers a tool that allows you to compare various residential mowers, tractors and other vehicles to evaluate what equipment best suit your lawn care needs.

For more information, visit



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