7 Tips to Prepare Your Lawn for Spring

March 22, 2023
Lawn mower mowing a lawn

Spring is just around the corner, and for many homeowners, that means it's time to get outside and start working on the lawn. Preparing your lawn can be a time-consuming task, but it's also incredibly important. After a long, cold, Michigan winter it’s essential that you take the time to do a thorough spring cleanup and the other things that are necessary to set your lawn up for a successful growing season. Today, we’re going to cover some of the essential steps to get your lawn ready for the warmer months. 


Michigan certainly sees its fair share of snow, and after a long winter and many months of snow being piled up on your lawn, your grass is probably looking a little worse for wear. One of the first steps in making it come alive again is to remove the top layer of dead grass and organic debris. This layer is often referred to as “thatch” and gently removing it with a rake is the best way to ensure your lawn will get the water and nutrients it needs. 

It’s important to know that some types of grass are more prone to thatch buildup than others, and a thin layer of thatch is actually beneficial as it serves as a layer of protection from temperature extremes in the same way that mulch does. However, more than ½ inch of thatch could cause more harm than good which is why it’s necessary to dethatch your lawn in early spring.   


The second step is to aerate your lawn. Aerating your lawn helps to break up hard soil and improve drainage, which can help create a healthier environment in which your grass can thrive. You can aerate your lawn yourself with a plug aerator or hire a professional to do it for you.

Some Michigan lawns have dry, compacted clay soil. If your lawn is one of them, skip the back-breaking work of trying to aerate your lawn yourself and call in someone with a lawn aerator to do it for you. While you’re at it, you might want to consider adding a top dressing of organic matter that will improve the consistency and drainage properties of your soil. 

Clean Up Debris

Cleaning up yard debris in the spring isn’t just a way to keep your yard looking nice; it’s also important for keeping pests away, ensuring your plants get the nutrients they need, and preventing flooding and other water damage. Dead leaves, grass, twigs, and other organic materials can block sunlight, air, and water from reaching the soil and can prevent plants from getting the nutrients they need to grow. Yard debris that has been allowed to pile up can create a breeding ground for pests such as mosquitoes and ticks. It can also clog drains and gutters and contribute to potential flooding or mold growth. 

Cleaning up yard debris in the spring is relatively easy. You can start by raking up leaves, twigs, and branches. If you have a leaf blower, use it to help speed up the process – just make sure not to blow debris into your neighbor’s yard. Once you’ve picked up the debris, dispose of it properly by either using some of it as mulch or compost or taking it to a landfill or recycling center.


When it comes to growing that perfectly plush, green lawn, most people think that applying fertilizer is key. And, although fertilizing is an essential step in your yard preparation, be careful not to apply too much and don’t apply it too soon. Use a high-quality fertilizer that is designed to meet the needs of your soil and the grass that is growing in it. Not sure what kind of soil you have? Consider having your soil tested before doing anything. Applying the wrong type of fertilizer can cause damage, limit growth, or at a minimum be a waste of money. 


When the days start to get longer and the temperatures are consistently above freezing, grass will start to look for water and nutrients so it can grow. However, knowing when and how much to water is key for a happy, healthy lawn. Watering frequency can depend on several things including turf species, soil type, weather conditions, and sun exposure, among other things. Most Michigan lawns will need approximately 05. To 1.0 inches of water per week for proper growth. 

Wondering when is the best time to water your lawn? According to Michigan State University, it’s best to water during daylight hours. That’s because watering at dusk or at night can promote certain fungal diseases that thrive in dark, warm, moist environments. A better option might be to water your lawn early in the morning when the sun is out but before the heat of the day sets in. Watering early in the day means you’ll have less water loss due to evaporation.   

Weed Control

Weeds can quickly take over your lawn if you don't take the proper steps to control them. The best way to control weeds before they even have a chance to start is to use a pre-emergent herbicide. Just don’t apply it too early – it’s important to wait to apply it until the soil temperature is at least in the 50s. This will help prevent weeds from germinating. Since there are many different types of pre-emergent herbicides and timing of application is key, consider consulting with a professional who can inform you on the best types and how to properly apply them to achieve maximum results. 


When it’s finally time for the first lawn mowing of the season, take care to do it correctly. Being too aggressive with your mowing and cutting your lawn too short can cause irreparable damage and encourage crabgrass to grow. The first step is to have your mower serviced so your blade is nice and sharp. Next, set your mower to a three to four-inch mowing height. Although this may be higher than what you’d like, it’s important to not cut it any shorter – at least for your first mowing of the season. 

Set Your Lawn Up For Success With the Help of Foundations Property Management

There’s a lot more to getting your lawn ready for spring than just turning on the sprinkler system. Get the expert guidance and help you need to ensure a lush, healthy lawn that will last through the summer. Call Foundations Property Management for professional lawn care services including spring clean-up, fertilization, lawn mowing, and more. We service homes and businesses in Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, and surrounding Washtenaw County communities.