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Prepping Your Lawn for Spring

Spring will be here before you know it: make this year a growth year (grass growth, that is) by taking a proactive approach to prepping your lawn for spring.

Spring begins in mid-March, and runs all the way through June. The intervening months can run the gamut of temperature and precipitation, and can do a number on your lawn if you aren't prepared. Three ways you can help give your lawn a stress-free spring are: soil testing, aeration, and reseeding.

Soil Testing

Soil testing involves taking samples from your lawn to determine what plant nutrients are present or lacking, acidity, pH level, and composition. This can help you decide what type of fertilizer is best for your lawn and how much you'll need. Southern States offers several do-it-yourself soil test kits that make this process convenient and hassle-free.


Once you've tested your soil and are more familiar with your lawn care needs, it's time to think about aeration. Aeration is the process of perforating the soil to allow nutrients, water, and air better access to the grass roots. This helps produce a healthier, more active lawn by encouraging roots to grow more deeply.

If you are unsure whether you need to aerate your lawn, here are a few things to consider:

  • Does your lawn get a lot of use? If it is a popular play area for kids and pets, all that traffic can compact the soil.
  • Was your home recently built? If so, construction traffic can also damage your lawn and lead to soil compaction.
  • Does your lawn feel spongy and dried out? This could indicate a problem with thatch, which is a layer of dead plant material, like grass clippings, that builds up between the living grass and the soil surface. It can build up during the winter, and while a layer of about half an inch thick can help protect your lawn, any more can stifle its growth.
  • Is your soil layered? (The soil test mentioned earlier can help you find out!) Finer soil layered over coarser soil can disrupt drainage and negatively affect root development.

As for when to aerate, the timing will depend on the area you live and the type of grass that makes up your lawn. For cool season grasses such as creeping bentgrass, Kentucky bluegrass, annual and perennial ryegrass, and several types of fescue, you will want to aerate in early spring. For warm season grasses like carpetgrass, bermudagrass, and Bahiagrass, late spring is the time to aerate. What type of grass you have depends on your location: the southeastern US states fall either in a zone for warm season grasses as you move farther south, or in a transition zone where both warm and cool season grasses may grow.


Reseeding, or overseeding, is the practice of spreading grass seed over an existing lawn to counteract natural thinning due to age and use. In addition to promoting a fuller lawn, reseeding helps crowd out weeds and can help your lawn weather the weather by making it more resistant to heat and drought. Some steps for proper reseeding are:

  • Before reseeding, make sure you've tested your soil and made any necessary corrections such as for bare spots, too much thatch, or compaction.
  • Mow your lawn a bit shorter than usual, at about two inches, and bag up the clippings so the new seeds have ample access to sunlight and soil.
  • Water more frequently for the first few days, then switch to heavier waterings every other day to prevent wilting and encourage healthy roots.
  • Limit activity on your lawn until the new grass has reached a mowing height.

With reseeding, it is important to think prevention, not correction. Don't wait until your lawn is already thinning to reseed; instead, reseed in late spring when your grass is entering a period of active growth.

Soil testing, aeration, and reseeding, along with regular lawn maintenance, can help your grass reach its full potential, and give you the lush, healthy lawn you've been dreaming of this spring.

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