Spring is an ideal time to topdress and aerate your lawn; two steps that can really improve your lawn. Topdressing is a process where you add a thin layer of compost or soil on the lawn surface to add organic material. This process is ideal for seeding as it makes a nice surface for grass to germinate. Instead of adding yards or truck loads of soil and starting from scratch, some lawns can be salvaged with just ¼ to ½ inch of topdressing. This process won’t bury existing healthy grass but fill in around it like water around an island, creating a great seeding surface. Another benefit of topdressing allows you to seed over any weed or crabgrass barrier which may have been recently applied since doing so into the soil would be futile; it just won’t work because the chemicals prevent seed germination.
Spring aeration and overseeding is an excellent process which can help thicken up a lawn, with or without utilizing topdressing. Aerate when soil moisture is good to enhance seed germination in the holes created by the machine. (a line about overseeding?)
Everyone has some degree of winter damage or bare spots from plowing or salt use over the winter. May and early June are ideal times to repair these often neglected areas of your lawn. Addressing these weak links will make the entire lawn look better during the summer. Left unchecked, bare spots will yield crabgrass and broadleaf weeds no matter how many times you spray. The solution lies with replacing open soil spaces with healthy turf grass. Perennial rye is a great grass to use in the spring because it germinates fast and is tough. Crabgrass is a fierce competitor so the sooner you get “good” grass to germinate; the better off your lawn is as summer approaches. No amount of spraying will suppress the inevitable weed infestation as bare soil heats up and fills in with fat crabgrass plants.
Take advantage of May and June’s cooler, wetter weather and get your lawn ready for summer before you leave for the beach this year!