As spring wears on, it seems like everything is springing to life. Flower bulbs are blooming, the birds are busy finishing their nests, trees suddenly have buds and leaves emerging, and our yards are starting to green up after a long winter.
Now is the time to give your yard a helping hand so that it's prepared to handle the heat once summer is in full swing. For grassy areas, you should rake to loosen up any thatch that built up over the winter. This gives new grass shoots a fighting chance as they are getting established. If your soil is compacted, you should go over your lawn with an aerator to loosen the soil. If you have acidic soil, spread some lime over your yard to bring the pH to a level where new grass can easily grow.
If there are any bare spots in your lawn, spring is a good time to seed those areas. If the grass is dead in that area, pull it up first. Fill in the area with clean top soil and rake it smooth. Spread grass seed over the soil and gently rake the seeds into the soil. It's a good idea to cover with straw to help maintain moisture as well as to prevent birds from stealing your seeds. Water regularly, but not too frequently - it's most beneficial to provide a deep watering of an inch or two of water once or twice a week. This allows the soil to soak up more water, promoting deeper root growth.
Once the grass has reached three or four inches it's time to mow. It's important not to cut your grass too short. Cutting too much of the grass blades removes nutrients the grass has been storing, weakening the grass. Short mowing also allows more sunlight to reach the soil, increasing the chances for weed growth. By keeping the grass taller, it shades the ground and allows the soil to retain more moisture.
One last tip: it's best to allow your grass clippings to remain on your lawn rather than bagging them. You should mow your lawn frequently enough that the clippings are short. That way, they'll be able to settle down close to the soil and decompose easily, providing healthy organic material for your growing grass.