Frugal Spring Lawn Care Tips‏

Springtime always gets me excited about taking care of my lawn and seeing everything turn green. Here are a few frugal lawn care tips you can do yourself to get a great looking lawn.

  • Remove thatch – early in the spring removing dead thatch/debris with a rack allows the new germinating grass to grow and breathe.
  • Overseed – either in the fall or early spring overseed your lawn to help create a thicker lawn. This will prevent weeds from growing in your yard because they’ll be snuffed out by the thick lush turf.
  • Aerating – renting an aerator costs about $30-$50 per half day. Get a few neighbors to go in with you on renting one and you can aerate your yard for as little as $10. Aerating also allows the soil to breath better and creates pockets for your overseeding to germinate.
  • Sharpen your mower blade – sharpening your blade early in the spring will help ensure you have a nice clean-cut lawn. This will prevent the grass tips from being ripped and having a whitish/brown look to the top. I typically use a file to sharpen mine, which takes only 5 minutes.
  • Mow short early on – for the first couple of mows in the spring, this will help remove some of the thatch and debris to also help the grass breathe better later on. Typically I mow two times and about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches high. (Tip: Make sure you have a sharp blade so this won’t damage the grass early on!)
  • Apply a pre-emergent – applying a granular pre-emergent fertilizer between the end of March to the first week in May (depending on where you live) will give you 6 weeks of weed germination protection. Where I live crabgrass in the prominent weed and germinates during this time. I have to make sure I apply a pre-emerge if I don’t want any pesky crabgrass to appear in the middle of the summer. (Savings tip on buying pre-emerge: Typically a lot of hardware stores like Home Depot and Menards have their pre-emerge at 50-75% off in the fall. That is because nobody uses these fertilizers in the fall and they don’t want to carry this inventory over the winter. Usually, these are on sale in late August to early September).
  • Water less frequently, but larger amounts – During the spring the root development is key. In order to get the roots of your grass to go deeper (to help withstand the long hot summer days) water about 1/4″ to 1/2″ about twice a week.

Hope these tips help you save a few dollars and have a great looking lawn all year long. What tips do you have?

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  1. Great tip, Jared! I’ll have to keep that in mind for next year.

  2. Most pre-emergents are slow release (break down slowly), so the the chemicals remain on the lawn for weeks to months. Consider using non-toxic corn gluten for your pre-emergent/spring fertilizer, especially if you have kids or animals that spend time on the lawn.

    Corn gluten is definitely more pricey though. A couple tips for saving money: Try to buy it from a feed store. If the label says anything about weed prevention, the price goes up (royalties). Also consider just using it were you expect issues with weeds, and a natural fertilizer elsewhere. Areas with thick healthy grass that isn’t cut to short will be the least likely to support week growth.

    Finally, soil temperature 4″ below grade is the best indicator of when to apply pre-emergents. Applying significantly early or to late will reduce effectiveness.

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