Spring Clean-Up: Early Spring Lawn Care

Home School Care & Maintenance

After another Alberta winter, temperatures are finally hitting double digits and the sun is shining - Spring has officially sprung! With the longer days and the warmer weather, it’s quite likely that you’ve been dreaming about getting outside and enjoying the benefits of a lush, green lawn. Unfortunately, winter takes a toll and when the snow melts, you’re left with some work to do if you want to turn those dreams into a reality. Here’s how to prepare your lawn in the spring so that you have a gorgeous green paradise to sink your toes into all summer long.


After a long Alberta winter, the beautiful green lawn you remember from last fall is now a mess of debris, thatch and even mold. At first glance, it may seem like your lawn is ruined. But there’s nothing to worry about; power raking will help to remove all of the unwanted remnants of winter, so your lawn can start fresh this spring! By pulling up all of the thatch and debris, you are able to expose your lawn to more sunlight and oxygen to help it recover from the winter. This step also makes it easier to identify particular spots of your lawn that may not have survived through the winter and now require special attention.

Raking is likely the last thing you did to your lawn last fall, so it is only fitting that it is the first thing you do in the spring!


Your lawn is a space that gets walked on, rolled over and has hundreds of pounds of snow and ice settle on it every year. Over time, it is likely going to get compacted from everything occurring on top of it. When your lawn becomes compacted, it becomes less receptive to water, fertilizer and oxygen. If you want your lawn to rebound from the winter, checking for compaction is a simple and critical step. Simply walk around your lawn and feel the ground. If your lawn is hard and it feels more like you’re walking on concrete, your soil has become compacted and it’s time to aerate your lawn.

Aeration removes small plugs of soil from your lawn; allowing space for more nutrients, oxygen and water to enter the soil and reach the roots of your grass. The extra space also allows your soil to re-settle, helping soften the ground and making your lawn more pleasant to spend time on. Aeration isn’t a necessity every year, but if your lawn is getting so hard that it is uncomfortable to walk on in your bare feet, it’s time to consider aerating.


Now that your lawn has been cleaned up, it’s time to help it grow! The first step in the growing process is overseeding your lawn. Overseeding involves spreading grass seed over your entire lawn; even the healthiest looking spots. This helps fill in the unhealthy areas, while thickening the other parts of your lawn for an even growth pattern. Overseeding should be done after the final snowfall of the year and after any of the preparation work such as power raking or aeration.


Now that your lawn has been tidied up, aerated and properly seeded, it’s time to fertilize! When your grass is hungry, it stops growing. Making sure it is fertilized with care ensures that it always has the important nutrients that it needs to help it grow. Fertilizing your lawn in the early spring will provide it with a little boost in the growing process. A second fertilization in the late spring ensures that it goes into the peak growing season of summer with the optimum nutrients to help it succeed.

Everyone knows that fertilizing is essential, but how do you know what fertilizer is right for your yard? When looking at fertilizer, there are three essential elements that are considered: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These three elements are each given a numeric value and are displayed on fertilizer bags in that order. In Alberta, it is recommended that you feed your lawn fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and low in phosphorus in the spring. This mix of nutrients will quickly stimulate your lawn’s growth; providing the desirable deep green colour and a thicker lawn.


The hard work is officially over! You have successfully removed the remnants of winter from your yard and prepared your lawn for the warmer weather under the sun. The last step is to make sure you water. Water helps deliver the nutrients from the fertilizer to your lawn. It also keeps your lawn hydrated and healthy.

In ordinary spring weather conditions, it is best to water your lawn once a week for a couple of hours. Giving the lawn a break between waterings allows air to circulate through the lawn to stimulate root development and improve drought tolerance.

While the sprinkler waters your lawn, take a moment to get your mower ready to go! Get it started and make sure it runs as well as last year. It’s also important to ensure that it has a sharp blade. Mowing with a dull blade does more harm than good as it damages your grass.

Caring for your lawn in the spring is well worth the time and effort. From the environmental benefits of pumping more oxygen back into the air and absorbing excess rain water, to the lifestyle benefits like having a space for kids to play or being able to enjoy a picnic in your own backyard; there is nothing like a lush, green lawn!