8 Spring Lawn Care Tasks You Need to Do Now

How to prepare your yard for spring so you can enjoy it more and work on it less.

Close up of grass blades covered in dew | Spring Lawn Care
Image: Art of Kendal

Temps might still be a long way from shorts and T-shirts, but if your soil is warming up, it's time to tackle your spring lawn care tasks. If you want a gorgeous yard with the least amount of hassle, start now.

#1 Seed Your Lawn

Before soil temps reach 65 degrees, spread grass seed over any bare or thin spots. The sooner the grass roots, the faster it can box out weeds. Or better yet, put down sod. It fights crabgrass and weeds better.

Related: Preparing Your Lawn for Spring: 5 Simple Steps

#2 Clean Out Debris

Gray, wooden fence with red heart in front of lawn debris

Your yard is waking up from a months-long slumber, and it's lookin' a little groggy, with branches, leftover leaves, and clumps of yard debris scattered around. Clean that unsightly gunk from your lawn and gardens after the overnight air temps consistently stay above freezing. (Before that, it actually helps protect your grass, like a toasty blanket.)

#3 Apply Fertilizer With Pre-Emergent Herbicide

Yellow forsythia against a wooden fence and blue sky

It sounds like an old gardeners' tale, but even master gardeners follow it: If the bright yellow forsythia bushes are beginning to bloom, it's time to apply a slow-release fertilizer with pre-emergent herbicide to fight crabgrass. Apply before the grass germinates — when the soil warms to about 55 degrees, which is when forsythia hits peak bloom.

#4 Plant Bare-Root Plants

Yellow, pink, and red snapdragons obscuring red barn

Once the soil in your garden is thawed and dry enough to crumble rather than clump in your hand, you can put your green thumb back in action outside. Cool-season growers like pansies, snapdragons, and bare-root trees and shrubs all get a boost from the cool, wet conditions.

#5 Wash Away Salt

Snow-lined sidewalk covered in salt | Spring Lawn Care Tasks
Image: @megrus

Most plants don't grow well if they're feeling salty (unless they're saline-tolerant, like daylilies). So once roadside soil has thawed, give your exposed plants a good watering to dilute any salt that sprayed up from slushy winter traffic.

#6 Prune and Fertilize

Overhead view of wheelbarrow and ladder beneath trees

As long as your soil crumbles instead of clumping (revealing it's sufficiently dry), it's time to prune fruit trees, shade trees, and summer-blooming shrubs, and remove old growth from perennials that you didn't prune in the fall. You'll also want to fertilize trees and shrubs before they begin their spring growth.

#7 Preorder Perennials

Assortment of pink and yellow perennials overflow in garden

Even if you can't plant them just yet, take advantage of the 10%-to-20%-off deals offered by many nurseries in early spring. Bonus: The early bird gets the best selection.

#8 Get Your Mower Ready

Close up of red lawn mower on lush green lawn

Once grass reaches 2.5 inches to 3.5 inches tall, it's time for your mower's annual maiden voyage. So prep now for a season of success, rather than stalling, wheezing, and cursing. Get an oil change, new spark plugs, and a clean air filter, and sharpen the blades to ensure a clean first cut.

Author photo of Amy Howell Hirt
Amy Howell Hirt

Amy Howell Hirt has written about home design for 13 years. Her work has been published by outlets including "The Home Depot," "USA Today," and Yahoo! Homes. She previously served as home and garden writer and columnist for "The Cincinnati Enquirer."