Those of us with large properties know that spring cleaning isn’t just for the closets and cupboards – it’s for your lawn, too. Winter leaves behind all kinds of debris, from sticks and dead leaves to trash and gravel. So when the weather warms up and it’s the season for working outside, here are 10 great tips for spring lawn clean-up:
1. Wait for dry conditions.
However you clean up your lawn – with a lawn vacuum, rake, or other method – the whole process will be easier and faster if you wait for dry conditions. Moisture makes debris stick together in heavy clumps, making your job harder than it needs to be.
2. Clear large debris first.
If you’re using a DR Leaf and Lawn Vac for cleaning your lawn, you’ll want to clear away anything that’s too large for it to pick up. While pine cones, gum tree balls, nuts, and small sticks will be picked up without a problem, large branches should be cleared away beforehand.
If you’re raking, be sure to get right up close to trees, shrubs, hedges, and fully clean out flower beds. If using a leaf vac, we recommend the Vacuum Hose, which attaches easily to your machine and allows you to vacuum hard-to-reach spots. Debris left in flowerbeds and around shrubs can stunt growth and foster disease.
4. Tidy hard surfaces.
Walkways, driveways, trails, and other non-lawn surfaces need some spring cleaning, too! Vacuum debris from walkways and trails and rake displaced gravel back on to driveways and roads.
5. Don’t forget window wells!
While you’re vacuuming the lawn, clean out window wells and other nooks and crannies around the house. The result will be better-looking and you won’t worry about mold or other disease festering so close to your foundation.
6. Get rid of thatch build-up.
Thatch is dead grass blades and other small weeds that collect on top of the soil, at the base of the living grass blades. If the build-up gets thick enough, it can choke your lawn by restricting the flow or air and water to the soil. Spring is a perfect time to remove thatch for the summer growing season. Depending on how much thatch build-up you have, a leaf vacuum may be all you need to clear it. For particularly thick build-up, a rake or dethatcher may be required.
7. Clear snow mold.
Snow mold often appears on your lawn after the winter if leaves or other debris is left on the grass before winter hits. Usually it looks like dry, brown patches of matted dead grass, and may have a pinkish hue. The best way to get rid of it is to gently loosen it with a rake, then vacuum up the dead debris with your lawn vac.
8. Compost it!
After you’ve finished cleaning the lawn, compost the waste material! Once it’s broken down, it will be a great way to improve your soil structure and return vital nutrients to your garden. For larger waste, consider shredding it to a fine mulch with a chipper/shredder. Luckily, if you’ve used the DR Leaf and Lawn Vac, your leftovers will already be shredded to an easy-to-decompose mulch.
Virtually everywhere in the US, and particularly in the wettest regions, lawns can easily become dotted with lawn mushrooms. These pests are not only unbecoming to an otherwise pristine lawn, but can be very harmful to children and pets because eating them is, in most cases, extremely toxic.
You can’t keep mushroom spores from flying into your yard from other places, but you can create an environment where they won’t want to grow. They will thrive in lawns that are damp, lacking in sunlight, and have a lot of organic matter decomposing in the soil. When they do appear, simply removing the visible part of the mushroom, unfortunately, does not kill it completely. It leaves the underground mycelia, which will continue to produce more above ground mushrooms. The best way to prevent them, then, is to ensure that your lawn is an inhospitable environment for fungi. Here are three smart tactics for preventing lawn mushrooms:
1. Aerate your lawn.
When you aerate your lawn, you allow water that would normally sit above the ground to sink deep into the soil, accessing the roots of the fescues. This is not only great for your lawn (more water = greener, healthier grass), but also a great way to prevent mushrooms, which thrive in wet, stagnant conditions.
Because fungi like places that are damp, dark, and stagnant, they can thrive under the leaves and other yard debris that cover your lawn every autumn. Especially if that layer of leaves is allowed to sit and fester over the winter, the chance of mushrooms popping up next spring or summer rises significantly. To prevent them, be sure to remove all of the leaf cover before winter, especially if your locale gets a lot of rain. A leaf vacuum is by far the easiest way to achieve this, particularly for large properties. And unlike raking, leaf vacuums create suction that helps to dry the above ground portion of the lawn, further helping prevent lawn mushrooms.
3. Pluck ’em when you see ’em.
Each mushroom on your lawn has the capacity to spread its spores far and wide, producing even more mushrooms. While removing the above ground portion of the mushroom doesn’t solve the problem, it does help keep those spores from spreading. So when you see them, remove lawn mushrooms and dispose of them to keep the spores from spreading even more.