9 Spring Lawn Care Tips for Richmond

close-up of Spring daffodils

Springtime in Richmond is unlike any other – from Maymont and the Botanical Garden to the Canal Walk and Belle Isle, all of our gorgeous green spaces start to bloom. When you start seeing crocuses peeking through your soil and tiny pink flowers on your redbud trees, you’ll probably be looking for some spring lawn care tips for your Richmond home.

Spring is the best time to get your yard ready for the high-intensity growing season, as well as to prepare your lawn for the hot summer heat. To start the season off right, follow our tips for spring lawn care in Richmond.

1. Spring cleaning

Before you start gardening, get out your rake to do a little spring cleaning in your yard. Spring is the perfect time to clean up all those leaves and debris that have been hidden under winter frost.

In addition to improving appearance, debris removal is key to making sure your lawn isn’t at risk of developing mushrooms or diseases.

2. Fire up the lawn mower

Spring is the season for mowing your lawn regularly to keep grass from getting too high and weeds from taking over. Always replace the gas in your mower before your first spring mow, and wait until grass has dried out from watering or wet weather before you mow it.

Follow the ⅓ rule for spring mowing, particularly if you’re overseeding this year. Never remove more than ⅓ of your grass’s leaf blade height per mow to make sure it stays healthy.

3. Check your soil

Did you know Virginia has an official soil that’s local to Richmond? While clay soil is common in the rest of the state, the James River basin creates Pamunkey soil here at home, a deep, fertile, and well-draining variety with layers of sandy and clay soil.

If you forgot to check your soil in the fall, spring is the perfect time to identify your soil type and test its pH levels, nutrient potential, and fertilizer needs.

In fact, the local library makes soil testing easy. At-home testing kits are available for free at Chesterfield County and Henrico County libraries, and can be sent directly to the Virginia Tech Soil Testing Lab.

4. Air things out

Months of piled-on frost and snow can be tough on a lawn, leading to compaction and stress. If you have a warm-season lawn with bermudagrass or Zoysiagrass, or if you’re worried that compaction is leading to weeds, start spring off right by aerating your yard to let it breathe.

5. Overseed if needed

If you’re noticing thin spots in your yard from planting cool-season grasses in the fall, spring may be a good time to overseed, or plant new seeds on top of your existing lawn. The best cool-season grasses for the Richmond area are tall fescue and hybrid bluegrasses. Apply seeds from multiple directions to avoid missing any spots.

Spring can be a tough time to plant new cool-season grasses in Virginia, but it’s possible to make the transition easier and keep your lawn thriving. Make sure spring seedlings are able to develop a healthy root system by following these tips:

  • Prepare your soil if necessary prior to planting
  • “Dilute” smaller seeds like Kentucky bluegrass with a dry carrier, such as sand or organic fertilizer
  • Don’t fertilize new grass again until after roots have developed
  • Water lightly and frequently

6. Fertilize wisely

Spring is a good time to fertilize the vegetables in your garden, but make sure you’re doing it correctly. Proper nutrient application is great for your plants, but too much fertilizer can damage roots and pollute Virginia’s waterways.

Tomatoes or potatoes can produce too many vines and not enough veggies if they’re overfertilized, while other plants need nutrient application every month. Keep plants with similar needs near each other in your yard, and remember that nitrogen fertilizer will have its greatest effect three or four weeks after application.

7. Improve irrigation

Get ahead of those April showers by taking some time in early spring to make sure your yard is irrigating properly. Use the tuna can test to gauge your automatic sprinkler system, and make sure you’re watering in the morning. This avoids the risk of your grass developing diseases overnight or drying out in the midday heat. 

Your lawn will thrive with about an inch or more of water per week in hot and dry weather. Unsure whether it’s time to get out the hose? Try the footprint test – in a thirsty lawn, footprints on your grass will make a lasting impression instead of springing back.

8. Prevent and treat diseases

Lawns in Virginia can be susceptible to dollar spot and brown patch, particularly in the spring. Environmental factors such as excess thatch and poor irrigation can encourage these fungal diseases to spread before signs start showing in the summer, so keep your yard healthy.

Preventative application of fungicide once evening temperatures are regularly above 60 degrees Fahrenheit can be helpful to keep brown patch from developing later on. Fungicide can also provide temporary relief from dollar spot while you treat your lawn, but don’t rely on it entirely, as Clarireedia jacksonii can quickly become resistant to chemical treatments.

9. Stop weeds in their tracks

When spring hits, just about everything in your yard starts to bloom … grass, flowers, trees, and (unfortunately) weeds. To prepare for the growing frenzy, apply a pre-emergent weed control to your yard to banish unwanted chickweed, dandelion, and crabgrass.

Planting new grass in the spring? Look for a “starter” herbicide containing siduron to make sure your seedlings can thrive while also keeping weeds away. Weeds can also be an indication of poor lawn health, so consider aeration or a soil check if you’ve been seeing a lot of them.

Start spring off right

A well-spent spring can make the intensity of summer a breeze for your lawn. By following these spring lawn care tips for Richmond, you’ll be able to kick back and watch the flowers bloom.

Feeling overwhelmed or unsure where to start? Not to worry! Our lawn care pros are just a call or click away.

Main Photo Credit: Johan Neven | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Annie Parnell

Originally from the Washington, D.C., area, Annie Parnell is a freelance writer and audio producer based in Richmond, Virginia. She is passionate about gardening, outdoor recreation, sustainability, and all things music and pop culture.