The two words seem innocent enough by themselves. Spring. Cleaning. No biggie, right? The words combine to form something greater than the individual parts, transforming into a phrase guaranteed to induce groans and sighs from homeowners nationwide.

While most of us think of dusting, vacuuming and beating draperies with tennis rackets when someone uses the two dreaded words, your home’s interior isn’t the only area that needs a little TLC after a long, cold winter. Yep, you need to focus some of that picking-up power on your lawn, too.

Don’t worry, it’s not that bad! Preparing your lawn for the year isn’t nearly as strenuous – or boring – as giving your home a thorough once-over. You can clean and de-winter your lawn in a single afternoon, and if you play your cards right, you might even be able to use it as an excuse to get out of some of the housecleaning.

First off, you don’t want to do anything until most or all of the snow melts away and the ground dries out a bit. Walking on wet, sloppy ground only serves to compact the soil particles underfoot, making it more difficult for your lawn to grow later on. It gets your shoes dirty, too. So stay off your lawn until it stops looking so moist.

When you can walk in your yard without leaving deep, damp footprints, it’s time to get to work. Start your spring shake-down by looking for any straggling snow piles. Spread the snow out into a thin layer so that it disintegrates quickly or shovel it off the lawn entirely. Either way, be careful to avoid driving the tip of your shovel into the soggy soil underneath the pile.

Next, you’re going to want to pick up any debris that showed up over the winter. My yard always seems to fall prey to the “three T’s” – toys, trash, and tree branches. Gather it up and get it off your lawn! Grass can’t grow buried underneath stuff.

The last bit of spring cleaning you need to do probably mirrors your final fall lawn task of the year – raking. I can hear the groans from here – raking? In the spring? Raking stinks!

Yeah, it does. But raking one last time in the spring picks up any leaves you may have missed in the fall. Wet leaves that have been soaking all winter and act as a hotbed of bacterial and fungal activity. Those baby fungi grow up into adult fungi and look to move out on their own, and your growing lawn’s an awfully inviting apartment – if you don’t remove the wet leaves, that is. Raking also helps to remove some of the thatch buildup in your lawn and spreads out damp, matted grass. Now your Spring cleaning is done!

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