It's an exciting moment when you see the snow start to melt and green tufts of grass emerge from under the frozen bed of ice. Soon you'll be rolling out the grill, setting out the lawn chairs, and taking in the joys of summer.

It's also a sign that you'll soon be putting your snow blower into storage and getting your lawn mower and lawn tools out to take care of the yard.

But a beautiful yard doesn't just happen. Winter does a bit of damage to your yard, and you need to do a little work to get it back into shape. Basically, it's like your lawn has been asleep for a few months and needs a strong cup of coffee and a few stretches to get ready for the glorious spring and summer.

Here are five steps to do just that.

Clean up the debris

Once all the snow melts away, your lawn may look like an absolute mess. Spend an afternoon picking up the twigs and the scattered leaves. This can be messy work! Unlike the crisp leaves you raked up in the fall, much of what you'll have to remove will be dirty and half rotten.

While you do this, you also want to take special care to rake up the matted areas of your lawn. This helps dry out the grass and soil and can help prevent the spread of any snow mold that may have become active during the winter.

Stop weeds before they start

Don't wait for weeds to become a headache! Get a head start by applying crabgrass preventer to your lawn. Depending on the product you use, timing can be everything. In general, you want to apply this preventative fertilizer before the soil warms more than 55 or 60 degrees. If you do this, crabgrass, foxtails, oxalis and other unwanted weeds will have a much harder time taking over your lawn.


You may be a bit hesitant about putting on a pair of spiked shoes and slowly walking over your lawn to properly aerate it. But there are more effective ways to do this! Either a claw or a plug aerator are an effective way to aerate your lawn.

The reason it's so important to do this is because the holes in your lawn allow water and air to penetrate the soil and jump-start root development, which will lead to a fuller, healthier lawn.

Like applying crabgrass or weed preventer, it's important to aerate early. If you do it too late in the spring, the pocket will turn into troughs for weed seeds to land and take root in.

Reseed damaged patches

If you have big brown spots or areas of dead grass, dig it out and replace it with 2-3 compacted inches of topsoil. Seed that area with a variety of grass that matches the rest of your lawn. Sprinkle some lime over the seeded area, cover it with hay and water it frequently. In a few weeks you'll be on your way to forgetting that unsightly patch was ever there.

Fertilize and compost

You need to feed your lawn and give your grass the reserves it needs to power through the dry months. The easiest way to do this is to apply a fertilizer. A more ecological way would be to start composting and use that to feed your lawn.

If you begin early, you can admire your perfect carpet of green grass all summer long. With the right materials, tools and know-how, you can take the simple steps needed to make sure your lawn remains verdant and lush until the next snowfall.