Preparing your lawn for spring

At this time of year lawns and soils are cold and sometimes wet and the weather does not encourage gardening, says David Hedges-Gower. However, some pests are still active, busily chomping away at your roots and the changeable weather climate can create unexpected problems.

David suggests that some diligence and a few hours hard work now can make all the difference for your lawn in the year ahead.

So, thatching, mowing and aeration are the names of the game at this time of year:


Right at the beginning of the season is a good time to take a thatch measurement. This will give you advance warning of possible problems if it gets out of control further into the growing season (preventative scarification is much simpler and better for your lawn).


Try to give your lawn a light top-off once each month. This stops the lawn getting too leggy and will help the grass to dry out a bit better.


If the weather is moist, but not too wet or frozen, this is a good time to hollow-tine aerate your lawn. For a small lawn, use a hollow-tine aerating fork and for a larger one use or hire a pedestrian machine. It is best to remove the cores from the surface.

You could also do some very thin pencil tining and some slitting (if you are a real enthusiast) but remember that this should be done regularly and in conjunction with the hollow-tine aeration.

David has some excellent advice on lawn care in his ‘Modern Lawn Care’ book (pictured left) – you can find details and how to order here.

David is based in Devon and has more than 36 years of lawn and turf experience. He is a regular on BBC Radio and an RHS lecturer and National Trust advisor.