Hot Topics: The Bare Minimum of Spring Lawn Care

A man seeding a lawn with a yellow cart.

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Sometimes, all it takes to feel satisfied with a DIY project is to know that doing the bare minimum is enough. Case in point: lawn care. While there are plenty of homeowners out there who love every aspect of nurturing and maintaining the lushest lawn on the block, this reader wants to know if overseeding his lawn full of clover and crabgrass is enough to get by this spring season.

Original Post: What to Do to Lawn Now That Spring Is Here


I'm not huge into my lawn other than cutting it, and am wondering if there's anything I can or should be doing now that the weather is getting a little warmer here in Maine.

It does have a lot of crabgrass in the front near the sidewalk and, of course, having a big old blue spruce on the front lawn doesn't help, either. It's not a terrible lawn. I think of it more as a natural lawn and I kind of like all the dandelions and clovers and stuff that grow on it during the summer.

What's the least that I can do? I don't want to spend a lot of money on it. For now, I raked all the fallen branches and stuff from winter off of it although I have a little more to do. There's also a lot of sand in the front near the sidewalk which I plan to rake out as best I can into the sidewalk and then sweep it up.

Can I do some fertilizing or put lime or something on it?

When should I start cutting it? It's not even growing yet, I don't think, and it's really dead looking.

stickshift Group Moderator

Sounds like you're already doing the least. Fertilizer won't do much if you're not watering when it needs it. Lime is applied only when a soil test tells you it's needed.

I'd start with a preemergent herbicide for the crabgrass and some weed killer for the dandelions so you don't get off to a bad start with your neighbors.

chandler Forum Topic Moderator

Your growing season is still a little ways off up north. I cut my grass last Saturday, and it probably won't need it until next Saturday. As it gets warmer, it's every week, or bush hog time. I lime in February before the green starts up. It helps neutralize the soil, and weeds hate neutral soil.

aka Pedro Member

Check with your local nursery to see if they take soil samples. (We are in a rural community, so we deal with mills in each of the towns on either side of us. They work with the local flower clubs who forward soil samples to Michigan State University, who in turn mail a very comprehensive analysis back to us. This is all at no charge, aside from any voluntary donation.) This way, you at least know if you should add lime or anything else. I do not water our lawn, but do have success with a two-step process of weed and feed in the spring and fall. It keeps the weeds in check in the areas where I apply it, but does take a bit of patience along with an eye on the forecast in order to a) spread it when the weeds are damp enough for the weed killer to stick, but won't get immediately washed off and b) so that enough rain is expected in order get the fertilizer into the ground without burning everything.

Marq1 Member

Dude, you are running out of time. MI time for preemergent herbicide was several weeks ago so you need to do that now. Let that play untill June, then get with the weed and feed, then an application in late July, then in early September. Then, after a year you will be asking for help with the constant cutting.


I'm not putting chemicals on my lawn—no thanks. I'll take the crabgrass. It's only in the corners anyway and it looks nice 'cause it fills in the bare area.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

My yard doesn't really have much soil to grow in, so I don't use weed and feed because if I get rid of most of the weeds I won't have a lawn. You could plant clover as it adds nitrogen to the soil. Not sure what else can be done without chemicals—maybe work in some manure, but most won't care for the odor.


Would it hurt to add grass seed? Is there some type of dirt that you add on top of the seed and then rake it smooth? I guess it's called overseeding?

Actually, today is 4-19-17 and I don't believe the grass is growing yet here in Maine. At least, it doesn't look like it. Yesterday was 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

stickshift Group Moderator

It sounds like you may have time left. It would not hurt to add grass seed, but don't bury it deep—if you need to add soil, I would do that first and then rake seed lightly in afterward.