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Time For A Wake-Up Call: March And Your Yard

A man aerates his lawn with a lawn aerator.

It’s that time of year when the world seems to shake off its winter slumber, and for gardens and backyards, March is a crucial transition period. Waking up your yard in March is more than the physical work; it involves plenty of strategy to ensure your yard gets everything it needs when it needs it. With this guide, you’ll be able to see why each step is necessary to have your yard thrive, whether you’re taking care of your yard yourself or your entrusting it to lawn care pros who do this every year.

Dormant Oil: Protecting Your Plants

Your plants aren’t the only thing sleepily waking up as spring comes around. Pests often overwinter in trees and shrubs when it gets too cold for them to be out and about, and fungal infections can lurk beneath the snow. That’s why dormant oil is an essential part of a March routine.

Dormant oil isn’t necessarily a special oil; often they’re just mineral oil mixed with an emulsifier so they can mix easily with water. What sets it apart is that this oil is sprayed to trees and shrubs that are still dormant–the leafless, “dead” state we see in winter–in early March. This oil is applied to the woody parts of plants to smother pest egg cases and disease spores that survive on bark and plant parts during winter. The concept is simple, but the application is strategic — timing is everything.

Early spring before buds open is the golden hour for dormant oil. Optimally, apply when temperatures are above freezing, and the forecast is clear for 24 hours. Be sure to coat all plant surfaces to ensure thorough protection. At Lawngevity, we tend to apply before March 15th.

Heavy Edging: Getting Lined Up For Spring

A well-defined and structured yard is not only visually appealing but also healthy for the plants themselves. Heavy edging involves cutting a clear boundary between your garden and surrounding grass or mulch. This is vital for preventing the encroachment of grass roots and weeds into flower beds and for retaining moisture in garden beds.

Typically, edging involves using a spade or specialized edging tool to create a deep, straight edge that’s perpendicular to the surface. Keep the soil loose and periodically maintain the edge to prevent it from filling with grass or eroding.

If the weather’s clear enough, you can add various materials to keep your edging secure. Choose from steel to brick to natural stone to match your yard’s aesthetic, and be sure to secure it firmly for lasting benefits.

Power Raking and Aeration: Clearing Up Your Lawn 

Your lawn is at the core of your yard, and in March, it needs some tender loving care to thrive come spring. Power raking and aeration are like a day at the spa for your grass, giving it a much needed freshening up after months of snow and cold.

Power raking removes thatch, a dense layer of decomposing grass roots and other organic debris that inhibits water and nutrient absorption by your lawn. This is particularly beneficial after snow has thawed. For this, you might want to call in a professional. While it’s great to get rid of the dead grass, not being careful can end up stripping away the healthy grass, too.

Aeration is the process of perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. It helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn.

At the onset of spring is the ideal time for aeration. To do this, a spiked or plugged aerator is used on the whole lawn. It’s essential that the soil is moist enough so that the aerator can penetrate easily.

Pest Control: Fix The Problem Before The Thaw

While the focus in March is often on rejuvenation, it’s equally important to be on the lookout for early-season problems that can undo your hard work. Snow mold and voles can be particularly nefarious this time of year.

Snow Mold

After the snow melts, you may find odd pink or gray circles in your lawn. This is snow mold, and it’s a common, if irritating, problem that comes with thawed lawns. Typically, gray snow mold is easier to treat—it affects the surface of your grass, so getting rid of the affected blades can often do the trick. Pink mold is trickier; this mold infects your grass all the way to the root, so it’s better off just pulling out the whole patch and letting your soil air out before raking and reseeding.


Voles, also called “meadow mice,” are small rodents that resemble mice but have a stouter body, a shorter, hairy tail, and a slightly rounder head. They create intricate tunnel systems underground, and can cause significant damage to vegetation in your yard. You may see them wander day and night, and you’ll definitely see the gnaw-marks they leave on your trees. The best way to keep voles at bay is to keep your yard well-maintained, since they use weeds and heavy ground cover to build their nests. You might also look into traps for them, or call a professional if there’s a significant vole population in your area.

Don’t Hit Snooze – Wake Up Your Yard For Spring

March is more than just the start of spring; it’s an introduction to the growing year. Waking your yard in March is a commitment to its health, an investment in its beauty, and will ensure you have a beautiful green space in the warmer months. With these engagements and preparedness, your yard will not only survive the winter but flourish, welcoming the growth to become a well-cultivated outdoor sanctuary.

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