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April Lawn Care Schedule (2024)

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Written By: Mark Marino, a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder
and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

No AI pledge. Authored and reviewed by Mark, not robots. Learn more.

Updated on

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The first day of spring is March 20, 2023. Even if you’re looking out of your window to a foot of snow covering our lawns – have no fear! Spring weather will be here before you know it, so it’s time to start preparing for your April lawn care program.

This how-to lawn care calendar was set up for cool-season grasses – Turf Type Tall Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass. This lawn care guide will help you kickstart your turf health, vigor, and color this spring, and set your lawn up for success this growing season.

Ready to Spring Ahead? Check out our updated May Lawn Care Schedule!

Lawn Care Maintenance Schedule

Soil Test:

If you haven’t done so, get a soil test to check you N-P-K and pH levels. Soil Savvy and thinkSOIL are two at-home, DIY soil test kit for around $30 through Amazon. Though it’s never too late to send in your soil sample to your local University such as Umass Amherst. Just be sure to add on $8 for the Nitrogen sample, as UMass does not include that in their basic lawn/turf soil tests.

Clean-up:

If you haven’t done so, give the lawn a good rake. It will remove any debris and dead grass that didn’t survive the winter; help stand the grass stand upwards which allows for more air circulation, and expose the blades to sunlight.

And if you have one, a leaf blower works great, too. I use a RedMax which is very powerful, essentially dethatching the lawn when I let it rip on full blast. 

You can also use a simple, inexpensive machine like the Sun Joe dethatcher. I used that this year and am absolutely blown away with the amount of thatch and dead grass and debris it picked up. And for around $120, the paid for itself after one use. 

Tune-up: The single-most important factor to a nice lawn, next to irrigation, is regular mowing. Make sure your blade is sharp. I recommend using the Oregon Gator (G3), especially if you decide to mulch your clippings (which I also suggest). The soil is still cool and the grass probably won’t be growing much, but it’s great to be prepared. 

Weed Prevention

Crabgrass. No one likes it. This grassy weed sticks out like a sore thumb and can take over a lawn in no time if you’re not prepared. That’s why it’s important to control crabgrass by getting down a good pre emergent before this grassy weed gets a chance to fully germinate.

Note: Pre emergents do not kill weeds. They help stop the root development during and after the germination process. So this application is for those weed seeds that have overwintered and ready to sprout.

The 5 Best Crabgrass Preventers

The 5 Best Crabgrass Killers

I recommend using prodiamine in the early spring. Crabgrass germinates when the soil temps hit right around 55 degrees, so it’s important that this product is applied and watered in before soil temps reach 55. 

A good rule of thumb is when you start to see forsythia bloom, so aren’t the crabgrass – so stay ahead here. Get yourself an inexpensive digital meat thermometer so you know exactly what your soil temps are.

You can also check Greencast Online for daily soil temps, as well as 5-year and 10-year averages. Looking at Bellingham, MA for Saturday April 14, 2018, the soil temps are perfect for pre emergent application. The soil temps for that day was 50 degrees, and 53 degrees for the 5-year average. 

For a detailed post about weed control, read How To Get Rid of and Control Weeds in Your Lawn.

Jumping ahead:

Since we’re on the subject, very quickly since this is not an April stepDithiopyr has some post emergent herbicides that will kill crabgrass and dandelions up to the three leaf stage. If you’re not infested with weeds, you should use a product like Bayer All In One Weed Killer for spot spraying. But this, again, is for next month (May and June, actually).

View and make a copy of my 2020-21 lawn care calendar on Google Sheets – and download a free copy of my cool season lawn care guide here.

Fertilization

Don’t jump the gun here. It’s been many months since we were able to throw down fertilizer, push growth, and watch the grass turn a deep dark green. But we can virtually skip any fertilizers at this stage of the game until the soil temps start are consistently in the 50s. 

This is especially true if you winterized in the late fall. I used Jonathan Green 10-0-20 Winter Fertilizer (twice actually) so there’s plenty of stored food for the grass to use here in the early stages.

If you skipped winter fertilization you can apply a spring fertilizer. To calculate the amount of nitrogen per 1,000 ft2, be sure to be sure to use my free nitrogen calculator. Adding too much nitrogen too early will force top growth in less than ideal condition.

Four-Step Plan:

I understand that some may not have the time to first throw down pre emergent, then wait a few weeks to then throw fertilizer down. If you’re looking to put down less for convenience or timesake and want to go the traditional 4 Step route, Lesco’s 19-0-7 with Dimension is a solid choice if you wanted to go the All-in-One route.

Or even better, go with Jonathan Green’s 22-0-3 Green Up + Crabgrass Preventer. Their 4-Step plan is foolproof and I feel it’s much safer for your lawns – especially during the summer months – than say a Scott’s 4 Step. They really focus on feeding the soil first, which really is the name of the game here. 

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April Spring Lawn Care Summary

  • Rake or dethatch your lawn and clean all debris (leaves, twigs etc.)
  • Prep your mower: sharpen those blades!
  • Put down a pre-emergent before the soil temps hit 55 degrees
  • If you fertilized your lawn in late fall/early winter, you won’t need to pound the soil with heavy nitrogen
    • Wait until soil temps approach 60 degrees
  • Use a slow release organic like Milorganite to wake up and activate the soil microbes 
  • Check out our Month-to-Month Lawn Care Calendar 

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References:

Ready to Spring Ahead? Check out our updated May Lawn Care Schedule!

And as always, please comment below if you have any questions or feedback. 

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Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on

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Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

7 thoughts on “April Lawn Care Schedule (2024)”

  1. Hi
    totally awesome website, so much information !
    I can’t find info on what to do (fertilizing/weeding-wise) when seeding new grass.
    I have lots of moss that I’ve dug up and I’m reseeding now. I’m hesitant putting down any herbicide, esp pre-emergent.

    Also, I can’t find info on how to deal with creeping charlie and other invasive weeds.
    thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Al,

      Thanks for the reading, and the comment! I was just writing a piece about killing and controlling weeds. Hope to have that posted soon!

      Spring seeding can be difficult. You will need:
      -Rake and clean the grass and bare spots before – rough up the soil of bare spots to ensure good seed-to-soil contact
      -Peat moss to help keep the seeds moist, and the birds from eating them
      -A good starter fertilizer – you can try Scott’s with Mesotrione as that will help prevent crabgrass
      -An organic fertilizer such as Bay State or Milorganite
      -Keeps the seeds moist – daily watering 1-3 times a day for about 10-15 minutes each (depending on the air temps and sunshine)
      -Patience and expectations: fall is definitely the best time to reseed, but it can be done in the spring, albeit more difficult

      Weeds:
      -Preventatives with a preemergent such as prodiamine
      -Spot spraying with Speed Zone or other herbicides that contain 2,4-D, dicamba, and mecoprop-p acid (MCPP) – READ THE LABELS!
      -Pulling the weeds, ensuring you rip up the taproot, too
      -Burning the weeds (not in the lawn, but in sidewalk cracks etc.)

      Hope this helps – good luck!

      Reply
  2. Hi Mark,
    Great site with awesome information and resources.

    Moved into my home this past May in SE New Hampshire. My front lawn is sloped with a 30+ degree incline.
    I’ve used a rotary spreader for fertilizer, weed control, and over seeding but I’m not seeing the results I’d expected.
    I think I need to switch to a sprayer for fertilizer and weed control applications. Probably resort to hand spreading for over seeding.

    Am I on the right track here?

    Thanks and keep up the good work.
    Mike

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the comment and feedback! What is your square footage? With a +30 degree slope, a rotary spreader may not apply evenly. I backpack sprayer might be worth a try. For overseeding, is it safe to use a core aerator + drop seeder like a Stinger, or a slice seeder?

      Reply
      • Hi Mark,
        My lawn area is 5,000 sq ft. I’ll look into the Stringer and switch to liquid products for fertilizer and weed comtrol.
        I have a Cub Cadet tractor w an aerator attachment so I have that covered at least.

        Thanks again for your expertise!
        Think Spring and take care

        Reply

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