Wallaces Garden Center-Bettendorf-Iowa-spring lawn care-mowed lawn

The Spring Lawn Care Guide

With warmer weather rushing into the Quad Cities, there's no better time to get our lawns ready for spring. March and April signal the beginning of the growing season, and proper lawn care is crucial to achieve that lush, green carpet of grass we all dream of. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through our essential springtime lawn care tips, ensuring your lawn is primed for optimal growth and beauty all season long.

Springtime Fertilizer How-To’s

Timing is everything when it comes to fertilizing your lawn this spring. Here are some guidelines for Bettendorf and the Quad Cities: 

  • Aim to apply your fertilizer while your grass is actively growing, but before the heat of summer sets in. For Bettendorf residents, mid to late April is typically the ideal time for the first round of fertilizer application, providing essential nutrients that kickstart your lawn's growth.  
  • Choose a high-quality fertilizer specifically formulated for spring to give your lawn the nutrients it needs for early green-up. We recommend Scotts Step 1 Fertilizer and Crabgrass Preventer for a strong green-up and prevention of crabgrass weeds.
  • Look for a balanced blend of nitrogen and potassium (NK) to promote healthy growth and vibrant color.  Most lawn fertilizers omit Phosphorus now as it is already present in ample amounts in most soils.  
  • Consider slow-release or controlled-release fertilizers for a steady supply of nutrients over time, reducing the risk of nutrient runoff and promoting sustained growth. Depending on the fertilizer, you may need to reassess later in the season. 
  • For all natural options, consider Espoma Spring Lawn Food or Milorganite fertilizer. 

Soil Testing Your Lawns

The foundation of a healthy lawn starts with the soil beneath it. Soil testing can be a crucial step in spring lawn care, providing valuable insights into your soil's health and nutrient levels. Here are a few tips to help you do it right:

  • Contact your local extension office to inquire about soil testing services or use a DIY soil testing kit. (Contact Information: 875 Tanglefoot Lane, Bettendorf, IA 52722, bbray@.iastate.edu, 563-359-7577.)
  • Based on your results, adjust your fertilizer application to directly address any deficiencies and promote healthy lawn growth throughout the season.


Wallaces Garden Center-Bettendorf-Iowa-spring lawn care-cutting grassProper Mowing Techniques

A well-maintained lawn begins with proper mowing techniques. Don't underestimate the importance of mowing at the right height and frequency for a healthy lawn. Here are a few mowing technique tips to help you get the most out of your lawn this spring:

  • Aim to mow when the grass is dry, and adjust your mower blades to the recommended height for your grass type. For cool-season grasses common in the Quad Cities area, such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescue, we recommend setting your blades to a height of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. 
  • Avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass blade's height at a time to prevent stress and maintain a lush, resilient lawn.
  • Make sure mower blades are sharpened at the beginning of each season.  Local hardware stores usually have a sharpening service for garden tools and mower blades. 

Aerating Your Lawn

Lawn aeration is an essential yet often overlooked lawn maintenance step that can significantly improve the health and vitality of your turf, and spring is an ideal time to do it! Aeration helps alleviate soil compaction, improves air and water penetration, and stimulates root growth, setting the stage for a healthy lawn. This is especially important for new construction home lots and any lawn that has heavy clay soil.  We highly recommend either renting a core aerator and doing it yourself or hiring a professional to do it for you this spring, especially if you notice signs of soil compaction or poor drainage.  Fall is the best time to aerate.  We recommend it every three years. If  your lawn hasn’t been aerated in awhile, you should consider doing it annually for 3 years to help it recover. 


Wallaces Garden Center-Bettendorf-Iowa-spring lawn care-lawn sprinkler

Watering Schedules

Proper watering is essential for the health and vitality of your lawn, especially as temperatures rise in the spring. However, it's important to water efficiently to avoid waste and promote deep root growth. Here are a few watering tips to help you keep your lawn happy, healthy, and hydrated this spring:

  • Monitor rainfall levels and supplement with irrigation as needed to ensure your lawn receives approximately 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week.  This usually isn’t an issue until late June or July in our area. 
  • Water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
  • Whenever possible, water your lawn in the early morning to minimize evaporation and fungal diseases.
  • If you have an irrigation system, make sure it doesn’t have any leaks and make sure the settings are sensitive to current conditions like temperature and rainfall. 


Wallaces Garden Center-Bettendorf-Iowa-spring lawn care-spraying herbicide

Weed Prevention

While spring's mild climate brings new growth to your landscape, it also provides the perfect conditions for weeds to take hold in your lawn. Stay ahead of weeds by implementing these preventative measures this spring: 

  • Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent the germination of crabgrass and other annual weeds.  Scotts Step 1 Fertilizer or Scotts Turf Builder with Crabgrass Preventer contain this herbicide. 
  • Time the application of your pre-emergent herbicide for the best results. We recommend applying it when soil temperatures reach around 55°F, which typically occurs around early- to mid-April in Bettendorf. For a hint, look for the yellow blooms on forsythia bushes. 

Pest Prevention

Pests can wreak havoc on your lawn if left unchecked, so it's essential to be vigilant this spring with these expert tips: 

  • Keep an eye out for early signs of pest infestations, such as brown patches or chewed grass blades, and take prompt action with targeted treatments if necessary.
  • Early Spring is prime time for mole activity so keep an eye out for raised tunnels in the lawn.  Treat preventatively with Mole Max repellent. 
  • Implement cultural practices like proper mowing and watering to promote a healthy lawn that is more resistant to pest infestations.

With the right springtime lawn care, residents of Bettendorf and the surrounding Quad Cities area can look forward to a season of healthy, green lawns that are golf course green and barefoot friendly.  Remember, a little effort now will yield bountiful rewards throughout the growing season. So, roll up your sleeves, grab your gardening tools, and let's make this spring the best one yet for your lawn. Also, don't forget to stop by Wallace's Garden Center for all the supplies you'll need, along with the expert spring lawn care tips that all Quad Citizens depend on! 


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