(BPT) - The warming weather is Mother Nature's gentle reminder that it's time for plants to wake up from their winter slumber and for homeowners to begin yard maintenance again. Being proactive and preparing in the spring for the long growing season ahead will help ensure your lawn gets the best care possible and that you won't work harder than necessary.
To maintain a healthy lawn, there are a few important steps to take at the start of spring. Consider these tips from the lawn equipment experts at Husqvarna - the world's largest producer of outdoor power equipment - to help you achieve the best-looking lawn possible.
Read up: Every mower is different, so it's important to check the owner's manual for a list of recommended annual maintenance tasks and then complete them before the first mow.
Tune up: Handy homeowners may decide to tune up their mowers themselves, but many people choose to visit an authorized dealer for a tune-up. If you go the DIY route, remember to follow all safety messages and instructions in the owner's manual. In addition, use factory-recommended parts and oil, and always inspect filters and spark plugs. This is a great time to sharpen the blade as well.
Gas up: If you have gas from last year, it's probably a good idea to dispose of it properly and get a fresh supply. You'll need only enough to last 30 days and should keep it in an airtight container. Make sure to use 89-octane gas with an ethanol content no higher than 10 (E10). Gas with a higher level of ethanol can damage power-tool engines.
Get a grip: Advances in lawn mower technology have made it easier than ever to efficiently cut and maintain your lawn, even if you have a challenging yard. All-Wheel Drive (AWD) mowers are gaining popularity, and Husqvarna now offers three new AWD mowers. For example, the HU675AWD is powered by a 675 Kohler engine, features a heavy-duty steel 2-in-1 cutting deck, a straight over-mold bail system, a full auto-choke and a mulch and rear bagging system, all starting at $299 at Lowe's Home Improvement or online. Find a dealer nearest you at www.husqvarna.com/us/dealers/dealer-locator.
Cut one third: When it's time for the first mow (and any mow throughout the year), it's important to cut no more than one third of the grass blade. This keeps the root system strong and will help minimize weed growth.
Plant seed: Have a few bare spots? Spring can be a great time to plant grass seed before the hot summer months arrive. Mild weather and higher levels of moisture throughout the country generally make spring a good time for grass seed to germinate and thrive. Consider using a starter fertilizer when you plant the seeds to provide an extra boost of nutrients.
Safety first: Spring is a good time to revisit the importance of lawn mower safety. For riding lawn mowers, never give children rides or allow them to play on the mower, even when it is not running. Children must be at least 16 years of age to operating a riding mower, always monitor your speed and use extreme caution when going in reverse. Look behind and around the mower before proceeding. For walk-behinds, always push the mower away from your body, never mow wet grass and do not mow in the dark.
Use interactive controls: Many riding lawn mowers will stop the engine and cutting deck when the driver leaves the seat or put the transmission in reverse giving owners peace of mind. Additionally, Husqvarna's SmartSwitch ignition - a new operator interface - lets users enter a keyless code for safe and simple engine activation. Furthermore, lighted icons indicate the status of the parking brake, battery, headlights and ROS (Reverse Operating System). To learn more, join the conversation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/HusqvarnaUSA) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/HusqvarnaUSA).