While spring blooms haven't arrived quite yet in much of Missouri, preparations for the largest spring green up at your home should be occurring now. In many cases, the largest "garden" of a home is the lawn, and preparing this garden bed first should be on your spring docket. This is particularly true if your landscape is a mixture of lawn and trees.
A vibrant forest floor is notoriously devoid of short vegetation. While shade from tree limbs and foliage during the season understandably makes keeping healthy plants underneath difficult, perhaps a lesser known issue resides in leaf litter. Leaving some leaf litter in the fall to overwinter probably doesn't cause too much damage to sleeping turfgrass underneath, but leaving it on in the spring when the grass is attempting to wake up is an effective grass killer.
This is especially true after this particularly wet winter and early spring. Stacks of wet leaves may be suffocating out areas of your lawn, and will develop into open pockets for weeds to infest. Leaving a houseplant covered in a wet paper bag for days wouldn't be wise, and your backyard may be experiencing this same feeling at the moment. In the current spring scenario, simply mulching up the leaves with a mower (which might be recommended in fall) will probably not be effective in clearing wet leaf litter. If the fallen leaves are wet and stuck, rake them with verve to make sure they are off the lawn and into the bag or compost pile.
Now, perhaps even more importantly than in the fall, is a crucial time to rake up the leaf litter from the turfgrass canopy and get those little green leaf blades out into the sun. Besides, why let the enjoyment of jumping in a big pile of leaves only be felt in the fall?
A few other tips for lawn maintenance are below.
REVISED: February 21, 2017