Sustainable Lawn Maintenance Practices in Central PA - Tomlinson Bomberger

Spring Into Action: Prepping Your Central PA Lawn for Spring

Category: Lawn Care, Landscape

Spring is in the air, with the return of the robins, buds forming on trees and shrubs, and the snow melting from your lawn.

Now is the best time to clean up your yard and prepare it for the growing season. Your spring seasonal lawn tasks will keep you busy until it’s time for the first mow of the season.

If you’re a Central PA homeowner, you’ll find in this blog the types of turf preparation to perform now as the soil is warming and the grass is greening. You’ll learn the following in this blog post:

  • Spring lawn care and other early spring lawn tips
  • Lawn fertilization for spring
  • Broadleaf weed control.

Spring Lawn Care and Other Early Spring Lawn Tips

When springtime arrives, get out your rake, preferably a grass rake, to fluff the turfgrass and any snow mold on your yard. Raking helps the turfgrass to dry out, stimulates grass growth, and allows sunlight to reach the turf’s base to encourage growth.

While raking, look for thin grassy areas that may need reseeding. Remember, don’t reseal your lawn while using pre-emergent weed control since the weed control barrier will also stop turfgrass seedlings from germinating.

Other lawn clean-up tips include:

  • Cleaning out all lawn debris, including trash, tree limbs, leftover leaves, tree fruits, seed pods, pinecones, and other litter.
  • Before you mow your lawn, send your mower to be tuned and sharpen the blades. Dull blades shred the turfgrass, opening it up to diseases and insect infestation.
  • Dethatch (that tan area between the live grass and the soil) your lawn if you have over a ½” of thatch build-up.
  • If you’re unsure if there’s over ½” of thatch, you can cut out one sq. in. of turfgrass to check the layers. Measure the tan area and see if it’s over ½”. Too much thatch leads to lawn diseases, insect infestation, and water not percolating deep into the soil.
  • Use a dethatching rake to loosen thatch. You can also remove excess thatch with a dethatcher.
  • Before applying fertilizer to your lawn, get a soil test to check soil health.


Read more: 5 Steps to a Great Lawn


  • At Tomlinson Bomberger, we can provide you with a soil test kit. The soil test kit comes with a bag for collection and collection instructions. You put the samples in the bag, mix them, and send them to your local Penn State Extension Office.
  • You’ll receive a detailed soil assessment to determine the soil’s pH and any missing nutrients, including the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK) your soil needs for healthy grass growth.
  • Later in the spring, it’ll be time for irrigation system activation when we inspect your water sprinklers and turn them on for the spring.

Lawn Fertilization for Spring

If your soil test shows that it is too acidic, you’ll need to add limestone to bring the pH level back between 6.5 and 7.2. You can buy limestone at your local garden center or hardware store.

Learn more: 4 Tips for a Beautiful Lawn This Spring

Based on your soil test results, you need to buy a lawn fertilizer with the correct NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratio to correct the soil. Check the back of the fertilizer bag for the NPK ratio and manufacturer instructions.

Penn State recommends three to four pounds of nitrogen per year for cool-season grass lawns, which your turfgrass will be if you live in Central PA. Your soil test results should help you determine your soil needs based on nutrient levels and turfgrass type.

Our lawn care team at Tomlinson Bomberger recommends applying a balanced fertilizer with a 3-1-1 ratio. What do those numbers mean?

Here’s a breakdown:

  • The first number stands for nitrogen.
  • The second number stands for phosphorous.
  • The third number stands for potassium.

You need three parts nitrogen, one part phosphorous, and one part potassium (potash). Read the label on the fertilizer bags to find one that matches the recommended NPK ratio of 3-1-1.

While you may not find the exact NPK ratio, you can buy fertilizer with a 15-5-5 and apply half the amount in spring and the other half in the fall.

You can start lawn fertilization for spring, which begins mid-spring and ends in late summer. If you’re a busy family and don’t like lawn maintenance, feel confident that our spring lawn care programs will help get your lawn back in shape for spring and summer.

Broadleaf Weed Control

Now’s the time when broadleaf weeds appear on your lawn, and part of your spring lawn preparation includes watching for broadleaf weeds. These weeds include:

  • Chickweed
  • Dandelions
  • Ground ivy
  • Henbit
  • Plantains
  • Violets
  • White clover.

Our lawn care programs at Tomlinson Bomberger include broadleaf weed control, where our technicians use a liquid spray to target broadleaf weeds. Broadleaf weed control can dry quickly in warmer temperatures with low humidity.

If rain is forecasted soon after your broadleaf weed control application, our techs will add a surfactant material to mix with the weed control. This surfactant will enable the liquid broadleaf weed control to stick to the targeted weeds.

After your broadleaf weed control application, our technicians inspect your lawn while working on it throughout the season. When they see broadleaf weeds in your yard, they spot-treat them as part of our seasonal lawn tasks.

Summing Up

Spring lawn care is vital to getting your turfgrass ready for outdoor entertaining. First, your lawn needs all debris cleaned, and the turf raked to fluff it up. Then, it’s time for a soil test to see if your soil has the correct pH and if it’s missing any macronutrients.

We can provide you with a soil kit test, which you can return to your local extension office. Once you receive your soil test results, you’ll know if you need to apply lime to bring the soil back to the correct pH and the ratio of nutrients needed for spring fertilization.

Finally, it’s time for a broadleaf weed control application to stop dandelions, ground ivy, and other broadleaf weeds from taking over your yard.

How Tomlinson Bomberger Gets Your Central PA Lawn Prepped for Spring


Don’t wait. Now’s the time to call us for all your seasonal lawn tasks. You can get the sixth lawn application free when you choose one of our three lawn care programs.

Book your spring lawn care appointment by calling us at 717-925-3409 or filling out our contact form.

Tomlinson Bomberger offers a variety of services, including lawn care, landscape design, pest control, and tree care to homeowners in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York Counties in Pennsylvania.

Sources:, Lawn Management through the Seasons., Spring Lawn Care Tips.

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