Spring is approaching and you may be eager to get outside and work on your yard. However, caring for you lawn isn’t something you want to jump into at the first sign of thaw. Wait until the ground has completely thawed and is mostly dry. Take care when walking on your soggy lawn. If it’s too wet it can lead to compaction which can cause problems.
Once your lawn is dry, use the following steps to get it up to par.
Raking and removing dead grass is a great way to start your Spring maintenance. Dead grass and weeds can choke a healthy lawn and prevent new roots from developing. A light raking with a flexible rake or leaf rake should do the job. If there is a heavy layer of thatch then a thatch rake can be used, take care not to tear out good grass plants root and all. This step also allows you to see any bare spots that might need extra attention.
TEST YOUR SOIL
Get a soil PH test. English Gardens offers a free soil PH test and in-store consultation to make sure your lawn is Spring ready. Most grasses thrive in pH neutral soil. We have amendments to help adjust the pH of your soil, if it’s too acidic or too alkaline.
FEED YOUR SOIL
We carry a soil food from Jonathan Green called “Love Your Soil” which is organic and does two things. First, it’s a “Super Gypsum” that loosens hard compacted soil to allow water and air to get to the roots. Second, it feeds and activates soil microbes so they breakdown all of the nutrients in your soil so your grass will grow more effectively and efficiently.
You can give your lawn a fresh cut once it starts to grow, typically when the temperature stays above 50 degrees for a while. For the first mow of the season, cut your grass on the shorter side, usually 1 inch below where you would normally cut.
Sharpen your mower blades to ensure a clean cut. Dull blades cause tearing and ragged leaf tips, making grass more susceptible to disease and insects. The tears can also turn brown causing a cast of brown on your lawn. During the season, remove only 1/3 of the total leaf blade in any one mowing. Mowing too low can weaken grass plants.
Also, avoid mowing when grass is wet. Change the direction of mowing pattern regularly.
Healthy lawns need food. The easiest way to fertilize is by using a four-step approach with granular products formulated for seasonal application.
Apply Step 1 mid-April (usually around Easter) to a dry lawn. It contains a fertilizer and crabgrass preventer. If you have or plan to put down new grass seed, use Step 1 for Seeding. Do not rake or disturb the lawn after application as the preventer will not work as will if heavily disturbed.
Apply Step 2 around Memorial Day. This formula contains a broadleaf weed killer and fertilizer. Apply while there’s still dew on the grass (or run your sprinklers first) so the weed killer sticks to the leaves of the weeds. Be sure there is no rain in the forecast for 24 hours. After 48 hours begin normal watering.
Apply Step 3 around July 4th. It contains a fertilizer to build strong roots and strengthen against heat and drought. This step can be applied to a wet or dry lawn. Water in after application.
Apply Step 4 around Labor Day. This step contains fall fertilizer to fortify the lawn through the fall and winter. Apply to a wet or dry lawn. Water in after application.
Spring is the best time to kill grassy weeds by using a pre-emergent weed controller. This will prevent grassy weeds like Crabgrass from germinating and can only be applied in early Spring.
Broadleaf weeds like Dandelions can not be prevented and can only be killed when they are actively growing. If you did not apply a product like step 2, there are several liquid or granular products that can be used to kill them.
Controlling weeds is essential for good lawn growth. A few weeds of either type can be spot treated with controls for each specific kind of weed. If they’ve overtaken the yard, you’ll find the best results from a granular treatment combined with fertilizer that can be applied to the entire lawn.
Check with the experts at English Gardens for a customized program for your yard.
Watering in the Spring is the last item on your checklist. Because of the amount of rain we usually see in the Spring, waiting to water until later in the season will be fine. Water your lawn only as needed, and thoroughly enough to penetrate the root system. A deeper watering two to three times per week is best.
General watering guidelines:
- Apply one to two inches of water per week
- Keep newly seeded lawns moist until established.
- Water lightly frequently (twice a day – more often if weather is windy, hot or dry) for first two weeks.
- As the lawn becomes established, water deeply – only as needed.
- Water early in the morning to reduce the susceptibility of disease.
- Use a rain gauge to accurately measure water.
Follow these few steps and you’ll have the greenest lawn in the neighborhood!
For more information, visit your local English Gardens store and talk to one of our lawn care experts.