Anxious to shake off the winter blues and see everything come to life in bright shades of green? Spring is officially here and while you may welcome the chance to get outside, your lawn may also be craving your tender loving care. Follow these helpful tips to bring new life to your lawn.
Know Your Grass
Your spring maintenance routine will vary depending on the type of grass you have. Cool-season grasses such as fescue and bluegrass have two growth spurts – spring and fall. They tend to struggle in summer heat and go dormant. Your spring maintenance should focus on strengthening your lawn for summer. Warm-season grasses such as Zoysia and St. Augustine begin growing after the last frost and really take off in the summer heat. They won’t go dormant until winter arrives again.
Start with Cleanup
You probably ended your lawn care with a rake last fall and that’s where you should pick up again this spring. Gently raking your lawn will help remove any thatch that may have built up during the winter months and separate the grass strands for better growing. It is best to dethatch your lawn during peak growing season and before aerating.
Aeration helps loosen compacted soil and improve the air supply. For warm-season grasses, aerating is best done in the spring, while cool-season lawns benefit more from fall aeration, but it can be repeated in the spring if the soil is highly compacted. It is best to aerate after your lawn has been mowed 2-3 times to ensure it is growing well and can quickly recover from the aeration.
Feeding Your Lawn
After its long winter nap, your lawn is hungry for nutrients. Both cool and warm-season grasses will benefit from fertilizer in the spring. Feed your lawn with slow-release fertilizer to promote new growth. Try to avoid common nitrogen, phosphate and potassium blends that don’t include all the essentials your lawn needs. Look for a balanced fertilizer that includes micronutrients such as sulfur, copper and iron.
Stopping the Weed Invasion
In the fight against weeds, a good offense is the best defense. Treating with a pre-emergent herbicide will prevent seeds from germinating. Plan to treat your lawn in late April or early May, but don’t overdo it or you could damage new grass that is starting to grow. Pre-emergent herbicides generally last about 3 months, so you’ll likely need to do a second application during the summer.
Mowing Your Lawn
Actually mowing your lawn, may seem like the easiest step in your spring maintenance routine, but you should consider the following tips. Before using your mower, make sure the blades are sharpened for a good clean cut that doesn’t damage the grass. You should also remember to just give your lawn a trim, not a buzz cut. Don’t cut more than a third of the blade when mowing. Leaving your grass a little longer promotes growth and shades out weeds that may be trying to take root.
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