Spring has sprung! Many homeowners want to rev up the lawn mower engine and expedite the whole summer process of taking care of the lawn. However, many are unsure of the timing for certain processes. Taking a voyage to the local gardening center can encourage even the most inept gardener, but can also lead many astray. Here are some tips on how to take an active approach in the spring without alienating the concept of patience around the yard.
Tip #1, Raking: Keep off the lawn until it has completely dried, there is no need to rush the process if boots are needed. Once the yard is dry and firm, it is time for the first step of raking. Rake up dead grass, leaves, rocks, twigs, and other debris that have accumulated during the colder months. Without picking up larger items that have accumulated, it can be dangerous to mow. Try raking with a bit of effort (without tearing up the yard) since this will assist with thatch buildup without having to purchase a thatch rake. According to Peak Yard, thatch buildup can be unhealthy to a lawn when it is a half inch or deeper. Taking care of it now will prevent it from causing a problem later on in the season when the lawn may be stressed from the summer elements. It is advantageous, although tedious, to do both at once although raking is the best solution.
Tip #2, Reseeding Bare Patches: This is sometimes referred to as “over seeding”. Although the best time to reseed an entire yard is in the fall, it is beneficial in spring to reseed spots that were damaged from things such as dog urine or diseases. By using the garden rake that was used in tip #1, loosen up the soil on the bare spots. Then proceed by adding a light layer of lawn soil over the bare spots. Then seed according the package directions. A starter fertilizer is highly recommended to help establish a thick and healthy lawn.
Tip #3, Lime: Since grass likes a neutral soil pH balance, it is important for some lawns to fight against acidity. There are two basic suggestions to test a lawn for acidity: 1. Test the lawn soil with a pH test that can be found at a local home improvement store such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. These tests are relatively inexpensive and vital to understanding the condition of your soil. 2. Signs of moss growth will also indicate that lime may need to be placed done before the lawn gets into the summer months. If the lawn is not showing any signs of neglect, then lime is not needed.
Tip #4, Fertilize: Wait to fertilize until the new grass turns green. In the United States Midwest, this generally means May or sooner in southern areas. It is important to fertilize a lawn with the correct amount of fertilizer that is recommended on the fertilizer package purchased at a local garden center or farming store. Over fertilizing is not beneficial and can cause harm to the grass and environment. You should consider using organic fertilizer or working them in with a reduction of synthetic fertilizers.
Tip #5, Herbicides: Applying a per-emergent herbicide will assist with those pesky weeds such as the crabgrass. It needs to be applied before the emergence of the crabgrass to prevent it. This per-emergent should not be applied around grass seed since it can prevent seedlings from germinating. Broadleaf weeds such as dandelions can be treated when they emerge or are actively growing. We recommend spot spraying the weeds with a product such as Weed B Gon instead of laying down a blanket of weed granules with a spreader.
Tip #6, Mowing: Waiting until the grass has grown to around two to three inches will allow the roots to grow deep into the soil. Encouraging deep roots will assist the grass in not being damaged by the elements or other factors. Keep the mower deck setting high. Longer grass blades help deter weed growth and help keep the soil moist. You especially want to keep the grass longer in the summer months when the elements can create havoc on your lawn.
Tip #7, Enjoy: By following these simple tips, a gardener can be on the right track for a healthy and plentiful lawn. However, be patient. A green, lush lawn takes time to establish after great care is given to it. It make take a few seasons to develop a lawn your neighbors are jealous of. Enjoy the coming months of warm weather and many memorable days in your yard!