May Lawn Care Tips
I arrived home for lunch on Friday and my 4 year old girl called me over to the edge of the lawn. “Daddy, daddy. Come look at the pretty yellow flower!” I walked over and saw a solitary dandelion at the very edge of the lawn. As I bent down to eradicate the weed, horrified she yelled, “Daddy, NO! I Loooooooooovvvvvveeee it soo oo oo ooo much.” I tried to explain to her that if we left it there pretty soon our lawn would be covered with dandelions. She thought that would be a dream come true. I, on the other hand, would rather not have the pretty yellow flowers in the lawn.
May is a pivotal month in lawn care. All the preparation you put into your lawn in the fall and early spring will now pay off. If you fertilized in late Fall or early Spring then, chances are, you have a healthy lawn and only a few weeds right now. As dandelions and other spring weeds start rearing their pretty little heads, the most effective way to control them is to dig them out individually, taking as much of the root as possible (hand weeding is also the most environmentally friendly way to get rid of weeds). Pulling the top off a weed and pouring boiling water down the root is another way to kill it. The best weed control is a healthy rhizomateous lawn which acts as a weed barrier and chokes out foreign weeds and grasses.
Apply fertilizer near the end of the month. A balanced fertilizer with a 4:1:2 ratio is best. Apply about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet and water soon after to get the fertilizer closer to the roots. A Weed and Feed Fertilizer may also help if weeds have started to pop up. To help figure out how much fertilizer to apply download the guide at www.chanshare.com/pdf/Fertilizing_and_Watering.pdf.
With the cool spring temperatures we have seen so far you shouldn’t need to apply much water to your lawn yet; 1” every two weeks should suffice. If you have trouble spots in your lawn where it looks like it needs some extra water use a hose and sprinkler rather than running a whole sprinkler cycle. Always water deep and long, rather than short and frequently.
Mowing will help to bring your lawn out of its winter dormant stage. When you mow your lawn it causes the grass plant to stop focusing on root growth and shift its energy to the blade. Never cut more than 1/3 of the blade off in a mowing and keep the lawn as long as you feel comfortable (we recommend 2-3”). Leave the clippings on the lawn and rake out any large clumps left after mowing. Clippings are about 85% water and leaving them on the lawn will return the nutrients and water to the soil.
Put some time into your lawn this month and you will have a beautiful lawn all summer. Unless, that is, you come home from work to witness your daughter spreading dandelion seeds all over the lawn in the hopes that we will end up with a lawn full of pretty yellow flowers (she also pleaded with her mom to buy several packets of morning glory seeds at the store on Saturday. Like we need seeds to get that all over our yard!).
We will see who’s will proves stronger.
If you have specific yard care questions please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will either answer the questions directly or address them in a future newsletter.
As always, Happy Gardening!