Days get long, temperatures start rising and you can smell the earth wake up as Spring renews our world again. A gardener can taste the spring and breathing in the sunshine makes their fingers salivate in anticipation of tickling the earth again.
March is a great month to start prepping your garden but the best thing for your lawn is to let it hibernate a bit longer. The way you treat your lawn in the spring may well determine how much water it requires in the summer. Here are a few tips on how to maintain your lawn in the spring.
- Don’t mow it yet! Cool season grasses have a growing cycle that starts rapidly in the spring, slows in the summer, and gains speed again in the fall. As soon as you mow your lawn in the Spring, the plant has to take its focus off wiggling its roots down further into the earth and expend its energy on growing blades. The longer you wait to mow, the deeper your roots can grow, and deeper roots can draw from a larger water table in the summer. Now, if you just can’t stand the brown winter grass any more, start mowing and the lawn will green up lickity split.
- Rake out excess thatch. Snow can cause the blades to lay flat and leaving them that way makes conditions ripe for snow mold. Now is a good time to remove excess thatch from your lawn. Going over your lawn with a metal rake and bagging or using the clippings for mulch will give air, water, and nutrients easier access to the roots.
- Wait to feed your lawn. The most important time of the year to fertilize is in the Fall. If you put a winterizer fertilizer on your lawn around Halloween last year, your lawn shouldn’t need to be fertilized again until Memorial Day. If you didn’t apply a winterizer fertilizer last season, a 16-16-16 fertilizer will add strength to root and blade. Wait to apply until shortly before you start watering.
- It is a great time for weed control. Per-emergent herbicides, applied early in the spring, prevent weeds from infiltrating your lawn.
- DO NOT WATER! Stressing your lawn in the Spring is a great way to force it to develop a strong root base. After a wet winter you shouldn’t need to add any irrigation to you lawn until the middle or end of April. Setting your system to water before mid April generally proves to be unnecessary.
Follow these tips and you will be prepping your lawn to be healthier and require less inputs (water, fertilizer, etc.) throughout the year. Let the lawn sleep in a few weeks longer and you will have a healthier lawn in the summer. For more tips download Chanshare’s Lawn Care Guide at www.chanshare.com , check out our Youtube channel, or call 866-SOD-EASY.