Lawn fertilizer is needed first thing in the spring to start greening it up and to get it growing after its long winters nap. Usually lawns have that brown-yellow look to the blades in early spring. The question is, “When is early spring in your area?” This “early spring” date will vary based on your location. You should be aware if your state has a “start” date for lawn fertilizer applications, in New Jersey it is March 1st. The best thing to do before your start any lawn applications is to take a soil test to see if your lawn has nutrient deficiencies or needs some pH adjustment. In New Jersey, if you wish to fertilize with Green-Up your lawn in early March, I’m alright with that strategy.
I think you should delay applying Green-Up with Crabgrass Preventer in early March. Air and soil temperatures should dictate when to apply any crabgrass preventer. Many folks tend to apply crabgrass preventers too early because they think they will get crabgrass in summer if they do not apply these products before the forsythia blooms. Crabgrass seeds start to germinate when soil temperatures reach around 55 degrees but many weather and sunlight variables can delay germinate over many weeks. Remember, soil temperatures are cooler than air temperatures so use a soil thermometer for best application timing. What, you do not have a soil thermometer? Most stores have them available, remember to place it at least 5-10 feet away from the house foundation and do not run over it with the lawn mower! First of all, do you need any crabgrass preventer this year? If you have not had a crabgrass problem for a few years, perhaps you can skip this application if your lawn is thick and weed free. With todays improved crabgrass preventer technology, Dithiopyr which is the chemical name for Dimension and is in our Green-Up with Crabgrass Preventer, you can control crabgrass effectively with applications up to 4 weeks after traditional crabgrass preventers. This allows for improved control into early summer. Crabgrass does not grow in shaded areas so there is no reason to apply these products in shade.
If you are seeding this spring, yes, let’s get started early! My reasoning for this strategy is if a hot, dry summer comes along, hopefully your new seedlings are established enough that they will not die off. Remember, if you apply grass seed in early spring, germination days may be delayed because of cool and rainy weather. Be sure to properly prepare the soil for best results including raking out debris and scratching the ground vigorously to establish a softer soil bed for better root growth. Again, this is a good time for a soil test to see if a low soil pH value has stunted your grass growth over the years. You can safely apply Mag-I-Cal to raise soil pH on the same day you apply grass seed. Using Green-Up for Seeding and Sodding is also beneficial when seeding. This also can be applied on the same day as grass seed. Green-Up for Seeding and Sodding has a high Phosphorous number to promote root growth. Phosphorous is the middle number on the bag of fertilizer.
So getting out early on your lawn is good, just not too early depending on Mother Nature and what you wish to apply first this spring. Last year Paul had one of the best lawns I’ve ever seen in DE. I expect his lawn will be high on the list again this year. Good luck, Paul!