Spring is just around the corner! Spring will officially arrive this month but will the weather be spring like? There is so much hope anticipating the arrival of spring, green budding leaves and the sweet sounds of birds returning from the south in the early morning. Children want to play outside again and of course your lawn is waking up from its long winters nap. Now that the football season is over I’m sure you can’t wait to get back to your outdoor spring chores, like working on your lawn again, trying to achieve the best lawn in town! Why does your neighbor’s lawn always look better than yours?
Last year these sweet dreams did not happen if you recall, cold, wet, weather was with us for most of March and really much of the spring! Your lawn is probably a light yellow-green color unless you fertilized it in late fall. Now is a great time to get your lawn growing again, but, before you start to fertilize, clean up all debris. Rake up any leaf piles and give your lawn a mowing if it needs it. Most likely you will find some thin and bare spots on your lawn. Perhaps this was a result of excessive ice melters or the snow plow digging up good grass. Scratch up and re-seed these areas so weeds do not invade these spaces later. Remember, the grass seed will not germinate until the soil temperatures reach around 55 degrees, be patient with spring seeding.
When spring arrives how you do decide what is the first application to put on the lawn? Obviously as we go into the growing season your lawn likes to be fed in order to green up and grow tillers to form a thick carpet. What do you mean; your lawn has never been a thick carpet-like showplace? That’s why you are seeding the bare spots we mentioned above.
If you are thinking you need to apply Green-Up with Crabgrass Preventer, think back, did you have a bad crabgrass problem over the years, perhaps only in certain areas of the lawn? Crabgrass will occur in sunny areas because crabgrass does not thrive in shaded area of the lawn. Do not put your pre-emergent controls down too early because if we have extended cool, wet weather this spring, your crabgrass control will peter out too soon. Apply pre-emergence controls when soil temperatures reach 50-55 degrees. We have talked a lot about soil temperatures over the years and if you do not have a soil thermometer it’s time to get one at your local store. Pick up a pH test kit while you are there too. Be careful applying pre-emergent controls in areas you are planning on seeding. Most crabgrass controls will not allow the seed to germinate. You can apply grass seed in spots that need seeding, cover them with a blanket, cardboard or trash can lid, apply your pre-emergent controls and then gently peel back the cover so the crabgrass control does not land on the seeded areas. Or, you can use Crabgrass Preventer plus New Seeding Fertilizer that allows you to apply grass seed safely on the same day.
Besides feeding your lawn, now is a great time to adjust your soil pH. In this region, soil pH levels tend to be somewhat low for growing healthy grass. Ideal soil pH levels are between 6.2 and 7.0. What’s your pH? Most of you might respond that you have never tested your soil pH, again now is the time to get a pH tester at your local store, it will pay dividends year after year, you can use it in your garden too. Apply Mag-I-Cal if it is low.
So my Eagles did not win the Super Bowl but congratulations to the winner. Let’s hope this year you win the best lawn in town contest in your neighborhood!