Spring Lawn Care Tips
We’re all looking for a few great tips on how to get the lawn looking really nice. Sometimes the issue is that it’s hard to get a straight answer from anybody on what to do, when to do it and most importantly how should it get done. So many lawn care professionals have differentiating opinions on topics that come up for lawn care advice that I thought I would set the record straight right here and now.
1. Just Slow Down.
There is no need to jump the gun with anything when it comes to lawn care. We know you’re excited, and so are we, but it’s okay to give your lawn a little time to wake up. There is a family who lives down the street from us who has the worst case of “lawn neurosis.” Last Fall I watched them panic every time a leaf or two accumulated on the grass and this “late winter” they have been out raking and dethatching even as the snow banks were still sitting angrily at the end of the driveway. I truly believe in lawn care karma and being overzealous with your lawn care concerns will only pay you back in a negative way. Just remember, there’s no need to rush to get your lawn looking great.
2. Do NOT DETHATCH the lawn. I repeat, tell the landscaper to put that machine back on the truck!
As your lawn is coming out of dormancy and soil temperatures are on the rise it’s a little bit vulnerable. It isn’t as strong as it will be in about six weeks and the root system isn’t thriving through the cold soil. Don’t forget, it was recently frozen. Running a large machine over it with cutting blades that extract the thatch layer can do nothing but stress out the lawn.
3. Decide whether you want to over seed or apply a pre-emergent weed control. You really can’t do both because the pre-emergent qualities in our “Spray and Play” are designed to PREVENT weed seeds from germinating. By the very nature and intention of the product it will also prevent grass seed from germinating. The best time to seed actually is the very late summer but many times you really want to give it a boost in the springtime. Getting the thin areas to fill in will help crowd out weeds and keep soil temperatures down. But, if the summer gets to be too hot the new grass may not make it through and the weeds will take over. Just keep your expectations in line as you move forward. By the way, make sure you choose the right type of seed for the conditions in your yard. Is it sunny? Is it shady? We can help you pick the right seed and NEVER buy the cheap stuff…it will be filled with weed seeds.
4. Don’t water unless your lawn needs to be watered!
Line ten lawn guys up and ask them how to water the lawn and you will get at least seven different answers. Just remember this; if it hasn’t rained in a long time you should water the lawn. If you have an irrigation system don’t just automatically crank it up because the grass is growing. Your lawn needs water when your footprint stays matted down in the grass and doesn’t spring back up right away. But even that is an experiment that isn’t really necessary beyond watching the weather. If your lawn needs water, water it. Water it deeply for more than an hour per zone. But the point here is that it is April and usually pretty rainy. If your lawn doesn’t need water, don’t water it.
5. Get Your Mower Blade Sharpened.
Mowing the lawn is a violent process and you need to make it as clean and pain free as possible. A common theme that you will hear us promote over the year is that you need to create as stress free an environment as possible with your lawn, especially when taking an organic lawn care approach. Mowing the lawn improperly is often the one thing that creates the most negative issues in terms of cosmetics when it comes to appearance. A sharp blade makes a quick, clean, easy cut across the blades of grass allowing the tissue on top to heal immediately. A dull blade shreds the top of the grass creating all kinds of trouble with your lawn. First off, the tops will turn a light colored brown as the blade of grass is damaged from the dull blade. The normally dark green spring color of your lawn will become yellowish or light green. The next thing that happens is that spring diseases like leaf spot will infiltrate your turf and be very difficult to get rid of with springtime weather. You can bring your mower to a small engine shop to have the blade sharpened or you can do it yourself with any sharpening device. If it’s been a few years you may want to have the blade replaced altogether.
6. Have a Soil Test Done. Whether you ask us to do a full laboratory soil test or our standard pH test is enough, knowing some of the vital information about your soil can make a HUGE difference throughout the year. If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline the grass will struggle to thrive and weeds will be a greater issue. Often times we will hear a homeowner say that no matter what they do to their lawn the grass just doesn’t respond! When we do a soil test we find that the pH is in the low fives, which is extremely acidic. (Closer to seven is where you want to be.) A good soil test will also give you surpluses or deficiencies in macro and micronutrients. Our program will cover most of the bases but you never know if something could be really out of whack!
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be proud of the progress you’re making and enjoy the time you spend outdoors, working in your yard. Soon your neighbors will be stopping by and asking about your “secret” to achieving such a gorgeous lawn.