As you plan your spring cleanup chores, be sure to include your lawn in those plans. Lawns take a real beating in winter, yet they spring back with very little assistance. But, that’s not to say that you can just leave your lawn to its own devices.
When the snow melts and the ground firms up, it’s time to take a walk in the grass. Look for anything that’s different from when you put your lawn to bed last fall.
The first thing you’ll spot is debris. The wind may have blown twigs and even tree branches from your yard or the neighbors’. You may also find trash the wind has blown into your yard. It needs to be picked up or raked up and thrown back in the trash or recycling.
While big items like jars and cans can be picked up easily, it’s best to rake the other debris, like fallen twigs and branches. A rake will move more of the small debris. You’ll even be surprised to see litter in the pile that you didn’t see in the lawn. This includes such things as dead grass and small items that were down in the thatch so you missed them during your walk through.
If winter descended on us before you were able to rake all of your fall leaves, go ahead and rake them up and dispose of them now.
During your walk through, look for diseases and bare spots. Look for this also while raking leaves. There are several fungal diseases that attack turfgrass in winter. Fungus thrives in damp, dark, wet conditions. Some diseases cause the grass to turn brown or gray in patches. Others leave circles of dead grass.
These diseases are caused by freezing and thawing during the winter. Snow falls and stays on the ground. As the temperature rises, the snow melts from the bottom, depositing water on the lawn. This water is still covered by snow, providing ideal conditions for fungus. By the time all the snow has melted, the disease has done visible damage.
To repair your lawn, rake out all the dead grass and throw it away. Don’t compost it since it’s probably loaded with fungal spores. Use an iron rake for this task. That will rough up the soil as you rake out the dead grass, saving you an operation.
If you have only small bare spots, they’ll probably fill in through the spread of adjacent grass. For larger spots, you’ll have to overseed. It’s best to do that before adventitious weed seeds germinate in that space.
Before overseeding, add organic matter or compost to the bare areas. Then spread the seed and, using your iron rake, rake the seed and compost into the soil. Be sure your new seeds receive at least an inch of water a week either from rain or irrigation. Remember, it’s best to apply the whole inch at once rather than just sprinkling the surface. Sprinkling encourages weak, shallow roots. You want deep, strong roots.
As always, call us if you’d rather have our professionals do this job than tackling it yourself.