Our lawns are planted with cool weather grasses but even these grasses have their breaking point. Extended cold, wet periods can be especially bad for turfgrass. Rejuvenating winter damaged lawns is relatively easy, though.
The first thing to do is check to be sure the grass is dry enough to support your weight and that you don’t leave footprints. When that day comes, rake the lawn with an iron rake to remove any dead grass. Dead grass may be the result of winter fungal diseases, leaves left on the grass that matted and retained too much moisture under them, or just some genetically weak grass.
While raking, replace snow plow divots (if your contractor hasn’t done it yet) just as you would lay sod. Rough up the bare spots and lay the divots in place, walk on them to press them into the roughed up soil and water them.
If your raking revealed small bare spots, they will probably fill in as the grass greens up and begins growing. Large spots will have to be reseeded. If raking thinned out the turf, you may want to overseed just to thicken the whole lawn. As you raked, you roughened up the soil. To overseed, spread fertilizer, compost or other organic matter. Then spread grass seed, rake it into the soil and water.
If you don’t have to overseed or seed bare spots, this would be a good time for pre-emergent crasbgrass killer. This prevents crabgrass seeds from germinating. But it can also prevent grass seeds from germinating. The time between applying pre-emergent and a safe time to plant grass is 6 to 8 weeks. This means holding off the grass seeding until after Memorial Day.
Do you typically have a bad crabgrass problem? If so, it might be better to apply the pre-emergent now and seed after Memorial Day. If crabgrass isn’t a pressing issue, consider seeding now and hoping that the grass comes in thick enough to act as nature’s crabgrass preventer.
As soon as broadleaf weeds like dandelions begin appearing, they should be treated with a post emergent weed treatment or pulled before they get a good foothold. These weeds are best treated after they emerge rather than before.
You can eliminate all the work and worry associated with lawn care all season long with a lawn care program. Our lawn care professionals will take care of all these chores at just the right time.