As spring makes its return, your lawn should be greening up as your other plants begin to flower and leaf out. Assuring that your lawn greens-up and stays green may require more resources than the rest of your landscape combined.
Everyone…and everything…loves a lush green lawn. That includes weeds, insects, moles and even fungi. Keeping them at bay can be like working a second job. That job starts right after the snow exposes grass. That’s when you can check the lawn to see if it was wet enough to attract any winter fungal diseases. These will show up as discolored patches, with gray being the most common.
Just take an iron rake to these patches. Rake out the dead grass and throw it in the trash, not on the compost pile. Healthy grass will fill in small, bare spots. Larger spots should be reseeded.
Rough up the area with the rake. Spread fertilizer and seed, rake it in and water it. If the grass appears thin, and bare soil peeks up between the blades of grass, it would be a good idea to overseed the whole lawn. Thick grass discourages weeds.
Applying pre-emergent crabgrass killer should be your next task. Crabgrass is, possibly, the peskiest weed in your lawn, and the only one that can be treated effectively only with a pre-emergent product. Pre-emergent prevents latent seeds from germinating.
Soon your lawn will turn yellow as dandelions bloom. I recommend treating the lawn with a pre-emergent broadleaf weed killer at the same time you apply the crabgrass pre-emergent. The broadleaf pre-emergent will prevent latent dandelion seeds and other broadleaf weed seeds that overwintered in your lawn from germinating.
It’s also going to need several fertilizer applications. The first can be applied at the same time as the pre-emergents to help the grass break dormancy and green up. The fertilizer package should tell you when subsequent applications should be made.
Don’t be surprised if a few dandelions and other broadleaf weeds pop up even if you applied pre-emergent. Their seeds may have been strong enough to germinate despite your treatment. Or, they may have blown in from neighboring yards. You can spot treat these, spraying broadleaf weed killer directly on each weed. Be sure you treat with BROADLEAF weed killer. This is a selective material that won’t harm your grass. Non-selective materials like Roundup will kill any plant it touches.
If you treated for grubs last fall, you probably don’t need to treat again this spring. The best way to be sure is to cut several one square foot pieces of sod in different parts of the lawn. Pull the sod back and check for grubs. They’re white and crescent shaped. If there are six or fewer in each square foot, they won’t do enough damage to warrant treatment. Seven or more calls for treatment. Be sure to check for grubs again in the fall. That’s when the next generation is just beginning to feed on your grass roots. Treating in the fall is better than treating in spring. The new hatch is smaller and weaker than those that overwintered beneath your lawn. As a result, the fall treatment is more effective.
Mowing is a weekly job from spring to fall, and the healthiest thing you can do for your lawn is to mow high. Set your mower deck height to 3.5 to four inches. Mowing high encourages deep, healthy roots and thick turf. Weeds like to grow where there’s open space, but your lush, thick turf won’t leave them any room.
This may seem like a lot of work, and you’d be right. It’s much easier to hire our lawn care professionals. They’ll make the necessary treatments at the most effective time. You won’t have to keep watching the calendar and the weather conditions and make everything fit into your schedule. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy your nice, green lawn, although you’ll be sitting on your mower at least once a week.