This spring, take care of your lawn right from the beginning and you will have an easier time maintaining your lawn through the summer. Here are 7 tips to get you going down the right path.
Spring Yard Care Tip #1: Raking
Use a machine or get some exercise and do it the old fashioned way, but please rake your lawn this spring. The rake should have a solid tine. Don't use a flimsy leaf rake. The purpose is to rake away the thatch building up on your lawn and give way for new growth. Thatch is a thick build-up of excess grass clippings above the soil.
Spring Yard Care Tip #2: Over Seeding
If your lawn is full of bare patches due to pets (you know what I mean), or has had heavy foot traffic, you may need to apply grass seed to fill in the bare patches. This process is called “over seeding”. This is a simple three-steps process. 1) Depending on the area to cover, sprinkle the bare or thin area with grass mix seed. 2) Apply a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to the newly seeded areas. 3) Apply a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer to the new grass when it has been up about five weeks. Of course the best times to over seed are in the fall, but if you did not do it then, do it now.
Spring Yard Care Tip #3: Fertilizing
An effective and economical way to fertilize your lawn is by using a combination of composting and mulching. Use of a mulching mower and mowing the lawn before it gets too tall will benefit the growing grass. The nutrients in the grass clippings decompose and feed the growing lawn.
The chemical fertilizer method is also effective. Many experts suggest a simple, lightweight fertilizer in spring and in the fall apply a heavier application. The idea is that if you fertilized in late fall then, your lawn is still processing that fertilizer in spring. Too much fertilizer in spring can promote disease and cause weeds to outpace the grass causing you weed grief.
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Spring Yard Care Tip #4: Pre-emergent Herbicides
If crabgrass is a problem in your lawn, then consider the application of pre-emergent herbicides. Pre-emergent herbicides attempt to prevent the seed from germinating. This is accomplished by creating a "shield" that slows down seed germination and gives desirable grass time to grow. Please note that pre-emergent herbicides also work against grass seeds. If you need to over seeding, consider waiting until the fall when crabgrass is not a problem.
Spring Yard Care Tip #5: Post-emergent Herbicides (A.K.A. Pulling Weeds)
Pesky dandelions! Your minimum effort is to remove the yellow flower before they go to seed, better yet, dig them out by the roots. If you prefer to spray for weeds in your lawn, use a broadleaf herbicide.
Spring Yard Care Tip #6: Lawn Mowing Strategies
There is more to lawn care than watering and mowing. Good lawn health is stimulated by mowing and promotes the growth of your grass making it appear more healthy and full. Also, when you mow your lawn, alternate the direction you mow to prevent ruts in your lawn and avoid the lawn mower blade thrashing at the grass in the same direction at every mowing.
Spring Yard Care Tip #7: Mowing Height
The rule of thumb suggested by the Cornell University Cooperative Extension is, “Mow when your grass is dry and 3 to 3-1/2 inches tall. Never cut it shorter than 2 to 2-1/2 inches or remove more than one third of the leaf surface at any one mowing.”
Cutting your lawn too short can stress it out, especially during periods of hot weather. In addition, cutting the lawn stimulates growth and increases thickness. Lighter cuts may mean that you cut more times overall during the growing season, but remember, you get out of your yard what you put into it.
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