Lawn Care

After a long winter, it's time to care for your lawn and get it healthy and green. Spring is when your grass is starting to grow again. Soil conditions and the weather are also unpredictable. Focusing on caring for your lawn during the spring will give grass a good chance of looking lush throughout the warm months. At the same time, ongoing care during the summer is also essential for keeping your lawn looking beautiful.

Know Your Grass

When grass grows and the way to care for it depends on the type of grass you have growing on your lawn. Knowing when the peak season for your grass is will help you care for it at the ideal time to keep your lawn green and healthy. Cool season grasses include bluegrass, rye and fescue. They grow during the spring but have their biggest growth during the fall. During the summer, these types of grasses do not grow. This means they need special attention in the spring so they are strong during the hot summer. Warm season grasses include St. Augustine, centipede, Zoysia and Bermuda variants. They are ideal for hot conditions. They start to grow in late spring after the last frost of the year. Most growth takes place in the middle of the summer.

Tidy Your Lawn

Heavy work on your lawn should only happen once the soil is dry. Walking and raking soggy soil can damage grass shoots. Once the soil has dried out, de-clutter your lawn by removing debris that has accumulated over the winter months. You should keep your lawn free of leaves, grass clippings and other debris to prevent them from smothering the lawn. This will help encourage grass growth. A good spring cleaning will also prevent pests and diseases that affect the health of the grass.

Spring is a good time to start preventing the growth of weeds in your lawn. Using a pre-emergent weed control herbicide will prevent seeds from sprouting. Re-applying the herbicide during the summer will also help keep your lawn healthy since these products typically work for only three months. Keep in mind that the using herbicide will also prevent grass seed from germinating, so time its use appropriately depending on the type of grass. Avoid using week control products in hot weather, especially when temperatures are above 85 degrees.

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Seeding and Fertilizing Tips

Seeding and planting to fill bare areas or for planting a new lawn needs to be timed according to the grass variant. For cool season grasses, plant seeds once the temperatures are in the 60s. This will ensure the grass has time to grow before the hot weather hits and the grass becomes dormant in terms of growth. You might want to consider planting a new lawn during the fall, especially if you plan to use herbicide in the spring. Efforts in the spring can then focus on dealing with patchy spots. Avoid using too much fertilizer in the spring and instead use a slow-release fertilizer. Heavier use of a fertilizer is best for the fall when the grass is at its peak growth period. Warm season grasses should be planted when the mercury consistently hits the 70s and there is no risk of frost. You should plan for a late spring planting. You should also fertilize during this period, right when the lawn starts looking green and growing.

Watering and Mowing Tips

Your lawn should get about an inch of water each week. The lawn should be watered even when the grass is not growing. When it is cold outside, the cold air can dry your lawn and plants. If your grass has become brittle or brown, do not try to over water the lawn. Keep watering as normal and the grass will revive itself once its peak growing season returns. During the summer, cool season grasses need to be well watered. Even warm season grasses struggle when temperatures reach 80. Use more water during very hot weather and water early in the day when temperatures are cooler to avoid quick evaporation. Mowing your lawn should be as needed, but avoid cutting more than a third of the length of the grass blades. Keeping grass longer during the summer will help protect the grass and the soil. Grass blades should be about three or four inches for cool season grass and two to three inches for warm season grass. Also, make sure the blades of your mower are sharp to prevent damage to the grass.