When spring arrives, make sure your yard and landscaping are ready for the upcoming warm weather. You will want your grass to come back healthy and beautiful.
Unfortunately, too many people assume that growing a lawn is simple. The grass just needs water, right? But, like most plants, grass has specific needs, and over time it will not remain healthy if it is not treated properly. Here’s how to help you grass recover after winter.
By the time spring arrives, your lawn might be a muddle of slimy leaf fragments, dead blades of grass, bits of mulch, and clumps of soil. Your lawn care regimen should begin with removing the debris that will choke or shadow your grass.
Before your lawn care company arrives, take time to clean up things like sleds left out on the lawn by kids, any trash that might have blown onto your property, or anything that might be lying on the grass and preventing it from getting sunlight, such as a tarp or even pieces of wood.
The next task for healthy spring grass is aeration. Over time, grass-root systems become dense and crowded, so they do not have as much access to nutrients they need, including oxygen. Aeration may look damaging at first; when you aerate your lawn, you remove chunks of grass and dirt, leaving small holes and small chunks of dirt and roots scattered over the lawn.
However, this process helps the grass as it comes back for the spring season. The roots are less crowded, so the grass can flourish. The soil drains better, so the roots can more easily get the water they need.
If you noticed that your grass was starting to look old or matted by the end of last year, contacting a lawn care company for aeration services is a great step in the right direction.
When do you worry about starting to water your grass? Grass loves water, and if you had a dry winter or you aren’t getting much rain during the spring, you might need to water your grass to help jumpstart spring growth. Early spring watering can help your grass get started for the season.
However, too many people assume that more water is always better. Periods of dryness, especially when your grass is coming back from winter dormancy, can help the roots to grow deeper in search of moisture. Do not water every day. Give your grass a few days between waterings in order to encourage this root development.
If you are not sure about when to start watering, your lawn care company can help you set up the ideal schedule for watering based on drought conditions and your current grass health.
So now that your grass is clean, aerated, and watered, you sit back and watch the growth begin as the days get warmer and lengthen. Then you have a new problem: when is the best time to start mowing the lawn?
New spring grass growth is important for long-term lawn health, so cutting that growth too early actually can hurt your grass. Give your grass a good amount of growing time before you begin your routine mowing maintenance. Longer grass lengths help discourage weed growth, and the long grass also helps the roots to remain healthy.
When discussing mowing with your lawn care service, don’t worry if your grass is looking a bit long, especially early in the season. Grass that is routinely cut too short will eventually yellow, thin out, and die.
What about fertilizer? Every lawn has different needs. Spring is a good time for fertilizer if your grass needs it. The explosion of growth after winter dormancy means your grass needs more nutrients.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to assess your lawn’s fertilizing needs on your own. Over-fertilizing your grass can cause a lot of damage. Instead, have your soil quality tested and then adjust the nutrition your grass gets based on the results.
You also don’t want to use any fertilizers or weed killers without the assistance of a professional. Some fertilizers can be harmful to trees, and some weed killers can also hurt other plants in your landscape.
Finally, there are some lawns that need serious TLC after a hard winter. If your grass comes back looking patchy, yellow, grey, or if it really seems to be struggling, talk to a professional. Your lawn might need patching with sod, it might need reseeding, or it might require treatment for diseases.
At Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc., we can help you get to the bottom of why your lawn might be struggling. It might be a case of too much foot traffic, pests in the soil, or the effects of animal waste. With the right care, your lawn can look beautiful this spring.