Effective lawn care is a year-round process. But, it’s easy to let your lawn go in the winter. We’ve all been there. And if that’s the case, the cold winter weather has mostly likely left your grass dry and dull. Now is the time to bring it back to life get your lawn healthy again so you can maximize its green days this summer. Here’s what you can do:
Get rid of debris, weeds and thatch build-up. Thatch – tangled grass, stems and roots that accumulate on the soil’s surface – can prevent your lawn from getting the nutrients it needs to thrive. To remove thatch, mow grass shorter than your normally would (about 1″ high). Then, use a hand or machine-powered thatch remover or thatch rake (which you can rent from your local hardware store). For heavily compacted lawns, aeration is recommended.
Test your soil’s pH levels. You can do this yourself or by getting a free lawn analysis from your local lawn care company. If the pH is low, you’ll need to add lime to your lawn. If the pH is too high, you’ll need to add a compound, like ammonium sulfate, or sulfur, that will raise your lawn’s pH level. If you’re not familiar with how much lime or sulfur to use or when appropriate application times are, contact a professional; too much of either can damage your lawn.
Control and prevent weeds by using pre-emergent weed control products. These products usually last around 3 months so plan to re-apply again later in the summer.
If your grass is patchy, you may consider overseeding, or wait for grass to fill in on it’s own. This will take longer but is recommended if you’ve recently applied weed control products (wait at least a month before seeding after using herbicides).
Now that you’ve removed thatch, regulated soil’s pH levels, and controlled weeds, your lawn is ready for nourishment. For warm-season turf, fertilize once your grass is green again, usually in April or early May. For cool-season turf, fertilize lightly using a slow-release fertilizer; a heavier feeding is recommended in the Fall when grass is in peak growing season.
Establish a mowing and watering schedule. For best results, cut grass at 1/3 or less of the blade length at a time. Once grass is growing, give your lawn at least 1″ of water a week.
Address pest issues. Common insects, like grubs, can cause damage to your lawn; use preventative or curative pesticides and water the grass after, so that the products penetrate the soil. Reseeding may be necessary to address dead patches.
Now may be a good time to aerate your lawn. Aeration allows nutrients, oxygen, and water to reach the grass’ roots and is usually done in the Fall for cool-season turf and early to mid-summer for warm-season turf.
Feeling overwhelmed? Call a pro. Every lawn is different and comes with its own challenges and needs, AND lawn care service is often cheaper than DIY methods. Then you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your lawn while someone else takes care of it for you.