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As the weather warms, the time for spring cleaning is upon us – and that doesn’t just apply to your house! Spring is the time to get your lawn in shape, as well. Cold weather during the winter can leave your grass weak because of the ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. Spring is the time to get your grass replenished and nourished so that you can have a lush, healthy lawn during the warmer months when you want to enjoy it. Here are some spring lawn care tips to get you ready for spring.
Timing is everything when it comes to landscaping. While many of us want to jump right in as soon as the weather is warm, starting on your lawn too early can actually compact the soil and kill new grass shoots before they are fully matured. Try to wait until your lawn has turned mostly green before doing any mowing or aerating. Check your soil to see if it is compacted. If it is, add aeration to your fall lawn care plan. It is not recommended to aerate your lawn in the spring.
While most of us associate raking with falling leaves in the fall, it is just as important to rake in the spring, as well. While there aren’t usually any leaves to rake this time of year, raking does help control thatch by breaking it up and allowing the grass underneath it to breathe. It also helps prevent mold and other diseases. Thatch is the intermingled layer of dead leaves, roots, and stems that accumulates under grass and soil. Thatch is considered excessive if it is more than 1/2″ thick.
Spring cleaning extends from your home to your yard. Your lawn usually sees higher traffic in the summer so cleaning it up in the spring will help prepare for that. Take a walk around your yard and dispose of any twigs, branches, and other debris that may have accumulated. Use your rake to get rid of any dead grass. Wait to put out lawn furniture or other items until the grass has matured and is fully green.
The harsh weather of winter combined with other environmental factors (dog urine spots, large objects like furniture and toys that were left out, areas of high traffic, etc) can cause bare or yellow patches on your lawn. Spring is the time to reseed these areas to fill them back in. After new seed is spread, water the area daily for the first week. Don’t mow these areas until the grass is at least 2 inches tall. If your grass is thin, spring is also the best time to overseed to help thicken these areas. After the overseeding is spread, water these areas daily for at least 2 weeks. A slow release nitrogen fertilizer can also be applied when you overseed and then again about 5 weeks after the grass starts to sprout.
Early spring is ideal for applying a fertilizer with weed killer to provide additional nourishment for your lawn. Best practice is to use a lighter fertilizer in the spring and save the heavier fertilizer for fall as this allows the grass to sustain nourishment over the colder winter months. Too much fertilizer in the spring can also allow disease and weeds to flourish.
This rule applies year-round. Any time you mow it is best to only remove about 1/3 of the total grass length at any given time. In early spring, mow at the highest setting based on the type of grass you have in your lawn. By leaving the grass taller you allow the roots to sink deeper and crowd out any weeds that may be emerging.
Edging in the spring helps prevent grass from invading your flower beds. Edging is best done by using a garden spade to cut a deep, V-shaped trench about 2-3″ deep around the edges of the flower beds. Once this is done, it can be maintained with a string trimmer throughout the summer and you can recut the trenches as you need to.
Weeds can quickly take over your lawn if left unchecked. There are two types of weed killers (also known as herbicides): pre-emergent and post-emergent. Pre-emergents kill weeds before seedlings can even emerge. Post-emergents kill weeds after they have germinated. Pre-emergents should be applied in conjunction with fertilizer so that it forms a barrier that prohibits the germination of the weed seeds. You should also avoid aeration when using a pre-emergent as this will puncture the barrier the herbicide provides and it won’t be effective. Post-emergents can be applied any time. Take caution when using these herbicides and make sure to read the product label carefully. Some post-emergent herbicides are selective meaning they only target weeds while other post-emergents will kill anything that is green, including your grass shrubs and flowers!
Hibernating grubs begin to crawl toward the surface of lawns to chew on grass roots in late spring. Therefore, a grub preventative product should be applied in early spring. It is especially important to treat for grubs if you had a problem with them in previous years or if you have a neighbor that you know has a problem with grubs.
Mowing season really picks up in the spring, making it the best time to clean and tune up your mower and other lawn equipment. Change the oil, air filters and spark plugs and make sure your gas can is full. Clean any dirt or old clippings that may still be lingering on your equipment. Sharpen blades and replace any that are necessary. If your mower has been stored for winter, leave it out in the sun for 1 to 2 hours to warm before cranking it up for the first time.
Lawn care can seem overwhelming, especially this time of year. While many enjoy working in their yards, others look at it as a chore. Whatever your situation, a professional lawn care company can provide you with a free lawn care analysis and set up the most appropriate treatments and timing to get your lawn healthy and green, not just in the spring but year-round.
Although the cold of winter has set in and your lawnmower is stored away for the year, don’t relax just yet! Lawn care services don’t end just because the weather has turned cold. While your lawn requires more maintenance in spring, summer, and fall, there are things you can do in the winter months to make sure you have a healthy, green lawn when the weather warms in the spring. Check out these 8 tips for winter lawn care.
Beginning in the fall, clear away any debris that has accumulated in your yard and do periodic sweeps throughout the winter. Early winter is the perfect time to rake up any matted areas as these can lead to old. Raking and mowing the debris in winter also encourages better air flow throughout the grass in your yard to prevent both disease and insect infestation. When new grass starts to grow in the spring, having the debris cleared away will allow them to grow without a struggle.
Although it’s a little early now, start thinking about how you want to control weeds as winter moves into spring. Pre-emergent crabgrass control should be applied in early spring before the soil temperatures reach 55-60 degrees. Once the temps warm up above 60 degrees, weed seeds have already begun to germinate and the pre-emergent weed control won’t be effective.
Another thing to start thinking about is core aeration which should also be done in late winter/early spring before the soil temperatures warm up above 60 degrees. Once temperatures are above 60 degrees, the voids that are left in your yard from the aeration will only serve as an open invitation for aggressive weed seeds to grow. Core aeration is important because it allows air to reach the root zone faster which leads to new growth and improved root development.
Winter can do a number on your yard with its harsh weather and cold temperatures. When spring comes around, you may need to make some much needed repairs to your lawn. Spring is a great time to reseed any damaged areas that developed over the winter months.
Applying fertilizer in the late winter/early spring can jump start your lawn from its dormant winter state. Fertilizer provides a build up of nutrients that will provide it with the strength it needs to withstand heat stress and drought throughout the warmer summer months.
Before winter sets in, clear your lawn of any clutter and do periodic sweeps throughout the winter season. Remove any debris, lawn furniture, logs from around your fire pit, toys, etc. If an object is left on the grass during cold weather or snowfall, it can cause large dead spots on your lawn because of the weight of the object. In spring, the grass in these dead areas will be stunted and thinner than the rest of your yard.
Try to avoid lawn traffic as much as possible in the winter months; walking on your lawn too much can weaken even the strongest grass, if the same path is walked over too many times. Make use of sidewalks and never allow anyone to park a car or truck on your lawn, as this will leave impressions in the soil and kill grass that’s underneath the tires.
If winter lawn care seems like a daunting task, don’t stress! Call a professional lawn care company who can come out and provide you with a free lawn care analysis. The Lawn Care team at Northwest can provide you with expert lawn care services and a customized program that includes lawn fertilization, weed control, lawn pest control, aeration and overseeding, tree and shrub care, and even disease control. Fill out the form below or give us a call to schedule your free lawn care analysis today!
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It’s a common myth that grass grows slower in the fall and doesn’t require as much maintenance when actually the opposite is true! In the fall your lawn is busy absorbing moisture, nutrients, and energy as it prepares for the long, hard winter that’s around the corner. Whether you live in an area where the winters are mild or an area where your yard stays covered in a blanket of snow, preparing now will help you reap a lush, green lawn in the spring. Check out these 10 tips for fall lawn care.
Leaves are no good for grass. They not only block the light from reaching your grass blades, they also trap moisture underneath them which can lead to fungus. Blow or rake your leaves as often as you can. Don’t wait until all the leaves have fallen before you get rid of them. It might be too late as fungus may have already set in.
Grass will continue to grow until the first hard frost of the year. The ideal height for your grass is 2-1/2″ to 3″ tall. If your grass is too long it can mat and leave your lawn vulnerable to fungus. If your grass is cut too short it can damage the roots and leave your lawn unable to tolerate the winter cold and dryness. Mowing will also get rid of any leaves that may have fallen and they can even be left behind as a nutritious mulch for your yard. Make sure to drop your mower blade to the lowest setting for the last 2 cuttings of the year.
Even though fall storms bring more rain and the cooler temperature means more dew on the ground in the mornings, this is still not enough moisture to maintain the hydration your lawn needs to prepare for winter. Grass needs at least 1″ of water per week. You can measure this with a simple rain gauge. Make sure to keep your sprinklers or irrigation system running until the end of October to make sure your lawn gets the hydration it needs.
Aeration should be done on a regular basis – once every couple of years. This prevents the soil from becoming too compacted and helps prevent thatch. Fall is the perfect time to aerate if your lawn needs it, especially before you fertilize. Aeration allows oxygen, water, and fertilizer to penetrate the soil and easily reach the grass roots, helping build up its energy and nutrient supply before the harsh conditions of winter.
If you only fertilize once a year, fall is the perfect time to do it. Fertilizer protects your grass’s roots from freezing and gives it the energy it needs to bounce back in the spring. Fertilizer should be applied in late fall, preferably after you aerate your lawn. Make sure you leave a 5′ buffer between your fertilizer and any water sources nearby.
Fall is a great time to overseed your existing lawn. Overseeding not only helps protect against weeds but also fills in any thin spots or bare patches you may have. Fall is ideal for overseeding because the ground is still warm, there is plenty of moisture, the temperatures are cool at night, and the temperatures aren’t as hot during the day.
Fall is also a good time to fight back against any weeds that may have taken over your yard. Weeds go into energy absorbing mode in the fall just like grass does. Apply an herbicide in the fall so the weeds will absorb it and won’t return in the spring.
Fall often brings more rain so your yard may be oversaturated with moisture. Walking on wet lawns can compact the soil, keeping the roots from getting important oxygen and nutrients. Stay off the wet lawn as much as possible. Don’t rake leaves when your lawn is too wet as you run the risk of pulling up the grass by its roots.
Before you put your tools away for the winter, make sure to clean them to prevent rust. Perform any winter maintenance that’s needed on your mowers and other lawn care machines. Put away your patio furniture, cushions, and grills, making sure to clean them before storing them. Fall is also a good time to check your gutters. Clean out any debris to prevent clogs before the fall rains. Consider installing gutter guards so you don’t have to climb a ladder to clean your gutters.
It can be hard to get each one of these tips done at the right time in the fall. Consider calling a professional that you can delegate some or all of these tasks to. A lawn care professional can provide you with a free lawn care analysis, set you up on a lawn care service schedule, fertilize, control weeds, and even provide pest control.
Just like any living being, lawns need TLC too. Throughout the seasons, climates, and general wear and tear, lawns can become damaged. The ground gets hard and compacted, not allowing water and nutrients to get through. This can make for an unhealthy lawn.
Aerating can be just what your lawn needs to allow it to “open back up” and be able to receive its water and nutrients again. Aerating consists of inserting holes into the lawn for better water and nutrient absorption, and eliminating thatch (organic and non-organic debris that settles between the green and the soil). All of this build up makes the soil hard and compacted. Aerating will loosen the compacted soil and allow your grass to grow faster and thicker.
Aeration will make your lawn treatments more effective. Oxygen, fertilizer, water, and other nutrients will be better absorbed.
It is recommended that cool season grass be aerated in the fall. Warm season grass should be aerated in spring or summer.
For more information on aeration and other lawn care services, contact the professionals at Northwest Lawn Care. We will come out and do a FREE lawn care analysis of your lawn and work with you to create a customized lawn care program that is right for your yard.