Winter can ravage your lawn, leaving yellow spots, brown grass, or even bare patches when the weather starts to warm up. Don’t worry – there’s still hope! You can bring your lawn back to life just in time for warm weather. Here are 5 spring lawn care tips to bring your yard back vibrant and green.
Identify the Issue
It’s important to know the difference between dormant grass and dead grass. If you live in an area with a warm climate (e.g. the southeastern United States), you likely have warm-season grass in your yard. This type of grass naturally goes dormant over the winter but should return to it’s lush, green state by late spring or early summer. If you walk on your brown or yellow grass and it crunches under your feet don’t fret – it’s still in its dormant state and should wake up soon.
Signs that your grass is dead include a pink, white, red, or black color; water doesn’t help it grow; the sun makes it worse rather than better; it feels spongy to walk on; or you can easily pull up sections of your lawn and not just handfuls of grass. Grass can die for a number of reasons including harsh winter weather, fungus or lawn disease, drought, thatch, overwatering, overfertilizing, pests, or excessive pet urine. If this is the case, reseeding or sodding may be in your future.
Prepare Your Lawn
The best time to revitalize your lawn is early spring and fall. These are the optimal growth seasons for turf and provide a moderate climate for grass to thrive. Once spring arrives, the first step is to get rid of any weeds that have taken over during the winter. Weeds compete with grass for nutrients, light, and water. If you are using weed killers rather than weeding by hand, prepare ahead of time. These herbicides stop the growth of both weeds AND new grass for about 3 weeks. Once the weeds have been eliminated, mow your grass to a height of 1 inch and rake afterwards to remove any debris and dead grass. This also helps loosen the bare soil to prepare for fertilizing and reseeding.
Boost Your Lawn
Your lawn can be boosted with fertilizer, soil enhancer, or by seeding or laying sod. Grass can’t live without nitrogen, which promotes healthy, green growth. Applying fertilizer gives your grass a boost of necessary nitrogen at the start of its growing season. Soil enhancer are minerals you can add to your lawn’s soil to influence the soil condition in an effort to help new grass take root and grow better.
If you have brown or bare spots, you may have to reseed your lawn or put down sod. Reseeding is a less expensive, less labor intensive alternative to sod. It only allows a small window of time to plant, however, and increases your chance of weeds. Seeding means more maintenance in the early stages, as well, and a longer time for seed to mature. Sodding is quicker and gives a longer window of time to put grass down. You also have little to no weeds with sod. It is more expensive and more labor intensive, however, and the sod may not take the first time it’s put down.
Water Your Lawn
It is important to water your lawn consistently to bring it back to its vibrant, green status. Grass seed needs consistent watering in order to germinate and establish strong, healthy roots. Soil should be watered daily when seed is first put down to stay consistently moist. If temperatures are considerably high, you may need to water twice a day. This should continue until the grass sprouts and grows tall enough for its first mow (usually 3 to 4 inches in height). Once you reach this point, you can transition to a regular watering schedule that gives your lawn about 1 inch of water per week.
Once you put the work into restoring your lawn, it’s important to set up a maintenance routine to keep it that way all season. Mow often enough to keep your grass at the recommended height (making sure not to remove more than 1/3 of its height in a single mow). Adjust your watering schedule to accommodate periods of heavy rain or drought. Fertilize and feed as necessary.
If your lawn could use a boost or you just need a helping hand getting it back in shape, contact your local lawn care company for a free lawn care analysis and maintenance plan that’s tailored to you and your yard.
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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.
Don’t Start Too Early
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.
Rake In the Spring and Fall
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.
Clean Up and Out
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.
Nourish and Repair
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.
Fertilize Your Lawn
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.
Keep Your Mower Height High
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.
Edge Your Flower Beds
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.
Get Rid of Weeds
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!
Eliminate The Grubs
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.
Tune Up Your Tools
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.
Call The Pros
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.
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Winter weather can wreak havoc on your lawn. The cold weather can leave your grass and landscaping weak after the freezing temperatures, ice, and snow. While fall is ideally the best time to prepare your lawn for this brutal weather, spring is also an important time for lawn care. How do you get your lawn ready for spring? Follow these spring lawn care tips to ensure you have a lush, healthy lawn this spring and beyond.
Timing Is Everything
Don’t start too early! While it can be tempting to get out and get started on your lawn as soon as the weather starts to warm up, spending too much time on it before it is green can cause compacting of the grass and soil or killing new grass shoots before they get a chance to fully mature. Best practice is to wait until the lawn has turned mostly green before mowing or aerating. Check your lawn for compaction in the spring. If you find evidence of compacted soil, make plans to aerate in the fall. Aeration isn’t recommended in the spring.
Raking Isn’t Just For Fall
Raking isn’t a chore reserved just for the fall season. Raking in the spring is equally important. That’s because raking in the spring isn’t just for leaves – it also helps control thatch (a tightly intermingled layer of living and dead stems, leaves, and roots which accumulates between the layer of actively growing grass and the soil underneath). More than a 1/2″ layer of thatch is considered excessive. Raking helps break this up and removes it to allow the grass underneath to breathe. It also helps avoid mold and other diseases.
Spring is also a great time to clean up your yard before the high traffic volume of summer. Walk your yard and clean up any twigs, branches, and other debris that may have accumulated over the winter. Rake out any dead grasses you find.
Repair And Replenish
Winter can leave your yard with bare patches as a result of dog spots, neglect, high traffic, or large objects that were left out, such as lawn furniture and toys. These bare spots can be repaired by reseeding in the spring. After applying the new seed, the area should be watered daily for at least the first week and shouldn’t be mowed until the grass is at least 2 inches tall. If your thin grass needs to be thickened, you can also overseed in the spring. After overseeding, water the areas daily for at least 2 weeks. A slow release nitrogen fertilizer should also be applied when you overseed and again at 5 weeks after germination.
Fertilizer with weed killer should be applied in early spring. This not only provides nourishment for your lawn but also allows plant roots the means for strong growth. It is recommended to do a lighter fertilizer feed in the spring and a heavier fertilizer feed in the fall so as to sustain nourishment over the harsh winter months. Too much fertilizer in the spring can lead to disease and can also encourage the growth of weeds.
A good rule of thumb for mowing any time of the year is to only remove 1/3 of the total grass length at a given time. In early spring, cut your grass at the highest setting based on your lawn’s type of grass. Leaving the grass taller sinks deeper roots and also helps to crowd out emerging weeds.
Edge The Beds
Edging flower beds in the spring helps to keep grass growth from invading the beds. Edging can be done by using a sharp garden spade to cut a 2-3″ deep, V-shaped trench along the bed edges. This edging can be maintained with a string trimmer throughout the growing season and the trenches can be recut as needed.
Herbicides come in two varieties – preemergent and postemergent. Preemergent herbicides kill weeds before seedlings can emerge. Postemergent herbicides kill weeds after they have germinated. The application of a preemergent herbicide should be done hand-in-hand with the application of fertilizer. The preemergent herbicide forms a “shield” that prohibits seed germination. If you apply a preemergent don’t core aerate as this will puncture the “shield” and the herbicide will no longer be effective. Postemergents can be applied at any time. However, you should use caution and read the product label. Some postemergents are selective and will only target weeds while others will kill anything green – including grass, shrubs, and flowers.
Get Rid Of The Grubs
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 grubs in previous years or if you have a neighbor that you know has a problem with grubs.
Give Your Mower A Tune Up
Mowing season begins to rev up in the spring. Spring is the time to tune up and clean up your mower to get ready for use during the growing season. Change the oil, air filters, and spark plug and fill it up with gas. Clean any dirt or grass clippings that remain on the mower. Sharpen the mower blade or replace it if necessary. Before your first use in the spring, warm the mower up by letting it sit in the sun for 1 to 2 hours before cranking it. This can make it easier to start after the long winter hiatus.
Call A Pro
Lawn care can be daunting. Some people enjoy it while others look at it as a burdensome chore. Whatever the situation, a professional lawn care service can provide you with proper analysis,treatment, and timing which are critical in achieving a green, healthy lawn not only in the spring, but year-round. Contact us for a free lawn care analysis.
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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.
1. Clean Up The Yard
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.
2. Control The Weeds
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.
3. Core Aerate
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.
4. Repair Your Lawn
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.
6. Clear The Clutter
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.
7. Keep Off The Lawn
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.
8. Professional Lawn Care Services
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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Calls have been coming into our office with homeowner’s wanting to know why they have mushrooms in their lawn. Mushrooms come from a mixture of moisture (we’ve had a good amount of rain lately), cloudy weather, and organic material such as old mulch, animal waste, or rotting tree stumps.
Mushrooms are the reproductive part of fungi that lives in the soil. Not only are mushrooms an eyesore to your healthy lawn but you don’t want children or pets to have access to them.
You can get rid of the mushrooms by manually removing them from your yard but that still does not take care of the problem. Chances are the mushrooms will return. Mushrooms will often go away when the sun comes out and the soil dries up.
There are preventative measures that you can take to prevent mushrooms from showing up in your lawn:
- Decrease shade – Mushrooms like shade so trim back any branches in problem areas. The more sunshine, the less likely you will see mushrooms.
- Decrease moisture – Moisture in lawns enable mushrooms to thrive. If you have standing water your soil may be compacted and you may need to aerate your lawn.
- Dethatch your lawn – Excess thatch in the lawn absorbs moisture and enables mushrooms to grow.
- Tree Stumps – A place where a tree used to be, even if the stump is removed, can be a breeding place for mushrooms. The dead roots underground can be a cause for mushroom growth. Keep the area aerated and clear (raking helps).
- Pet waste – Remove any pet waste on the lawn on a regular basis.
If you have mushrooms in your yard it is best to call a professional lawn care company to diagnose the problem. Mushrooms can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem with your lawn.
Northwest Lawn Care professionals will do a Free Lawn Care Analysis and develop a customized plan to help get your lawn back on track to the healthy lawn that we all desire.