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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Now that spring is within sight, it’s time to get your lawn ready for warmer weather. Winter can leave grass, shrubs and trees weak and hungry for nutrients. Ensuring the proper spring lawn care now can lead to a lush, green yard throughout the rest of the year. Here are 8 tips for preparing your lawn for spring.
Now is the time to clean up leaves, twigs, and other debris in your yard. This debris can get stuck in lawnmowers and can also prevent fertilizer and other nutrients from being properly absorbed by your lawn. Use a rake or an air blower to get rid of as much debris as possible.
Use Fertilizer and Herbicides
After the harsh weather of winter, grass is hungry for essential nutrients needed for growth in the spring. At the same time, weeds will start to emerge as the weather warms up. Early spring is the best time to go ahead and apply fertilizer to feed your turf along with a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent crabgrass. 6 to 8 weeks after this, reapply your fertilizer and pre-emergent again, along with a broadleaf weed killer. There are several combination products on the market to help cut down on cost and the number of products you have to apply.
Cut the Grass
Letting grass grow too high between cuts can actually stunt roots, preventing them from reproducing and growing properly. Instead of mowing once per week, try to cut your grass every 5 days, at least for the first 6 weeks of spring. This can help lead to a fuller, thicker lawn.
Choose the Right Mulch
Once your lawn is taken care of, it’s time to turn your attention to your landscaping, especially mulch. Edge out your flower beds and trim back any dead branches on your shrubs. Now is also the perfect time to replace your mulch, giving your landscaping a much needed “spring cleaning.” Try to use a heavier mulch rather than wood chips for longer durability.
Winter can wreak havoc on your trees along with your lawn. It can be difficult to tell if tree branches are dead without actually getting up into the tree to inspect them. Falling tree limbs can cause damage to your property and injury to yourself or others nearby. Consider hiring a professional tree service to come out every 3 years and do a “safety trim” on your trees.
Save Seeding for Fall
If you are using a pre-emergent herbicide or weed killer in the spring, new seeds you sow will not germinate. For this reason, it’s better to overseed or reseed your lawn in the fall. For brown spots, fertilize in the spring and new shoots will help fill in these areas. If bare patches are too big or you just can’t wait for fall, consider laying sod instead of reseeding.
Rake the Yard
Raking isn’t just a fall chore. Not only does it get rid of any residual leaves left over from winter, but it also removes dead grass blades, helping to prevent the accumulation of thatch which can prevent nutrients and water from getting to roots. Raking deeply can also break up any existing thatch, leading to healthier growth of your lawn. It’s best to wait to rake until your grass has started to green up, indicating roots are fully rooted and the grass is actively growing. Use a flexible leaf rake rather than a stiff metal rake. Make sure you rake deeply and vigorously.
Aerate if Necessary
Although it is best to aerate in the fall, circumstances may require you to do it in the spring instead. This is especially true for areas that get heavy traffic which can lead to soil compaction. An aerator creates openings in the turf to allow water and air to penetrate the soil and reach the roots. If done in the spring, these holes also provide the ideal location for weeds to thrive.
Spring lawn care can be a daunting task. Contact your local lawn care company for a free analysis and help with your spring lawn care plans.
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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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Spring can be a busy time for lawn care. The weather is highly unpredictable, plants are just emerging after the winter cold and can be tender and delicate, and the soil is thawing from the winter freeze. Taking the appropriate steps early in the season can help ensure a lush, green lawn throughout the rest of the year. Check out this step-by-step lawn care guide to help get your lawn ready this spring.
1. Get Rid of Weeds
A few weeds in your lawn are inevitable. These can be pulled by hand or with a handheld weeder or hoe. Make sure to pull them out completely, roots and all. If you have an abundance of weeds, use an herbicide directly on the offenders or apply a weed and feed product to the entire lawn. If dandelions are a problem, they can be sprayed with diluted vinegar. Crabgrass can be treated by raising the mower blades higher and watering less frequently.
Thatch is the matted accumulation of organic debris that collects between grass blades and roots. Thatch can cause dead patches in your lawn and open spaces for weeds to proliferate. Inspect your lawn for signs of thatch. Thatch can be removed with a thatching rake or a power dethatcher. Recovery from dethatching takes about 3 to 4 weeks.
Inspect your lawn to see if aeration is needed. Dig a 1 square foot section of your lawn and examine the roots. If the roots don’t extend deeper than 2 inches, your lawn needs to be aerated. Make sure to water the lawn for 1 to 2 days before you aerate. Use a core aerator over the lawn once. After aeration is done, apply compost or sand over the entire lawn.
4. Reseed and Overseed
Before applying any seed, check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to make sure what seed works best for your lawn. In early spring or fall, overseed with a cool season grass (rye, fescue, Kentucky bluegrass) and overseed with a warm season grass (Bermuda or Zoysia) early in the summer. To get an even application apply the seed with a broadcast seeder. Water the seed to help it establish.
A healthy lawn is denser, making it better able to resist weeds. When mowing, only remove about 1/3″ off the top of the grass. Set your mower deck height so that the grass is about 2-1/2″ to 3″ tall. Taller grass helps shade out weed seeds and prevents them from germinating. Try alternating your mowing pattern by mowing at a 45 to 90 degree angle from your last mow. This helps prevent soil impaction and helps grass grow upright. Also make sure to keep your mower blades sharp.
6. Water and Fertilize
Watering provides adequate moisture to grass, especially during times of heat or drought. If possible, try to water early in the morning when the air is cooler so there is less evaporation. For warm season grasses, spring is the ideal time to apply fertilizer when the lawn is actively growing (approximately 6 weeks after the last frost). Cool season grasses benefit from fall fertilization.
7. Mulch and Clean
Spring is the best time to clean up any leaves, twigs, and other debris left over from winter. Edge your beds, trim back dried branches on shrubs, and replace the mulch.
8. Call a Pro
You always have the option of calling a professional lawn care service to help with your lawn maintenance throughout the year. Proper analysis, treatment, and timing are critical in achieving a green, healthy lawn. Lawn care professionals are experts in all aspects of lawn care and use technologically advanced products for your lawn. Click here to request a free lawn care analysis and get started with your professional lawn service today.
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8 Steps to a Healthier Lawn
Summer is a very stressful time for your lawn. The combination of the beating sun and heat, increased foot traffic, water deprivation, weeds, and pests can be detrimental to the health of your lawn. Because of this, Americans spend about $8.5 billion on lawn care services each year. No matter how much you spend, these factors can combine to leave you with yellow patches or even turn your grass brown under the heat and stress of summer. A brown lawn doesn’t necessarily mean dead grass, though; cool season grasses go dormant in the summer, turning brown as a defense mechanism against the heat and turning green again when they are revitalized in the cooler weather of fall. Nonetheless, there are some things you can do to ensure a lush green lawn despite the heat. Check out these lawn care tips to keep your grass green this summer.
Mow high in the summer months. Grass should be left about 3 inches tall as this provides more shade for the root system and keeps it cooler in the summer. Leaving the blades taller also encourages the grass to develop stronger, deeper root systems. Mowing should be done in the early morning or early evening to avoid the peak daytime heat. Make sure your mower is kept in good repair, as well. A poorly maintained mower can do more damage than good to your yard. Make sure mower blades are sharpened – dull blades tear the grass versus cutting it which can leave brown tips on the grass blades. Make sure the oil, filters, and spark plugs are changed, as well.
Know when your lawn needs watering. You can usually tell grass is ready for a drink when it turns a bluish-gray color or if it stays matted down when you step on it rather than springing back up. Be mindful of how often you water, as well. Be mindful of any drought restrictions in your area before you water. Watering should be done consistently and deeply once or twice per week rather than a shallow watering daily.. Your lawn only needs 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week to keep its green color. Water early in the morning so that your lawn has time to dry out over the course of the day. Watering in the evening leaves dampness in the soil overnight that can lead to fungal disease. Don’t water your lawn with hot water. Don’t leave your garden hose out with water in it as this water can get hot enough to scald the grass blades in your lawn. Always empty your garden hose after each use; if you forget, make sure you flush the hot water out before you start watering.
Cool season grasses go dormant in the summer so you should wait to fertilize those in the fall. Fertilizing in the summer can trigger new growth which will ultimately turn brown. Warm season grasses should be fertilized every 6 weeks. If this causes your lawn to grow too quickly, switch to a fertilizer with a lower nitrogen content to slow the growth. Using a mulching mower can also help to naturally fertilize your lawn by recycling the nutrients in grass clippings back into the soil. Fertilizer should be applied evenly and judiciously. Too much fertilizer can also turn your lawn brown.
Maintaining your lawn can also help preserve its green color in the summer. When your pets do their business on the grass, they are essentially over-fertilizing that area with the additional nitrogen in their urine. If you notice yellow or bare patches where your pets often go, overseed them to keep them in good repair. Summer also brings extra foot traffic on your grass. Heavy foot traffic, especially on wet soil, can lead to soil compaction which prevents air from getting to the grass roots. Try to avoid walking on the grass as much as possible.
CALLING THE PROS
While the tips above can help keep your lawn green in the summer heat, sometimes assistance is still needed. Proper analysis, treatment, and timing are critical in achieving a green, healthy lawn. A professional lawn service like Northwest can provide you with a free analysis of your lawn’s current condition to determine an effective treatment plan; lawn fertilization; treatment for insects that cause damage to your lawn, including grubs, chinch bugs, and army worms; existing and preventative weed control with post emergent and pre emergent herbicides; a year-round service schedule for the healthiest, greenest lawn possible; and a service guarantee to come back in between regular scheduled visits, if needed, at no additional cost to you. Contact us today for a free lawn care analysis.
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