How Do You Care for Your Lawn in the Spring?
Enough of this sickening winter, let’s go to spring! Spring arrives on Thursday and we welcome it.
I’m all ready looking around outside of my home getting my mindset on my projects. There’s everything from work on the house itself to plants and the yard.
Let’s talk about your yard, the most important part of your outside environment. The lawn needs spring attention.
Start right now with the lawn mower before the grass begins to grow. Lawn mower blades need to be sharpened at least once a season to ensure a good quality of cut which minimizes leaf shredding from mowing with dull blades. That promotes better lawn health.
We got some spring lawn care tips from David Chalmers, Professor and SDSU Extension Turfgrass Associate. Chalmers said, ‘Your lawn care needs this spring are influenced by how well the lawn was cared for last fall.’
He adds that the less grass clippings removed the better. ‘Grass clippings are about 80 percent water by weight and dried clippings contain 2 to 5 percent nitrogen by weight and include other nutrients. When clippings are continually removed from a lawn, the benefits associated with on-site nutrient and organic matter cycling from grass clippings are missing.
Now on lawn care products to apply, Chalmers said, make certain to measure the lawn. ‘Lawn care products are recommended by the manufacturers in amounts to apply per 1,000-square-feet of lawn area.’
He suggested homeowners apply between 3/4 and 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000-square-foot. For those who did not apply fertilizer in the fall Chalmers said this spring application is certainly needed for moderate to high maintenance lawns.
You can go ahead and buy your fertilizer at any time but wait until you have mowed the lawn a few times before making the application. The only way to know if your lawn needs phosphorus or potassium is to get your soil tested explains Chalmers.
One common weed and feed is used on established lawns to control crabgrass as it germinates. If crabgrass was a problem last year, Chalmers said the best way to control it this year is with a spring applied crabgrass-type herbicides. These pre-emergence products need to be applied before crabgrass spouts so that is usually before lilac blooms in South Dakota, which is typically the last week of April to May 1.
When applying granular products for broadleaf weed control, like dandelion, on established lawns, it needs to be applied to moist weed leaf blades from dew or watering so the herbicide can stick to the weed leaves and be taken up for good control.
One question I had was regarding planting grass at this time of year. Get ready now to establish a new lawn or to overseed to renovate your existing lawn or patches in mid to late April. The earlier you can get this done, Chalmers said, the better the grass will grow in before summer stress.
If you do plant new grass, make sure to be very careful on what products you put down on newly seeded areas. Many products will kill grass that is not mature. Closely check the labels.
Now with that, I’m ready to get that yard looking like a golf course. Then yell at the kids to ‘Get Off My Lawn!’