Springtime = Lawn Time. Let the Fun Begin!
A soft, lush green lawn—it reminds us of carefree afternoons, playing in the yard and soaking up the sun. For some, working in the yard is a pleasant escape and for others, it’s not so pleasant. No matter your relationship with your lawn, most people enjoy the results of a well-manicured lawn and strive towards that perfection yearly. Springtime is go time for caring for your lawn, and it’s always helpful to have a plan. Below are important steps to take for ultimate lawn success.
If you live in the Triangle, then you live in the Piedmont Region of North Carolina, and you are in luck. Piedmont growers can grow both warm and cool-season varieties of grass.
Cool-season grasses include Tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, Perennial ryegrass and Fine fescue. Warm-season grasses include Bermudagrass, Zoysia, Centipede and St. Augustine. Fuller typically uses Bermudagrass because it tends to be low maintenance yet durable, easily standing up to heavy foot traffic. To best support your lawn, it’s important to know what type of grass you have.
Identify and Remove Damaged Turf
Depending on the severity of winter, you may have damaged or dead turf. Therefore, your first step each spring should be to examine your lawn for any damaged patches. A Houselogic article reports,
The best way to see if your lawn is dead or sleeping is to tug on the brown areas. If the turf comes up easily, the roots have failed and the grass is dead. If there’s resistance, there’s hope.
Fortunately, the Triangle’s mild climate doesn’t include an abundance of snow or ice storms nor are the streets frequently salted, so turf here normally escapes winter unscathed.
Preparing equipment is something everyone knows should be done annually, but even so, it normally gets ignored or forgotten. No matter how amazing your lawn mower performed last year, it most likely sat dormant for multiple months. It needs a tune-up. Be certain to: (1) sharpen mower blades; (2) install new spark plug and air filter; and (3) buy fresh gas (and dispose of old gas properly). Once your lawn mower is in top operating condition, clean up the lawn before mowing to keep it humming all season long.
Test Soil pH
Another smart annual move is to test your soil’s pH level. In North Carolina, low acidity in lawns is common. Purchasing an inexpensive soil kit at a home improvement store helps you determine whether your lawn needs an application of agricultural lime, the only solution for lawns with low pH.
Even lawns sometimes need a little room to breathe. Time to aerate? Use a table fork to see if you are able to penetrate the lawn two inches. If you cannot, it’s time to aerate. This means perforating small holes into the lawn, permitting air, water and nutrients to reach the grass roots. Just do so before the soil temperature hits 60 degrees. Rent an aeration machine from the local hardware store and, for best results, work when the soil is damp.
Preferably, seeding should take place before April showers, but sometimes, this just doesn’t happen. It’s important to sufficiently irrigate new seeds because they require more water than mature grass. You can also top the seeds with straw to help keep them in place. Overseeding your lawn—adding seed to existing turf—grows thicker grass and promotes color variation.
If you get started early enough, use a pre-emergent on your lawn; it needs to be applied before soil temperatures hit 58 degrees, which is when crabgrass starts to germinate. Consider purchasing an inexpensive soil thermometer for this task. If you missed this step, no worries. Regular fertilization should occur when grass is actively growing—for cool-season grasses, spring or fall and for warm-season grasses, summer.
Do not mow too early in the spring! Although many do not follow this logic, early mowing could damage your lawn’s overall health. And when you do give it that first cut, use the high setting. In fact, depending on the grass type, avoid cutting below 2 inches or leaving grass to grow above 4 inches, as a rule of thumb.
The benefits of a beautiful lawn are many: your kids like you; your neighbors like you; your HOA likes you. Not to mention, you feel the personal satisfaction of a job well done. Lush lawns also improve property values and promote environmental health. Like any job, if you break the process down into these steps, your lawn is bound to soon earn you the neighborhood’s coveted
Yard of the Month award.
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