Winter has finally come and gone. The most anticipated season of the year for the avid lawn and garden enthusiast is within sight. The wintered to-do list, collecting spring-time thoughts since the first frost, prepares to jump into action and disclose its bounty of satisfying chores and seasonal tasks. Weighting the top of the list are the job requirements for experiencing yet another perfect lawn.
Apply pre-emergent herbicide to the lawn in early spring before unwanted weeds have an opportunity to sprout. Dithiopyr, benefin and prodiamine are excellent pre-emergent herbicides for preventing weeds, and provide more resources for the lawn. Pre-emergents work only when applied just before seeds germinate. When the soil temperature is around 52 degrees Fahrenheit, it is the perfect time for application. The time of year can vary depending on the region in question; consulting the almanac and historical temperatures are reliable sources for helping predict the timing.
Take a soil sample and submit it to the county extension office for analysis. If a recent sample exists, from within the last few years, use the results from it to determine the nutrients, if any, to apply to the yearling lawn. Just like watering vegetation, too much fertilizer is detrimental to growing a healthy stand of grass. A soil sample analysis will outline a fertilization plan for the entire year.
Mow the lawn higher than normal during the first few cuttings. By allowing the grass to gain its footing for the season before an aggressive cut, the lawn will produce a more resilient turf. Typically, 2 to 3 inches in height is the minimum grass length for mowing during the first month of the growing season.
Establish a lawn irrigation plan and stick to it. Lack of moisture will weaken the grass and invite disease. Also, frequently watering the grass in short spurts will not allow for sufficient root growth. With the available moisture kept near the surface, lawn roots will remain shallow, versus growing deeper in search of water. As with any vegetation, long roots promote healthy plants. Soaking the lawn every week to ten days, or less depending on rainfall, is the best approach.
Permit the grass to grow for the first month of the growing season. Performing only the maintenance necessary, such as aerating and dethatching, will encourage the awakening lawn to establish itself. Put off the more aggressive strategies until summer when the grass is strong.