Spring: Time To Get Your Lawn Ready
It’s time to get started on your spring lawn care here in Cache Valley. We have a spring lawn care checklist for you to read, but the checklist is just a general list of things you need to do. What exactly are the specifics of getting your lawn ready for the summer? How do you make your lawn thrive? Well, let’s talk about the process then.
How To Make Your Lawn Thrive
Once you’ve got the winter mess cleaned up – getting rid of excess leaves, removing debris, etc. – aeration is the first step. We’ve talked about this quite a bit, so I’ll just give a brief explanation. Aeration punches holes in the ground, digging up plugs of condensed soil. This creates spaces for water and nutrients to enter the soil and replenish the vital components your lawn needs to grow. There are plenty of tools for this and it’s similar to the basic process of mowing, just with a different tool. Run the aerator across the whole lawn, then turn and do it again going perpendicular to your original run. This will make sure you get a complete covering and have enough soil cores pulled out to let new nutrients in.
2. Spread Nutrients
Once you finish aerating your lawn, it’s time to put nutrients into the soil. Get compost and fertilizer and spread it around the lawn. When laying compost, you should have half an inch to an inch of it across the whole yard. Once it’s down, spread it around using the back end of a rake to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Spread it down into the holes the aerator dug up so it gets to the roots of the grass.
Then spread a fertilizer, following the same tracks you did for aeration. You want to use one that’s high in phosphorus. This replenishes the soil so your grass can grow strong roots. Strong roots are essential to keeping your lawn alive during Cache Valley’s dry summer months.
Reseeding is best done in the fall, but sometimes you have to do it in the spring if there are particular patches that got damaged over the winter. When reseeding, you’ll want to use a mix of a few different types of grasses good for your region. The reason why you want a mix of seeds is because your lawn will have different conditions; some places are fully in the sun, others get partial shade at different times of the day, others are always in the shade. Having a mix of grasses makes sure that no matter what the condition of the lawn is, every area gets seeded with a type of grass that will be able to thrive. Spread your seeds again using the same path as the aeration. Afterwards, rake it in same the as the compost and fertilizer.
4. Keep It Watered
If you’re reseeding, the seed is going to need water. If the seeds don’t get enough moisture, they won’t sprout and the sun will bake them to death before any grass grows. You should water new seeding at least once a day to keep it moist. It should take about a week, maybe ten days to germinate. Once it does, increase the water a little bit to help the seeds develop strong roots. Continue this until the grass reaches about three inches in height. At this point, you’ll need to mow it down to 2 inches again. Make sure you bag the grass after reseeding so the clippings don’t smother the new seeds. Keep watering normally so the grass grows strong.
Try to avoid over watering, however, as too much water can encourage the growth of thatch, which prevents grass from getting all of the nutrients it needs. Upgrading your sprinkler system can help you control how much water your lawn gets. If you want to know more about your options there, we have an article from Smart Irrigation Month a couple years ago that you can look over.
5. Apply Weed and Pest Control
This is especially important if you had to reseed, but you should do it even if you didn’t need that. A good pre-emergent weed control will create a barrier that will stop smaller weeds and crabgrass from being able to come up through the soil, preventing them from sprouting. If you’ve just reseeded, make sure you get weed control specially labeled for new seeding, as too strong a brand may also prevent your new grass seeds from sprouting. Keep in mind, these only work in preventing weeds from coming up. Once the weeds have already taken root, there’s a different process to kill them.
As with over watering, it’s possible to apply too much pest control. While you want a little to kill lawn pests that eat at the roots of your lawn, applying too much will kill the helpful worms that digest and compost old soil. Worms are also a critical part of keeping your lawn from developing too thick a thatch layer.
Spring Or Fall?
There may be some question as to whether spring or fall is the best time for this. The answer is that it depends on the situation. Generally, the fall is the best time for reseeding because you get to build up through a nice, cool season, then it moves into its dormant phase instead of needing to survive the summer, letting it have another cool season of growth next spring. That’s not always possible, though. Sometimes you get problems that leave dead patches in your lawn over the winter and you need to reseed in the lawn to make it look good in the spring. Sometimes, twice a year is a good idea, too. It all depends on the situation of your lawn.
Maybe all of this seems a bit much to you. How do you know what grasses, fertilizers, and weed/pest control to pick? Maybe you just don’t have time to do it yourself. Maybe you just want a bit of advice on getting it done. Whatever the case, we can help you out. We’ve got the tools and experience to help you get your lawn looking good and ready to survive the summer. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to help!