Hurray for spring!
Yes, spring is officially here. As of 7:02 am, March 20th it's spring! This season brings increasing daylight, warming temperatures, and the rebirth of flora and fauna.
It may not feel like spring, but the snow is finally melting...and the lawn is starting to show once more. Show what though? That is the question. If you're lawn is looking less than desireable, here are a few tips to help you get a lawn that looks great in no time at all!
1. Rake. Give the lawn a light raking. This will remove any winter debris, and help lift up matted grass and allow the air to dry it out. If your lawn is spotty and has brownish, grey or pink-colored patches, you may have snow mold. A light raking will help tremendously. Be gentle when raking as the soil is still damp from the recent snow melt and snow/rain fall depending on where in town you live. If you're not careful you could do more harm than good. By raking the lawn, you fluff it up a little, allowing sunlight and air to penetrate, and this will help get rid of snow mold.
2. Aerate. With all the heavy wet-snow we've had this year, we strongly recommend aerating. Aeration helps alleviate compact soil which prevents nutrients and water from absorbing properly. We personally like Aerify, an all natural, liquid product that does a great job aerating. Core aeration is messy and can open your lawn up to insects and diseases. Liquid Aerify stimulates root growth and will add organic content to the soil.
3. De-thatch. Thatch is a naturally occurring build-up of dead and decaying root and stem tissue from your lawn. If left un-treated, it can build up a heavy mat that makes penetration of nutrients and water especially difficult. Although you may be fertilizing your lawn with the proper balance of nutrients, if there is a heavy thatch build-up, you're wasting your time and your money as it's not being absorbed properly. De-thatching involves going over your lawn with a large metal tine rake directly at soil level. It leaves the lawn intact, but removes that thatch build-up.
4. Fertilize. Look for the forsythia to bloom. Connecticut's shoreline has a wide variety of micro climates. Anyone along the shoreline knows it can be snowing in North Madison and raining in downtown Madison at the same time. Grass growth is dependent upon soil temperatures. Forsythia blooms are also dependent upon soil temperatures. Once the forsythia start to bloom, the soil is warm enough to stimulate grass growth. Now is the time to put down pre-emergent, or crabgrass preventative. If you plan on seeding any thin areas, be sure to avoid pre-emergent in these areas or you won't get any grass growth! You can always go back later if you get crabgrass in these spots with a post-emergent, or a product that get rid of crabgrass after it's germinated.
5. Liming. Connecticut soils tend to be a more acidic in pH than grass likes it to be. Lime will correct that. Read the directions on the bag and apply the right amount to correct your soil pH.
6. Mowing. Make your first cut short and early. Get out there when your grass is just starting to grow rather than waiting until it's growing vigorously. Be sure never to cut more than 1/3 of the blade at any given time or you could stress your lawn. It just needs a tiny trim. This early mow will stimulate the grass to grow and allow more sunlight to get to the soil warming it faster. By stimulating growth, you'll out-compete the weeds.
7. Test Your Soil. This is one of the most important things to do to make sure you're putting down the right amound of nutrients and not wasting your money or harming your grass. More is not necessarily better. There are various sources around the state that will allow you to bring in a soil sample and for a small fee will thoroughly test the sample for major and minor nutrients. Connecticut no longer allows phosphorous in lawns unless necessary, which can only be determined by a soil test. (If you want more information about phosphorous in lawn care, you can go to the State of Connecticut's website at: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2012/rpt/2012-R-0076.htm).
Remember, the best way to have a healthy lawn is to have a thick lawn. The right program for your lawn and its conditions can give you that lush, beautiful lawn you've always wanted.
For more lawn or landscaping tips, visit our blog