Monday, March 22, 2010

Early Spring Lawn Care

Were you inspired to get outside by the recent sunshine or a visit to the Siouxland Garden Show? Have you assessed the winter damage in your yard yet? Many of us can't wait to get out in the fresh air and get working in the yard. To others it is a dreaded chore or another "honey-do", but love it or hate it, yard work time is here.

We had a few people at the Garden Show ask us about some funky white-gray substance they saw in their yards. One man likened it to dissolving toilet tissue. This is snow mold. Snow mold is caused when there is an extended period of snow cover on ground that is not completely frozen. We had prime conditions for snow mold this year. Although it can look really nasty in the early spring, most snow mold damage will recover in time. Once the area has dried the turf will grow out and renew itself. To speed up the process, the infected area can be lightly raked to encourage drying. Some over-seeding may be necessary and if the damage is extremely severe.

Another question we are frequently asked this time of year: "When is the best time to apply spring fertilizer?". The answers vary widely depending on grass type and the local climate. However, from my research, all experts seem to agree that applying fertilizer too early in the season is not effective. When is too early? The local ISU Extension office recommends waiting at least until after April 1st. Here is another timing tip I found at about.com that I have also heard from many old-timers in the area: "Applying pre-emergent herbicides should be done sometime between the time the local forsythia bushes stop blooming and the time the local lilac bushes begin blooming."

 One of the best things you can do for your lawn, besides a good spring raking, is to have good, sharp lawn mower blades. If you have did not have your lawn mower blades sharpened over the winter get out there and get it done before you need to mow. Dull blades have a tendency to rip grass blades instead of cutting cleanly, leaving grass susceptible to diseases. A good, sharp mower blade is a simple step to a healthier lawn. When your lawn does require that first mow be sure not to cut it too short. Spring mow height should be around 2",  you should never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. This is particularly critical as the weather gets warmer.

Have a great week. The weather looks like it should be a good week to start that spring yard clean up!

3 comments:

  1. Mowing your lawn is always an important part of caring for it, regardless of what time of the year it is. By the time fall arrives, the rate of growth for the grass will be slower than before. This means that there is lesser need for mowing and the height of the cut should also be raised a little. Needless to say, the mower that you use should always be kept in the best condition possible, and it should be ready for use at any time.

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  2. Hi there! great post. Thanks for sharing a very interesting and informative content, it is a big help to me and to others as well, keep it up!
    Without proper care, however, you’ll run into even more work. Moss and weeds can take over, patches may dry out and turn brown, you may have a crab grass takeover, or disease can strike. Proper lawn care can help prevent many of these from happening.



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