Winter is still alive and well but you may want to start planning on how you are going to care for your lawn come spring. When you take proper care of your lawn in the spring, it will pay off come summer.
How often you water can depend on how well-established your lawn is, and the kind of conditions you live in. For new lawns, it is recommended that they get daily watering (or at a minimum, every other day) until the lawn has established a strong root system.
Older, more established lawns, should only be watered two or three times a week to encourage roots to dig deeper for water sources, which leads to a healthier root system.
When to Water
The best time of day to water your lawn is early morning, just before sunrise. The temperatures are relatively cool, so no worries about evaporation.
Watering in the heat of the day can be counterproductive because much of the water will evaporate when it hits the surface of a hot lawn. Watering in the evening can lead to fungus and grass disease because the lawn blades do not have adequate time to dry before nighttime.
Mowing height depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of grass, your climate, etc. Generally speaking, grass should be cut relatively short early in the year to discourage weed growth.
As the spring wears on, and the temperatures begin to rise, it is recommended to raise your mower blade slightly as well. A taller lawn will withstand periods of extreme heat and be more drought-tolerant than a lawn with shorter grass.
When to Weed Kill and Fertilize
The best time to put down weed killer is before weeds appear. In early spring, before the weather begins to warm, putting down a pre-emergent weed killer can significantly reduce the number of weeds in your lawn.
Once weeds appear, treat them with a “weed and feed” product that acts as both a fertilizer and weed killer, or spot treat with a liquid weed killer. Take care in selecting the type of weed killer to use to be sure it is safe for your type of lawn.
If you are unsure, ask a local nursery, landscaping company, or agricultural extension.
If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, spring is a good time to run it through all the various zones to make sure sprinkler heads are properly adjusted. If you discover a broken sprinkler head, pick up a replacement at a home improvement store.
Though most sprinkler heads are simply threaded onto the PVC pipe running below, take care removing them or you could pull a pipe joint loose somewhere downstream and have a bigger mess to clean up.
Scan your lawn this spring and ask yourself if the same areas of your lawn are consistently prone to bare spots each year. If so, an underlying lawn care issue may be the problem.
Following are some common causes of bare spots and how to solve them:
Dog urine – Soak these areas with water to flush excess salt from the soil.
Excessive or prolonged snow cover – Rake and sprinkle grass seed across the areas.
Ice formation over the grass- Implement a drainage system to keep these areas drier throughout the winter months.
Insect or weed damage from the previous season – Tackle weeds, grubs and crabgrass at the appropriate times.
Putting these spring lawn care tips into practice will help you establish a beautiful, green lawn for many seasons to come, improving your curb appeal and the value of your real estate property.
Tom Selwick has worked as an insurance agent for the past 17 years and written hundreds of articles about various forms of insurance and weed pro alpharetta.