If you’re looking for green grass, start the season off right with these tipsAfter a late winter in Duluth, the snow is melting and the grass is starting to become visible once again. Yes, that means it’s time to start thinking about lawn care again.
By: Chris Lontok, Article City and Forum Communications
After a late winter in Duluth, the snow is melting and the grass is starting to become visible once again. Yes, that means it’s time to start thinking about lawn care again.
The sight of new grass growing often leads the homeowner to run out and spread fertilizer to help the young blades along. This is actually the opposite of recommended practices for fescue and bluegrass lawns.
The proper time to apply fertilizer is in the fall, when the roots that will sustain the plants through the following summer are actively growing.
Even if the fall feeding was missed, any spring feeding should be limited to a light feeding after the initial flush of growth has subsided, probably sometime in May or early June.
When spring comes, then should the lime. But this should be done only if the soil deems it necessary. Most lawn grasses grow best at a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0, so it’s good to occasionally have your soil’s pH analyzed every two to three years to be sure you are staying in that range.
Horticultural experts always say that the soil test result should include recommendations on how much lime to apply on your lawn soil.
Horticultural studies have also shown that seed-sowing efforts will have a good chance of getting optimum results during spring as long as your lawn is well watered and cared for with the right amount of fertilizer.
It is a good idea to apply fertilizer on newly seeded grass using a high-phosphorous fertilizer (for example, 25 pounds of 5-10-5 per 1,000 square feet when patch seeding) which will foster root growth. The grass will be stronger and healthier if you can water daily until the plants are established.
Water approximately once a week throughout the summer, for the tops of the grass may look great, but the roots are not as long and dense as those of the grass in an established lawn.
Avoid cutting too short when your lawn requires its first cut. Mow to about two inches during the spring, then raise the cutting height another half-inch when summer arrives. Mow frequently so that no more than one third of the grass blade is removed at one time.
Now, when it comes to herbicides and pesticides, it is recommended that you apply pre-emergent herbicides between the middle of March and the middle of April to control crabgrass and the emergence of bull worms. Crabgrass generally emerges about the time of dogwood bloom, and the pre-emergent herbicides used to control it will not affect crabgrass that is already up and growing.
The pesticide will stop the spread of more bull worms. March is still a little early for dethatching and actual pesticide application, so after taking care of the few necessary lawn chores for early spring, you can relax and save your energy for summer mowing.
Trees and shrubs surrounding your lawn will also need extra attention. Make sure you apply some amount of fertilizer on surrounding trees and shrubs so as not to allow them to absorb the nutrients meant for your lawn.