What Your Lawn Wants You to Know This Time of Year

Spring (2).jpg (1)

Steps To Transition Your Yard From Winter To Early Spring

As we begin to see (or long for?) an end in sight to snowstorms across the country and feel faint glimmers of spring’s approach, there are a few action steps to take in the dwindling weeks of winter and the early beginnings of spring to help your lawn flourish when April showers begin to fall.

Clean-up After Snow Plows

After a big snowstorm, we celebrate at the first signs of a snowplow hiting neighborhood streets as it means clear passage back to work, the grocery store, and the neighborhood barista. While the plows provide access to life beyond winter’s wonder, their handywork can wreak havoc on your lawn.

When the plows deposit sand and salt along roadways and sidewalks, the melting agents usually land right up against the edge of a home’s lawn.  While good for eliminating show and ice, when allowed to accumulate along your lawn’s edge year over year, it will diminish the health of your lawn and make it more susceptible to crabgrass infestations. This debris should be pushed back into the street so that it will be removed when your street is cleaned. 

Cleaning Isn’t Just An Inside Chore

It’s stick season.  Most every tree in your yard has likely yielded its share of broken twigs, branches and limbs that need to be cleared off the lawn before any other task can be handled.  Take the time to inspect the trees from which these branches broke away and make sure the wound is properly pruned.  Jagged and torn branches are perfect locations for insects and diseases to enter trees, both of which can offer their own unique challenges that can threaten a tree’s health. If you have any questions or concerns, an arborist should be consulted for a proper inspection and diagnosis. 

Early Season Raking Is Good For You And Your Lawn

There’s nothing better to clear the winter blues away than a day spent outside raking the lawn; the task not only helps you get in shape, but it helps your lawn to do so as well. A good raking removes the much of the dead grass created from winter dormancy and it will help eliminate the fungi that feeds upon these dead grass blades during cold temperatures causing them to mat together creating a paper-like film.  A light raking will help to break all of this up, allowing air, light and water to more easily reach the surface. 

It May Be Time To Seed. It May Not Be. 

You can get grass seed to germinate just about anytime of year – that’s easy.  The trick is to get it to survive to maturity.  Despite what many believe, spring is not always the best time of year to seed as the weather only gets worse for immature seedlings as you progress from April to August, particularly in the northern states.  Many professionals prefer mid-August to late fall for seeding as weather conditions - temperature, moisture, and lighting - are often more favorable for seedling growth. In addition to the weather threats posed to new seedlings, many weeds that infest lawns are most active in the spring and summer, creating ample competition for grass that is trying to grow.  We don’t always have the luxury of waiting until fall to seed, so if seeding must be done, do so in conjunction with topdressing.

It’s Time To Topdress Your Lawn

Late winter and very early spring are ideal times to topdress your lawn to give it a strong foundation for growing season. Topdressing is the process of applying a small amount of topsoil to the surface of the lawn to fill in weak areas or where you have winter-related damage.  This important maintenance task creates healthy soil as it adds organic matter back into the lawn and reintroduces microorganisms, important component of a healthy lawn. 

To topdress like the pros, broadcast the topsoil over the surface of the area you wish to repair to a depth of a quarter to half an inch.  Once there’s sufficient soil, use a rake to evenly distribute and smooth it.  Spread seed over the area, rake lightly to turn the seed in, and finally compress the seed and soil together using either your feet or a roller or even the tires of a lawn tractor if you have one.  With time and repetition, topdressing and seeding is a great way to eliminate those troublesome areas in your lawn.

To learn what other things you yard might need to ensure it is in good health and ready to withstand wear and tear this spring, talk with a local lawn care professional.