LAWN AND LANDSCAPE EARLY SPRING PREPARATION
As you walk through your lawn you may see areas that have a matted down look, especially where snow piled up this winter. This may be a fungus called “snow mold”. To speed up recovery in those areas, rake or fluff up the matted turf to improve air circulation.
Rake up leaves, sticks and debris out of the shrub beds and especially the lawn area. Leaves, sticks and debris can cause damage to the turf, resulting in the need to reseed.
Rake and seed bare areas in late March or early April. Apply a “starter fertilizer” (a fertilizer high in phosphorous) in the seeded areas. Apply a light mulch to hold moisture and keep moist until the seed is well established. Do not apply pre-emergent weed controls to these areas. The pre-emergent will not allow the seed to germinate.
Prune shrubs and trees. Remove dead or damaged branches. Cut ornamental grasses and perennial flowers back in March or early April.
Aerate the lawn in March, April or May. Aeration will reduce compaction of the soil, allow nutrients to become more readily available to the turf and create a stronger, thicker turf. For best results aerate in the spring and fall each year.
Lawns will be coming out of dormancy in early spring. To promote spring green up and protect your lawn from crabgrass and foxtail, a fertilizer with crabgrass pre-emergent should be applied before April 22. Continue through the year with a fertilizer and weed control treatment as often as every 5 to 6 weeks.
Don’t forget to feed the shrubs in the spring. Healthy trees and shrubs need fertilization and pesticide controls throughout the season.
Once the grass begins growing, begin mowing with a sharp mower blade (around here about April 9). Set your mower at about 3 inches in height. Mowing high will shade the soil and help hold moisture during the hot, dry periods. In April and May lawns should be cut twice a week because of the quick growth. Cutting too short or not frequently enough will promote weed and crabgrass germination. Remember to mow so that not more than 1/3 of the grass blade is removed.
Mulching with the correct amount of mulch will reduce weed population in shrub beds and tree rings, keep moisture to the roots of the plants and beautify the outside of your home. There are many colors and varieties of mulch that can be purchased, bagged or bulk. Dyed mulches are becoming very popular, shredded hardwoods and cypresses are the most used.
Begin mulch preparation by edging the beds with a straight edge shovel or power edger. Cut the edge about 3 to 4 inches deep. This will discourage the encroachment of grass into the bed and hold the mulch in place. Apply a pre-emergent to help control weeds. Apply mulch at about 2 inches throughout the bed and around the tree rings.
WANT SOME EARLY COLOR?
Plant some spring pansies the first or second week of April. Pansies can withstand temperatures below freezing. After a long, dark, dreary, snowy, gray winter, a few colorful pansies will make spring come sooner and brighten the landscape.