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Early Spring Lawn Care Tips

 

Well, spring seems to have finally arrived here in southern Ocean County. Here at On The Level Home Inspections, we want to share some early spring tips for getting your lawn in shape. This article is just a quick overview of some basics. While I am not an expert in lawn care, if you want additional advice concerning your lawn, please feel free to email us or call 609-607-0485.  Maintaining a well kept healthy lawn not only helps to increase your “curb appeal”, but shows others that you care about your home. Adhering to these simple tips will help you attain a healthy, green, and lush lawn that will have your neighbors envious. It is important though to act quickly.

1.     Raking. The first step to take is to rake deeply and thoroughly. Apart from the obvious of clearing out the debris that has accumulated all winter, it can act as a pseudo thatching. Thatch is the old dead grass clippings from mulching, leaf pieces from last fall, etc. While the fall is the best time to thatch, and not normally recommended in early spring, this will help give your grass roots more surface area for watering and air. We’ll address that more of that with aeration.  When raking, I recommend use a flexible metal tine rake. Rake deep. Remember you want to remove as much of the old debris as possible.

2.     Aerating. This is the practice of poking tiny holes into your lawn. This will help break up compacted areas of your lawn. These areas will normally be high traffic areas, areas that have poor drainage, and areas where moss likes to grow. A good aeration can drastically improve these areas without a lot of other additional seeding and chemicals. Aerating your soil helps by creating air pockets for the grass roots to receive more oxygen, water, and nutrients that you will give your lawn. There are 2 basic methods of aerating. The first is “core aeration”. This is the process where a machine called a lawn aerator removes plugs or cores and thatch from a lawn. While this is a great way to aerate, I don’t recommend doing this in early spring. It is best left for early to mid summer. The method I would recommend is using an aerator that just uses steel tines to poke the holes.

3.     Crabgrass and weed control. Now it’s going to get a little tricky. If your lawn is not and in the best of shape and you need to re-seed, skip this step altogether. Otherwise, this is the time to act to get control of the crabgrass and weeds before it’s too late. Once the soil temperatures reach 55-60 degrees the first crabgrass seeds will bloom. Use a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide product. Once you treat with a crabgrass herbicide, DO NOT aerate the lawn. Aerate prior to treatment. Aerating at this time will break the shield, which prevents the crabgrass seeds for emerging. Also, you will probably want to wait at least 4 weeks before putting down new seeds. These herbicides work great against weeds, but also against grass seed. As always read the manufactures’ instructions and recommendations when using any lawn care product.

4.     Seeding and fertilizing. These steps are best to perform in the fall, but sometimes are necessary to kick start your lawn for the summer months. You can treat the bare spots and other troubled areas by over-seeding. If using a spreader, follow the manufactures’ directions for “over-seeding” rates. Otherwise you can just simply spread the seed by hand. In some instances you may want to add a layer of top soil and rake it in. Once you have seeded, you will need to keep the new seeds moist until germination. Depending on the temperature this may need to be done several times a day. You will want keep these areas evenly moist, but not flooded. When over-seeding you will want to use a slow release nitrogen fertilizer. After 5-6 weeks you will want to use a fast release nitrogen fertilizer. If your grass is in pretty good shape and you had fertilized last fall, use a fast release fertilizer since your lawn is still probably digesting the fertilizer from last fall.

This is a good starting point to get ready for the summer. I will follow up on this article with mowing and mower maintenance tips. If you have any questions you are welcome to contact On The Level Home Inspections via email or call 609-607-0485

 

John Harashinski

On The Level Home Inspections

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated  04.02.2013