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Spring is creeping up on us with steady signs of the new growing season to come, which means it’s time to get the lawn prepped for being green. There are two real methods for this: You can call a lawn care company and shell out for the spring prep – which I highly recommend – or you can do it the old-fashioned way. Most gardeners will debate on this subject for hours, but if you’re doing your own work, here are some chores to consider.

Your lawn’s been without care for a while, so it needs a good scalping to remove the top layers of dead growth and leafy debris from the winter months. Mow and mulch that bad boy pretty tight. This action gets it ready for the new planting.

Next, seed the living tar out of your yard with your grass of choice — it’s the best way to be assured of good growth. Most commercially available systems pack seed, nutrients, and weed control into one bag, so it’s even easier. Just follow the directions on the bag.

The next step: Make sure your lawn gets the water it needs. If you have a sprinkler system, make sure it’s plugged in, set up, and turned on. Also check your local city laws about when and how often to water. If you don’t have an automatic system, be prepared to lug the hose around to any area you want not to die.

This basic stuff won’t take you too long, so you can get back to your game of choice on the weekends — but it’ll turn your place from dead brown to the green grassy paradise you remember the neighbor had last year.

 

11 Responses to Spring Is Coming: It’s Lawncare Time Again

  1. [Looking outside at the foot of snow in my back yard] What’s this Spring thing you talk of?

  2. John Eisenhower says:

    I’m not so sure this is good advice. I’ve always been told to plant seed in the fall when the roots have a good 8 months to establish before the summer drought returns the next year.

    I fertilize in Spring with something with a lot of N and some weed preventatives. In the summer I do something organic, or horse manure. Fall is when I do my lawn patching.

  3. Kyle says:

    Here is a question for you folks:

    I was doing a bunch of DIY remodeling last year in the fall, and kept pushing back “the final mow” until it was too late…… I’ve got the matted down mess you probably have seen before. What is the best way to deal with this? I currently have a cruddy no-bag mulcher push mower, and I’m thinking 5 years out of a $120 mower is good enough. I’m thinking of getting something with a bag and removing a lot of the overgrown grass from the lawn, as opposed to mulching it all up (which I think would just cause me to have a bunch of dead grass on top of stuff trying to grow)

    Any thoughts?

  4. Eric says:

    Applying fertilizer and weed control (typical “weed and feed”) at the same time is a bad idea. Using herbicide on your whole lawn is usually overkill, and can harm trees and shrubs, as well as producing harmful runoff. Also, the best time to kill weeds is usually not the best time to fertilize. Good info is available at http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen/weedandfeed.htm

  5. Zathrus says:

    Spring? Fall? More like never right now — I’m in Atlanta and we’re undergoing an absurdly long drought here (we normally get more rainfall than the Pacific NW). The watering rules have been relaxed to 25 mins of hand watering, three times a week — which is enough to establish shrubs, trees, and the like but not really enough to overseed and restore a lawn (and my front lawn is in pretty bad shape this year already).

    There are some bare patches I’d like to fix, but I’m not sure there’s much I can do as it stands. Guess I’ll call the local lawn & garden show and see what they have to say.

  6. LABJ says:

    I’m a big fan of a regular do it yourself lawn care schedule. I’ve copied local Garden Line radio host Randy Lemmon’s schedule. You can find it here: http://ktrh.com/pages/gardenline-lawn.html. Unfortunately, St Augustine grass isn’t available in seed form, so sodding or plugging are the only options for most southern lawns.

  7. Kelley Nelson says:

    Talking about northern / cool season grasses –

    I wouldn’t recommend scalping – that will stress your grass.

    If you have thin areas, right now is a good time to do what is called ‘dormant seeding’. You can spread out grass seed while the weather is cold, and the cycles of rain and snow will help work the seed down into close contact with the soil. When the weather warms up enough, the seeds will sprout.

    Fall is indeed the ideal time to overseed cool season grasses. The young grass can better tolerate the cold of winter than the heat of summer.

    However, dormant seeding in the spring can still be very successful. It gets the seedlings started as early as possible, so they can be as mature as possible by the time summer heat hits.

    Rather than chemical fertilizers, I actually fertilize with feed grains like soybean meal, cottonseed meal, alfalfa or corn gluten meal. They have a more gradual release, help to improve the soil quality and really gives a great green color. It’s more like feeding your lawn a balanced meal than feeding it a candy bar.

    I watch my neighbor’s forsythia plants to decide when to apply my corn gluten fertilizer. That will get the lawn going nicely and the corn gluten has also shown to discourage weeds from sprouting. Don’t use corn gluten if you are also dormant seeding though, it would also discourage your new grass seeds from sprouting 😉

    On watering – its much, much better to water infrequently and for longer periods of time. When the top of the soil is moist it encourages seeds to sprout – usually weed seeds. If you water once weekly for a longer period of time, your grass can still access that water under the ground. It will train your grass to grow deeper roots and it will be less susceptible to drought.

    Watering every day offers 6 times as many opportunities for weed seeds to be sprouted. Then you have to apply more herbicide or spend more time pulling weeds by hand – meh.

    Lazy man’s answer to good grass –

    Throw out some seed in January of Feb, let the spring rains sprout it.

    Three or four times a year, spread feed grain fertilizer. (Just get 50 pound bags of animal feed.)

    If less than 1 inch of rain falls in a week, water enough 1 time per week to make up the difference. Or just set your sprinkler system to water 1 time weekly, but for enough time to give 1 inch of water.

    Mow your grass at a height of 3 inches, which will help shade the soil and keep weeds from sprouting. Mulch the clippings back into the grass. Over the course of a year, it adds up up to 1 fertilization’s worth of nitrogen for your grass.

    All of these steps should help discourage weeds and encourage your grass to grow more self-sufficient.

  8. BC says:

    Hah.. I’ll start thinking about spring when I have less than 3 feet of snow on my lawn!

    I do have a major crabgrass issue that I’ll have to take care of this year though. ‘Course, once the crabgrass is gone, I won’t have much lawn left. I have only the previous owners’ neglect to thank for that.

  9. TL says:

    I don’t have a lawn so much as a really big patch of moss. Seattle weather and highly acidic soil does that. Still debating if I want to do anything about it this year.

  10. Teacher says:

    I live in the Sandhills of North Carolina, near Pinehurst, and we are under water restrictions that allow no watering unless it’s done from a well. Our rainfall is about 11″ under normal for the past 12 months.

  11. Dennise says:

    Hi guys:

    I was reading to your comments, and I would like to invite you to my website. http://www.alltimetools.com

    We offer a wide variety of McGuire-Nicholas products for doing the garden, like: kneepads, gloves, tool pouches, tool bags, tool holders.

    Now, you can do your garden with the appropiate tools.

    Thanks!

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