Spring is just around the corner, which means now is the time to start thinking about early lawn care and lawn mowing. The healthiest lawns are those that receive the year-round care they require.
Early spring is the right time to begin that care – starting with a few basic tasks. When performed on schedule, lawn care produces a greener and stronger lawn that is more resistant to weeds and disease, and looks great all season long! Start off with the following springtime lawn tips and be on your way to the best lawn in the neighborhood.
Warm or Cool Season Grass?
Spring lawn care starts with learning what type of grass a lawn is comprised of – warm or cool season grasses. Warm-season grasses are dormant in winter, but wake up in spring to withstand the extreme heat of the summer better than other varieties.
Cool-season grasses thrive in the spring and fall, going dormant in the heat. Some lawns have both types of grass, providing three seasons of green. Early lawn care should be performed according to the types of grass present, for the best maintenance.
Early Weed Control
Regardless of the grass type, early spring is the best time to start weed control. In Texas, using a pre-emergent weed control during late February or early March – just after Forsythia and other early blooming plants flower – is recommended in for all types of grasses.
This is because it kills off crabgrass, and early growing weeds before they can mature. Weeds that are present after the pre-emergent application are those that were already mature and rooted during the prior season. These weeds require applications of post-emergent weed killer later in the season.
If seeding or overseeding is planned, the use of pre-emergent weed control should be avoided, as it will also kill the young grass. Seeding can either be done early in the season – and the weed control application skipped – or later in the season (depending on the type of grass), when pre-emergent weed products are already absorbed.
Feeding lawns is just as important as using weed control. Warm-season lawns should be fertilized as soon as the grass begins to turn green, as they will need this energy to quickly mature in time for the heat of summer.
Cool season grasses should be fertilized later in the season, to prevent too much premature growth, since these grasses tend to grow their best after the heat of summer.
When lawns contain multiple types of grass, a slow-releasing fertilizer is useful for feeding warm-weather species, while preventing cool-weather species from absorbing a big rush of nutrients that could encourage too much growth, too soon.
Early Lawn Maintenance
Aerating, dethatching, and raking are important to keep grass and grassroots in good shape, preventing damage from piled vegetation and encouraging root growth, and the absorption of nutrients.
Raking up any leaves or other debris that has collected over winter is important. However, this should not be attempted until after the soil is less moist, and new grass growth is less vulnerable.
Aeration and dethatching is best done in the late spring or early summer, or whenever grass is growing actively, and soil is draining well. Lawn mowing should start whenever grass is tall enough to be mowed – usually two to three inches in height, depending on the variety.
Early lawn care, and the right lawn care, is important for the successful growth of a healthy, green lawn. Combined with regular lawn mowing as needed, these simple springtime lawn maintenance tasks will ensure a thick, beautiful lawn for the entire season – making home properties and backyards look their best!