Lawn Care Tips for Spring

One fact that not many people are aware of is that once you ignore your lawn during spring, you will have a very difficult time maintaining it all year round. When your grass is taken care of properly in the spring and early summer, it becomes strong enough to handle a long and harsh summer. Another advantage that comes with spring lawn care is that it does not involve a lot of back-breaking work that comes with summer and other seasons.

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Discussed below are some of the most important tips that are involved in spring lawn care:

 

Spring Lawn Care Tips

Raking – there can be no proper lawn care without raking. Every proud owner of an exceptional lawn will admit that raking is usually the first step involved in lawn care especially in the spring. Many people will not see the necessity of raking in spring having already have done it in the fall. Proper raking is however not for the leaves alone but for the thatch too. If your thatch has a growth of around half an inch, then it needs raking without any doubt. It is therefore wise to rake a bit deeper in the fall where thatch is involved as it will enable you to catch not only the leaves but the thatch too.

This does not however mean that you are allowed to skip the spring raking as it will get rid of any grass that died during winter. Remember that dead grass is thatch in the making. Other than getting rid of thatch, spring raking is important as it will get rid of any matted patches on your lawn. These matted patches are usually caused by a disease called snow mold. A new growth will become impossible under these matted patches and a good spring raking will get rid of them effectively paving way for new growth.

Effective spring raking will depend on the climate of a particular region but the end of the snowing season is usually a good sign.

Compaction check – a lawn that is normally exposed to high traffic year after year will eventually begin to show signs of wear and tear. This is usually referred to as compaction. A clear sign of compaction is the evidence of moss plants in your lawn. The remedy or cure of lawn compaction is lawn aeration or airing. Lawn aerators are readily available in most regions but according to experts, lawn aeration is best left until fall.

Liming – while the presence of moss plants in your lawn is a clear indication of lawn compaction, it is also a sign of acidity. Healthy grass requires a soil pH that is neutral and this can be effectively achieved by liming the soil. Nonetheless, the results may take some time to become evident and patience should therefore be practiced. The first step will obviously involve the sending of a soil sample to the relevant authorities in your area. After the appropriate tests, these authorities will be in a good position to advise you on the amount of lime per square foot you are supposed to add in your soil. The application of lime is done using a lawn spreader.

On the other hand, should your lawn show no symptoms of acidity, application of additional lime becomes unnecessary. Remember that the application of lime is meant to correct the soil acidity and not to prevent it from becoming too alkaline or less alkaline. Soil that has too much acid will present problems for your lawn just like the soil that has too little acid.

Overseeding – your lawn will most likely than not have bare patches due to neglect or heavy traffic. To make your lawn more attractive, you need to plant grass seeds in these patches. This procedure is known as lawn overseeding. For better results, overseeding should be accompanied by application of a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer. A quick-release nitrogen fertilizer should be applied in five weeks time after the germination of these seeds.

In spite of this, overseeding is best left for the fall according to experts. This is because the new grass will not compete with crab grass which will have been eliminated by the autumn frost.

Fertilizing – the fertilizing of your lawn can be done with compost and mulching mowers as well. Nonetheless, if you prefer chemical fertilizers, seek proper advice from the experts. Generally, experts recommend a light application of chemical fertilizers during spring and a heavier one for the fall. This is because in spring, too much fertilizer is likely to cause disease and too much weed generation. Fertilizing late in fall will enable your lawn to feed on this same fertilizer during spring.

Application of pre emergent herbicides – many lawns are challenged by the attacks from crabgrass, the annual weed. It is therefore important for spring fertilizing to take place alongside the application of pre emergent herbicides. In simpler terms, pre emergent herbicides are meant for the eradication of seeds even before they have emerged. This is accomplished by the formation of a barrier that hinders or prevents the germination of weed seeds.

Crabgrass is notorious for attacking lawns during spring which is the prefect time for its seeds to germinate. If your lawn is in need of overseeding, then it is better done during autumn and not in spring because the pre emergent herbicides will also work against the grass seeds too if planted during spring. However, if you find that overeseeding during spring is absolutely necessary for your lawn, use pre emergent products that will not destroy your new seeds even as they destroy the weed seeds. On the other side, if you’d rather not use any chemical fertilizers on your lawn, then overseeding should be left strictly until fall.

Application of postemergent herbicides – the dandelion is a recurrent weed that is especially common during spring. Some people find it irritating in spite of its yellow flowers that look cheerful to some people. If you want to control this weed/flower, it is important to destroy the flower stems fast before they get an opportunity to generate seeds. For even better results, dig them up to destroy their roots. The spraying of poste emergent herbicides on the dandelion is effective when done in the fall and not in the spring.

For those who would rather not have any chemicals used on their lawns, pulling up the weeds manually is a good option.

Watering- watering your lawn is as important as raking, fertilizing and mowing your lawn. The water for your lawn can come from nature which is the cheapest and easiest way to water your plants.  There other way to water your lawn is to use a garden horse or a sprinkler. This is usually an expensive way to water your lawn but an effective one as well especially where you cannot depend on rain water. During the growing season, your lawn will usually need an inch of water every single week. While watering your lawn in the evenings when chances of evaporation are lower may seem like a good idea, experts have discovered that it actually encourages the growth of fungus and mold. If you can water your lawn manually, then the better for your lawn as it will enable the-hard-to-reach areas to get their share.

When the drought season is just about the begin and temperatures are bound to get higher, the grass should be left to grow a bit longer that normal, if you feel the need to cut it, raise the deck of the lawn mower. The grass is going to provide shade for itself when it is longer.

The lawn mowers – the effective planning of an outstanding lawn can not be achieved without a lawn mower that will get the job done without any setbacks. It is therefore important to learn how to take proper care of your lawn mower. It is a well known fact that moving a lawn mower can be quite strenuous. This becomes even worse when starting the lawn mower becomes a problem. When a lawn mower becomes difficult to start, chances are that it needs a tune up. Experts recommend an annual tune up and learning to do it yourself is better than having someone else do it always. Your lawn mower will serve you better if you take care of it properly. If you think your lawn mower is a bit too old, then its time to get a new one.

Elimination and Prevention of Weeds and Pests

One of the challenges that give lawn owners sleepless nights is none other than lawn pests and weeds. It is only by learning how to recognize, effectively eliminate and control these pests and weeds that lawn care becomes a lot easier.

Discussed below are ways to identify, eliminate and control the most common lawn pests and weeds known to man:

Black insects – these insects are usually a quarter of an inch long. When the lawn becomes infested with these pests, the lawn acquires yellow and brown patches especially in late spring and summer. The more the lawn is left untreated, the larger the patches grow. Experts recommend the application of pesticide during spring as this is when the larva is busy nourishing on the stems. For best results, the lawn should be watered soon after as this will help drive the insecticide deep into the soil.

Chinch bugs – these pests can be identified easily when the turf or grass starts showing round or irregular patches of yellow. They usually attack during hot and dry summers and these yellow patches which usually indicate dead grass become larger as the infestation is ignored. Treatment normally involves the application of insecticide as soon the first symptoms are noted. For effective the results, the insecticide should be re-applied after every three weeks until the pests are totally eliminated.

Downy mildew – this can be identified easily with the appearance of stunted clumps of grass that is normally yellow in color. These clumps of yellow appear all over. Proper treatment involves the application of fungicide meant for downy mildew during early spring or immediately the symptoms are sighted after which mowing should be done when the lawn becomes dry.

Grubs – these can also be identified easily with the appearance of patches of dead grass during early spring, these dead patches are also very likely to reappear during late summer. Treatment involves the application of insecticide in the soil during early spring and later on during late summer. Control can be exercised by hand-picking of adult beetles from the trees, shrubs and flowers. This can also be done by spraying appropriate insecticide as soon as these beetles appear during late spring and early summer.

Moles and voles – these pests are perhaps the most easy to identify because they leave hollow trailing ridges that are quite long all over the lawn. This is usually followed by a decline of the grass and you can easily identify holes that will definitely lead to the underground tunnels or passageways of these moles and voles. Control and eradication involves the elimination of soil pests which are the main food source of the moles and voles. Spike-traps can also be set especially when the pests are active.

St. Augustine Declinealso know as SAD, this infestation presents itself when quite large patches of St. Augustine grass begins to decline or to decay and to turn yellow. Some leaves will also start having yellow patches even as the grass grows thinner. Control involves the planting of St Augustine grass that is resistant to SAD, the elimination and control of Aphids which are notorious for spreading this virus. It is also very important to keep all lawn-cutters very clean to control infection.

Snow mold – snow mold is evident when patches of yellow appear on the lawn during winter when the snow starts melting. These patches can also be brown in color. The grass mats together and starts rotting turning gray or even pink as it deteriorates. Treatment involves the application of fungicide during early spring to control infection. Water and fertilizer should also be reduced significantly during fall to keep infestation from recurring.

Sod webworm – this is usually witnessed during spring when small patches of lifeless grass keep growing larger as summer approaches. Another symptom is that the grass blades in the infected patches seem to have been chopped away. Also evident in these patches are small tunnel-like holes. Treatment involves the spraying of insecticides in the evenings. This time period is ideal because the larva is usually out of their holes by then. Application should be repeated until there is no sign of adult moths, larvae and any other symptom.

Aphids –aphids affect plants like Ajuga, turfgras and English ivy. The tips of your grass become distorted, and leaves will begin to curl and wither eventually. The leaves will thereafter be covered by a clear matter that will soon attract ants. Treatment involves the washing of the aphids off the plants using a strong gush of water or the application of insecticidal soap or relevant insecticide.

Euonymus scale – euonymus scale affects euonymus sp. The symptoms include the loss of the leaves whereby leaves become yellow, small and stretch in length. White swellings will also appear alongside the leaves and the stems. Small bumps that are brown in color will also come out. The whole plant will eventually become underdeveloped and will lose its leaves soon after. Effective prevention involves the application of dormant oil spray during early spring. The severely infected parts should be pruned off and relevant insecticide applied until all insects are eradicated.

Lace bugs – these pests affect Azaleas and cotoneaster. Plants will become sluggish and lackluster and the leaves will begin losing color. Black specks are also evident on the undersides of the leaves. Treatment involves the spraying of the undersides of foliage as soon as the symptoms appear. A relevant insecticide should be used and application should be done thrice after a ten-day interval.

Snails and slugs – these ones affect Ajuga, Daylily and Hosta. Symptoms include holes on the foliage that are irregularly-shaped and more so at the base of the plant. Treatment and control involves the hand-picking of the pests. A good trick would be to lay a board near the infected parts where the snails and slugs are likely to hide. This makes its easy to collect them. Pans of beer that are shallow will also attract the snails and slugs while drowning them in the act.

Powdery mildew – powdery mildew affects Ajuga, candytuft, Euonymus and Periwinkle. Symptoms include the distortion of new growth and foliage that is covered by a white substance that is also powdery. For effective treatment, spraying should be done with a lime-sulfur fungicide after every ten to fourteen days.

Spider mites – these one affect cotoneaster, English ivy and juniper. Symptoms include the loss of green in the leaves and speckles of white are evident on them. This is usually followed by webbing that is white in color appearing between the leaves and the stems. Treatment involves the spraying of insecticidal soap or the application of miticide that should be done thrice every three days.

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