April is National Lawn Care Month
The world outside is finally showing its green colors after a long winter! The colors are gorgeous and the birds are chirping, but this also means that it’s time to once again pay extra attention to your lawn. Spring is a sensitive time for your yard. The soil is spongy, the plants are new and tender, and the weather is still unpredictable. Below are a few ways to take care of your lawn this spring.
Lawn maintenance begins in the month of April by cleaning up any debris from the winter. By this month your lawn should be actively growing, meaning you need to control the weeds and begin mowing vertically. However, you still have to be gentle this time of year. Avoid heavy yard work in the spring until the soil dries out. Foot traffic and hard raking or pulling can disturb soggy soil and damage the new grass.
In areas with heavy snowfall, such as our beautiful state, leftover snow piles can smother the grass underneath and foster mold growth. As the weather warms, spread those snow piles with a shovel to increase melting.
Spring is the best time to prevent weeds by using pre-emergent weed control. Your first application of this solution should occur just as the forsythia bushes finish blooming in spring. This method should stop crabgrass and other weeds before they have a chance to grow. Pre-emergent herbicides work for about three months, so plan on a second application during the summer.
Seeding and Planting
In the spring, most gardeners have to choose between weed control and lawn seeding. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent grass seed from sprouting too, so you can’t do both. The herbicide will be active for up to 12 weeks, which means you’ll miss the spring planting season. You can focus your attention on filling in bare sport, but you must time your activities according to the type of grass, cool-season grasses or warm-season grasses.
Test Your Soil
Spring is a great time to conduct a soil test to find out if your soil needs any amendments. You can apply lime to the acidic soil (pH below 6) anytime during the growing season, as long as the grass isn’t wilted or covered with frost. Early spring can be a great time to apply lime if you’ll be planting new grass that year. However, don’t apply lime within three weeks of fertilizing. The ingredients can react and become less effective. Follow the recommendations of your soil test kit and your purchased amendments for proper dosage.
The start of the spring season is the perfect time to give your lawn the tender loving that it needs. Don’t be fooled, proper lawn maintenance requires a lot of knowledge! For a lawn-care calendar for Northern Illinois, click here.