Spring is upon us in the Utah Valley area. It is that time of year to start thinking about preparing your lawn for the warmer months ahead. There are several things that can be done to ensure that you have a beautiful lawn all through the summer. Here are a few things that are recommended to start caring for your lawn.
Rake and Aerate
Begin by giving the brown grass a good raking to wake it up. This will allow for the grass and soil to have better ventilation, more exposure to the sun, and better moisture retention from spring rains. This is the first step to aerating your lawn. It also encourages new growth. Remove any dead debris after raking.
When recommended by your lawn care specialist, do an actual mechanical aeration of the soil to give grass roots a little extra room to expand. This will help to promote new growth. Aerating is achieved by removing little plugs of soil in a set pattern. Another benefit of mechanically aerating the soil is that it will help with any snow mold that was left behind from the winter.
Apply a Pre-Emergent
A pre-emergent is an herbicide treatment that deters the growth of weeds and crabgrass. You really want to do this while the soil temperature is still below 55 degrees. After applying the pre-emergent, you should wait approximately 6 to 8 weeks before broadcasting new grass seed.
Fertilize and Treat for Grubs
This step will happen after the pre-emergent has done a good job of removing broadleaf weeds. When feeding your lawn, it is a good idea to get a recommendation from a professional who can assess the nutrient properties of your soil. In the spring, you likely will want to use a low-nitrogen fertilizer. At the same time, you should check for grubs and turfgrass pests that eat the roots of grasses and treat for these.
Check and Maintain Your Tools and Equipment
While your lawn is being nourished, take the time to maintain your lawn care equipment. If you mow your own lawn, lubricate and repair your mower, sharpen the blades, and reset the height of the blades for shorter initial cuttings. (You will adjust as the season progresses.) Clean up your rakes and shovels as well.
This is also a good time to have your sprinkler system flushed, calibrated, and timed properly, as local regulations allow.
Put Down New Grass Seed
When the weeds and grubs are gone, the soil is nourished, and the soil temperature is above 55 degrees, you can reseed, especially in areas that are brown. Your lawn care professional can suggest the type of seed that works best for your site and soil conditions. Grass seeds are fairly specific for sun/shade conditions, moisture retention of the soil, and weather predictions. You will want to protect the seed from water and wind erosion by covering it with a natural material.
Have a Plan in Place
This time of year is perfect for planning the steps to care for your spring lawn so that it is green and healthy going into the summer months. It does take some effort, so consider using a company that is skilled at lawn maintenance so it is done correctly for all or part of the process.