Spring is here and now you are looking at the mess Mother Nature left for you from all those wintry storms. Do you feel overwhelmed with the task of getting your lawn and trees back to pristine condition? You know you have to dig out the lawnmower and get it serviced, drag out the hoses and check to see if they need to be replaced, and go to the store and buy the necessary chemicals to control weeds and bugs around the lawn and house. Oh! And don’t forget the trees. You look at them and remember that they need to be pruned. You look at the long browning batches along the sidewalk and driveway where you’ve piled all the snow as you’ve shoveled and the lawn looks completely dead. Ready to give up before you’ve even started? Don’t worry, here are a few tips that will help.
To start out, don’t let the brown batches along the driveway and sidewalk scare you too much. They are called snow mold. This happens when the snow takes a long time to melt off. Don’t worry! The good news is it goes away. Rake through it and it will start to breathe better. With heat, fertilizer, and mowing it will recover and green-up.
To get ready for the year for mowing; if you’re the DIY kind of person, check your spark plug, oil and make sure you have fresh gas in the tank and test it out. If it sounds off it may need to be serviced, either by you or a professional. After sitting through the winter gas that is still in the carburetor can gum up and cause a blockage. A simple cleaning may be all it needs to get it back into good working order. Changing the oil can’t hurt either. Get the old lawn-eater ready and mow your lawn for the first time at a low setting.
Now, remember, this initial mowing is the only time you ever want to mow low. The rest of the year you need to be mowing at 3 to 4 inches in height. This first mow will help to tell the lawn it’s time to wake up and will help clean up any debris and old grass left from the winter. The rest of the year, mow at the 3 to 4 inches once a week so you are only removing a third of the blade of grass. Make sure to change the direction for your mowing pattern as well as this can cause ruts and a growth pattern to form in the lawn and soil.
Next are you wondering, “When do I start watering?” Well, don’t rely on Mother Nature to take care of the first watering. As soon as the temperatures stay above freezing, (about Mid-March to April) you should start your water program. Water even if it’s raining, because the rain isn’t a for sure water source and you need to give your lawn a good watering three times a week. Remember to water 30 to 60 minutes depending on the kind of sprinklers you are using to get the 3 to 4 inches of water per week.
If you are unsure if you’re watering enough, take an empty tuna fish can and place it in the watering area. If it fills up during your watering cycle, then you’re getting enough water, but if it doesn’t, adjust your water time/timer up to get it right. Sufficient watering is one of the easiest ways to have a green lawn.
Also, to get the lawn to have a good start you need to feed it. You may choose to call a professional company to handle all the aspects of fertilizing and insect control for both the lawn and trees or you may be the DIY person who finds joy and pride caring for your property. The first feed will tell the lawn it is time to wake up and start growing again. Always apply according to the package label.
First, because it is the law, and second, you don’t want to damage your lawn by over-fertilizing. Fertilizer is a salt and can damage a lawn if too much is applied. Don’t be afraid to ask a professional company for help, they know their stuff and love to help you get the most out of your yard, and they love to take help you free up your time in the lawn by doing the work for you so you can enjoy the year with your family, friends or hobbies. They take the guesswork out of the treatments as they are trained and licensed to make those applications, and love to see the result through the year and take pride in their work.
In later spring — like Mid-May to June you’ll be needing to apply a grub control preventive to help keep Billbugs, Sod Web Worm and Cranberry Girdler from turning your lawn into an all you can eat buffet. Again you can either do it yourself or have a professional company apply it for you. Here is where Benjamin Franklin’s axiom, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You may encounter active 2nd generation grubs, which can be treated with active treatments, but usually if applied at the right time the first application will help curtail those grass-eaters.
You may have a few trees whose branches have been damaged by winter winds and snow, and need to be pruned. Depending on the trees you can either trim them now or wait until fall. Maple trees, for example, will weep sap badly if pruned in the spring. If you are pruning yourself you will want to cut out the dead, dying, damaged and diseased limbs first and if you haven’t removed a third of the tree then look for the limbs that just make the tree look ugly and not the way you want it.
By addresses these areas of your yard you should get off on the right foot and be able to enjoy the season. Nothing makes the summer more enjoyable than having a beautiful lawn where you can play with your kids and enjoy quality time outdoors with friends and family.