Did you know that now is exactly the right time to begin paying it forward for a thick, healthy lawn that’s just perfect for outdoor barefoot fun this summer? John is Tagawa’s top lawn care advisor. He’s developed the “Grey Kitty Lawn Care Program.” It’s all laid out, step-by-step, in a free handout available at Dick’s Corner at Tagawa’s. Here are the basics.
Now through the end of April
Well before the summer heat sets in, make a point to have your lawn deep core aerated.
Compacted clay soil accounts for so many of the challenges our Front Range lawns face. A good aeration will pull out countless two-inch plugs that will open up the soil and let it “breathe.”
The beneficial organisms that help make for healthy soil need air to thrive. Aeration can accomplish that. The holes also make it easier for water and fertilizer to reach down into the turf’s root zone, which gives you more bang for the buck on your watering bill.
The plugs pulled from the lawn contain a lot of nitrogen, the primary nutrient that turf grasses need. If possible, leave the plugs in place rather than raking them up. They’ll slowly disintegrate with regular watering and sunshine, recycling the nitrogen back into the soil.
HuMic? Say what?
John is also a big believer in the value of applying humic acid to enhance soil health, which helps the grass roots build strong plants.
Natural Guard Granular HuMic is a formulation of dry humic acid. It’s a highly-concentrated soil conditioner derived from decomposed plant material. It helps make nutrients in the soil more available to the plants by making them easier to absorb.
Natural Guard HuMic can be applied anytime, but putting it down right after your spring aeration is an excellent opportunity to give your lawn an early-season boost. And a side note: HuMic is also a great amendment to add to your vegetable and flower beds to help build better soil there, too
Do you work hard to have a lush lawn and then have pesky weeds begin to pop up with warmer days and regular watering? You might want to consider putting down a pre-emergent. These products create a chemical barrier that can stop weeds as they sprout and try to emerge into the sunshine. Pre-emergents need to go down after you aerate, otherwise, the aeration process will poke thousands of holes in that chemical shield. They should not be applied if you plan to over-seed your lawn.
There are different types of pre-emergents available at Tagawa’s. Fertilome for All Seasons II includes fertilizer and can serve as an early feeding. Green Light has a product called “Amaze” that does not include a lawn food. Espoma’s Organic Weed Preventer uses corn gluten to suppress weeds.
The products specifically list on their packages the kinds of weeds each is designed to control. Be sure to follow the full directions on the labels.
The application frequency of the pre-emergents and their cost varies. The Garden Advisors at Dick’s Corner will gladly help you decide which product and price range work best for you.
One more trick…
Building good soil is an ongoing process. We’re never actually done, especially here in our challenging Colorado conditions. So John says there’s one more step you can follow to help the soil in your landscape be its best: an application of topdressing.
EKO Lawn Topdressing is a finely-sifted compost that can be scattered by hand (like chickenfeed) or gently poured out of a bucket and then raked into the aeration holes. A one-quarter-inch layer of the topdressing will add just enough small but coarse material to help fill in the aeration holes without blocking increased air movement or water absorption. Top dressing your lawn is also helpful as a part of good soil prep before sodding or re-seeding a lawn.
Moving closer to summer
The Grey Kitty Lawn Care program suggests that waiting until May or early June is an ideal time to put down the first fertilization of the season, especially if the lawn was fed the previous autumn. A slow-release lawn food should be applied according to package directions.
Once the growing season is in full swing, remember to water deeply but less frequently to encourage lawn roots to extend deeper into the soil where they’ll be more protected from the summer heat and possible drought conditions.
Throughout the season, don’t mow your lawn shorter than three inches tall and avoid letting the grass get so long that a single mowing will remove more than one-third of the blade. That much “pruning” can significantly stress a lawn.
If you have any questions about spring lawn care or lawn care in general, Tagawa’s Garden Advisors at Dick’s Corner are ready and willing to help.
Now get ready to kick off your shoes and wiggle your toes in a beautiful, inviting lawn!