If you struggle to have a healthy green lawn, now is the time to act! Just stop by Dick’s Corner at Tagawa’s and pick up a copy of our Grey Kitty Lawn Care Program. Thanks to John, our top lawn care adviser, all of the steps to a better, more vigorous lawn are laid out in this handy tip sheet, and it’s free for the asking.
Late March into April and May
With the arrival of spring, one of the first steps to a healthy lawn is a deep core aeration that pulls two- to three-inch plugs from your turf.
Aerating is one of the most helpful…. and most overlooked ways to improve your lawn. It’s all about encouraging the roots and the soil they’re growing in to be their best. I make a point to aerate every spring and fall, no exceptions. I think it just makes sense. Here’s why.
Healthy soil makes for healthy roots. Pulling up plugs that are at least two-inches long opens the root zone to air and moisture, and that encourages the soil organisms to thrive. Those beneficial organisms can be a lawn’s best friend.
Just before you aerate, be sure your lawn’s root zone has been thoroughly moistened, either by Mother Nature or by you with a hose and sprinkler. That will help the aerator pull up solid, well-formed plugs.
After aerating, some people prefer to rake up the plugs. I just leave mine on the lawn. They’ll break down fairly quickly and return nutrients to the soil. Leaving the plugs in place can make for some muddy footprints, so do what works best for you.
Next step: top dress
Once you’ve aerated, take advantage of all those beautiful holes to improve the soil even more by top dressing. EKO Lawn Topdressing is purr-fect for the job. It’s sifted compost that will enrich the soil and help your lawn’s roots thrive.
Using your hands or a small bucket, scatter about one-quarter to one-half inch of top dressing across your entire lawn, then gently rake it into the aeration holes. (Hint: I think you’ll find that lawn topdressing is too dense to apply with a spreader. I’ve tried. No luck.)
Next, evaluate your lawn
You be the judge: Is your lawn looking a little puny in spots? Are there places where the grass has thinned out? Maybe it’s time to overseed.
Tagawa’s sells a wide variety of lawn seed in bulk. You can buy just as much or as little as you need and be confident that the seed is fresh. Our lawn care advisers at Dick’s Corner will be happy to explain the basic steps of overseeding to renew areas of your lawn that are struggling.
Is a weed pre-emergent now a good idea? Yes… and no.
Pre-emergents can be especially helpful if your lawn has been plagued by lots of weeds in the past. They create a chemical barrier that prevents seeds from germinating. But there’s a catch.
The chemical barrier inhibits all seeds from germinating for about four months. If you’re overseeding your lawn as part of your spring regimen, you definitely don’t want to use a pre-emergent at the same time.
You also don’t want to put on a pre-emergent before you aerate. Pulling up lots of plugs would punch holes in the chemical barrier you’re trying to create.
The folks at Dick’s Corner can help you decide which technique, applied when, would be the best choice for your lawn. (Hint: always feel free to take pictures on your smart phone and bring them in to help our Lawn Care Advisers create the best approach for your lawn.)
Wait until late May to fertilize
The last, but certainly not the least of the spring lawn care chores is a quality slow-release fertilizer. Tagawa’s carries several, including Richlawn Pro-Rich, Richlawn Organic 100 and Colorado’s Own Lawn Food.
All of these fertilizers are formulated for growing conditions in Colorado, unlike some national brands. Proper fertilization can go a long way toward helping a lawn get healthy and stay healthy, just as a proper diet helps people fight off illnesses. A lawn that’s “starving” will be far more susceptible to problems from insects and disease. Encouraging a thick lawn is also the best way to discourage weed seeds from taking hold.
If you’ve just seeded or re-seeded a lawn, hold off on fertilizing until after the new grass has grown tall enough to mow twice. The tender seedlings could be damaged by any fertilizer applied before the grass is reasonably well established.
And as always, read and follow directions
All of the products recommend in Tagawa’s Grey Kitty Lawn Care Program should be used exactly as their labels recommend. Over-applying the products or any off-label misuse can damage the plants you’re trying to nurture.
As we get into summer, I’ll be updating this blog with lawn care tips to help cope with challenges from Colorado’s heat and drought. Showing our lawns a little love is always in season!