There are lots of reasons to have a yard that includes a thick lush lawn… kids, dogs and backyard picnics are just a few. But even as the word “snow” is still showing up in our forecasts, Tagawa’s mascot, Grey Kitty, says now is the purr-fect time to set your lawn care program into motion.
Early-spring tips for cool season grasses like bluegrass, rye and turf-type fescue are pretty much the same. Think of these tips as a basic “to do” list that you can follow every season. (Buffalo, Dog Tuff™ and other warm season grasses require different care and are another topic for later!)
“To do” #1: pre-emergents
Early spring is the time to apply pre-emergents to prevent weed seeds from taking hold. Tagawa Gardens recommends Bonide® granular ‘Crab Grass and Weed Preventer.’ This should be applied at the recommended rate to create a chemical barrier that will block weed seeds as they try to sprout.
John, Tagawa’s lawn advisor, says using a pre-emergent in early spring can avoid a lot of weed headaches later in the season. He cautions homeowners not to use a pre-emergent if they plan to over-seed their lawn to help make it thicker later in the season. The pre-emergent will block the growth of grass seed, too.
John is also a big believer in Revive®, a product that helps water penetrate quickly and easily into the soil. He recommends using granular Revive® now in areas of the lawn that tend to dry out more quickly once the weather gets hot.
“To-do” #2: Core aeration
I like my lawn. It’s not huge, but just big enough to accommodate a few rambunctious dogs and provide a bit of an “oasis” feel around my deck. In exchange for its faithful service, I’ve promised to core aerate spring and fall. No exceptions. I usually try to aerate before May 1st.
A deep core aeration (when hot weather isn’t an issue) opens up the root zone. Getting more air and water down into those holes helps keep the root zone healthier and stronger… and that makes for a greener, thicker lawn that’s easier to keep well-watered.
Once you’ve aerated, apply a top dressing of Natural Guard® Soil Activator or EKO® Lawn Top Dressing, or both. A thin layer scattered over the lawn and raked lightly into the aeration holes can be a real boost for your grass.
Take note: opening holes in your lawn with core aeration can break the barrier you’ve tried to create with a pre-emergent. John’s recommendation is that after you aerate, reapply the pre-emergent in problems areas that tend to be more weedy.
“To do” #3…. And #4: Fertilize, but not quite yet
John recommends a slow-release fertilizer in May and/or in June. Lawns are hungry for nitrogen, the first nutrient listed by number on fertilizer packages. Slow-release fertilizers like Pro-Rich® Turf Food can give your grass a steady supply of the nutrient it needs most.
Be sure to apply the fertilizer at the recommended rate and water it in thoroughly.
Turf grasses, and many of the established plants in your landscape, will benefit from deep, but infrequent, watering. With the exception of new, shallow-rooted plants, giving your landscape “sips” of water is not the right approach. A general rule of thumb is to apply enough water to soak down to the base of the plant’s root system, then let the plant use up much of that water before you irrigate again.
Encouraging the roots to go deep for their drink will help them survive when hot weather arrives. An extra application of Revive® mid-summer is a good idea too.
Even though the view out the window in spring time can look like the middle of winter, summer’s demands on your lawn will be here before you know it. Be ready. Listen to John and Grey Kitty! Gear up now for a purr-fect lawn this season.
Watch Our Video to Learn More …
about how to care for your lawn in spring, summer and fall. Includes information about fertilizing, aeration and top dressing.