Getting your yard ready for spring

Spring is here and it is time to get everything in order. Getting things in order early is the best way to prevent many of the common problems associated with your yard. The following are a few helpful tips to get your yard in order:

Proper mowing practices

By far, mowing is the most time-consuming activity in taking care of a lawn. If done correctly, mowing can enhance the benefits that come from other cultural practices, such as watering and fertilizing. Here are a few tips to ensure a proper cut:

  • Mow when the lawn is dry.  This will reduce, if not prevent, leaving clumps of grass throughout the lawn.
  • Always keep mower blades sharp.  Dull mower blades tear turf grass, which results in a loss of moisture. After mowing, grab a couple of grass leaf blades and look at the cut. If the tips are uneven, the blade needs sharpening.
  • Remove no more than 1/3 of the grass blade. Turf grass will remain greener and use less water when removing less than 1/3 of the leaf blade. This may mean mowing twice a week instead of once a week.
  • Mow at a height of 2 ½ to 3 inches. The longer the leaf blade, the deeper the roots can go in the soil. Turf will use less water due to the cooling effect on the soil.
  • Alternate mowing directions. This will help the leaf blades to grow straight up and be more resistant to traffic and wear.

Aerating

It is that time of year to have a great service done to your lawn. Spring aeration helps the lawn get a strong root system to come up healthier. Aeration helps water and nutrients to get down to the root system and helps the thatch in your lawn to decompose. By aerating in the spring, it also helps in an earlier green-up of your lawn.

Deep Root Fertilization

With today’s technology, we can feed and protect perennials, shrubs and trees from harmful insects for an entire season with one Deep Root treatment. Ferta-Lawn performs both a tree and shrub fertilization and a systemic insecticide service. However, a combination of the two services saves money. For best results, springtime is the optimum time for Deep Root injections.

Watering

A common mistake is made far too often: setting the irrigation system to water every other day for 10 minutes during the early spring. When summer season arrives, the system is then adjusted to water every day. We then wonder why our lawns suffer from summer heat stress.

Here are some steps to get your lawn ready to face the summer heat:

  • Begin now.  While the temperatures are still cool, the soil is allowed to dry without causing heat stress to plants. Plants lose less water to evapotranspiration in the spring.
  • Water only when needed. Use the “bounce-back” test. If, after stepping on the lawn, the grass blades don’t bounce back, then the lawn needs water. Don’t make the mistake of setting automatic sprinklers to turn on every other day too early in the year. This discourages the roots to go deeper into the soil.
  • Know your water system. The question that gets asked the most is, “How much should I water?” Lawns need about 1” – 2 ½” of water per week, depending on the weather. Using straight-sided cans, measure the amount of water applied in 15 minutes. If the system reaches ½” in 15 minutes, then you should water for 30 minutes to 75 minutes per week.
  • Water deeply and infrequently. Avoid the temptation to water every day or even every other day when the lawn appears dry. Try adding more time to the duration and keep the same number of days between watering. Water should penetrate to just below the root zone per watering (you can check this with a shovel or screwdriver) to encourage roots to go deeper. If runoff occurs before reaching this level, stop watering. Allow the water to soak in for an hour, then run the cycle again.
  • As the temperature increases, so should the mowing height. Springtime mowing is recommended to be at 1 ½”, but when the temperature gets into the 90s and 100s, 2 ½” – 3” is recommended. The longer grass will keep the soil from losing water to evaporation and protect the crown of the plant. Longer grass helps promote a deeper root system.

By following the above steps, you can avoid the drought stress problems that occur in many lawns during the summer. Remember, the trick is to begin in the spring and not when the lawn is suffering from drought stress.

Pre-emergent needs to be early!

The snow is gone and now is the time to start thinking about the most important step in keeping your lawn free of weeds. That step is the first treatment done on the lawn: the pre-emergent application.

Pre-emergent is a product that prevents weeds from starting, mainly crabgrass and spurge. But why so early? Along the Wasatch Front crabgrass germinates from mid-April to late May, so you must treat the lawn before this. March and April are the only times to do this, with the pre-emergent lasting the whole growing season. However, once a seed has started, it is too late to apply it.

Spring also provides us with cool temperatures and ample water by rain and dew, which allows the pre-emergent to work faster. Many think they must wait until Weber water comes on to water the pre-emergent in, but this is unnecessary.

Remember prevention is the key, starting off early guarantees a healthy weed free lawn.

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