Now that lawns are beginning to become green throughout the country, many people start to get anxious to seed and fertilize and, believe it or not, mow their lawns—and they’re looking for the spring lawn care tips to get them on the right track. (For me, having to start mowing my lawn again is a chore, although not a difficult one. Maybe this is the year I hire an outside service to handle this work for me… On second thought, maybe not, as no one can mow my lawn better than what I can do.)
Tip #1: Mow High
I have written on the subject of mowing many times in the past, but it bears repeating. Proper mowing is the key to having a green, healthy, and more weed-free lawn, and it’s the #1 spring lawn care tip I consistently tell people. Unless your lawn turned completely brown during the winter, start mowing at the highest recommended height for the type of grass growing in your lawn. Bermuda and Zoysia should be mowed shorter—around 1 ½ to 2 inches. Centipede lawns should be mowed at about 2 inches, and St. Augustine at 2 ½ inches. Bluegrass and perennial Ryegrass should be mowed at 2/12 to 3 inches and Tall Fescue at 3 to 4 inches high. Set your mower at the appropriate height at the first mowing and leave it at that level for the rest of the summer. If your area experiences drought-like weather, it is better to mow a notch even higher.
Tip #2: Seed Smart
Many people want to seed in the spring. This is an okay practice as long as you take into account a couple of important lawn care tips. First, for those in the warm-season turfgrass areas, the availability and success rate for growing new grass from seed is usually low. If your lawn has cool-season grasses, you may end up battling weeds for a good part of the summer as you wait until the plants are mature enough to apply weed control products.
Pro spring lawn care tip: If you seed in the spring, you cannot apply any commercially available crabgrass control materials for as long as 4 months after seeding. If crabgrass has been a problem in your lawn in the past, it would be better to get that under control first and seed at the best time for cool-season grasses: late summer to early fall.
Tip #3: Fertilize Carefully
Finally, spring is a great time to fertilize your lawn. As the plants start growing in the spring, they are using up the food that was stored in the roots during last summer and fall. Pushing out new plants will use up a lot of that stored food and it needs to be replaced. Just don’t overdo it – too much fertilizer can either damage the lawn with fertilizer burns or push out too much top growth instead of helping the roots grow better and deeper.
It is great to see lawns and landscapes beginning to wake up from their long winter’s nap. By following a few basic practices, your lawn and landscape will improve and provide you with a pleasant outdoor environment.