EARLY SPRING LAWNCARE: SEVEN STEPS TO GREEN GRASS
It’s finally that time of year when the days get longer, the temperature grows steadily warmer, and everything starts to turn green.
If your goal is to have a healthy, lush lawn this year, this is the most crucial time to plant those metaphorical and literal seeds. Your helpful professionals at The ROP Shop are here to support you. Check out our following tips for getting a head start on turning your yard into paradise.
CLEAR DEBRIS AND PILED SNOW
Although you might be tempted to jump ahead and get straight to fertilizing and seeding, don’t. There are several crucial steps to take before you get to the fun, satisfying stuff. In a few months, you’ll be glad you took your time and didn’t skip ahead.
First and foremost, inspect your yard. Pressure from debris or remaining snow can easily damage new grass growth. Not to mention, any obstruction will block the sun and prevent the grass from turning green. To prevent this, clear away any fallen branches, leaf piles, pinecones, pet waste, and un-melted mounds of snow.
If your soil is muddy, walking on it or working it can cause damage to the old grass and new growth. Try to clear as much of the snow or debris away as possible to allow the soil to dry.
SNOW MOLD TREATMENT
Once you’ve cleared your lawn, you might find a few unpleasant surprises. If you see circular patches of white or pink cobweb-like fuzz covering straw-colored patches of grass, don’t panic. Yes, that’s snow mold, and yes, the damage has already been done.
You shouldn’t need to rush to your local landscape store and drop hundreds of dollars on fungicide. Thankfully, as the temperature rises, the mold will die. You can speed this process along by ensuring the grass is well-trimmed and raked. The warmer and drier the lawn, the quicker the mold will clear up.
Keep in mind that if your lawn has been affected by pink snow mold, there’s a possibility that the roots in those spots have died. If the grass has turned white or the color of straw, clear away those patches with a rake and keep reading for reseeding steps.
FLUSH AWAY SALT & DEICER
If salt or deicer made it into your lawn (for example, next to the street or driveway), wait until the ground temperature is above freezing. Once it is, water those areas deeply. This will flush the salt out of the area to minimize damage.
If your lawn is already muddy and you don’t want to risk overwatering, there’s another effective solution. Stop by your local lawn and landscape store and ask for gypsum. This handy mineral displaces sodium, working to restore the proper soil structure. If you’re planning to fertilize, discuss this with lawn care professionals. Many fertilizers contain gypsum, and you don’t want to overdo it. Your local experts will help you find the best solution for your early spring lawncare.
You might see this section and ask yourself, “What the heck does ‘aerate’ mean?” If that’s you, not to worry! Aerating is the process of introducing air into a material. For lawns, this means boring small, shallow holes in the ground. These holes break up the soil, allowing the grass’s roots to breathe. Aerating also gives grass space to grow, preventing it from becoming too compacted later in the year. If you’ve had an unusual winter in which the ground thawed and froze multiple times, this process will also help your lawn recover.
If you have a large yard to cover, we’d recommend using a powered aerator or one that you can pull behind your mower. For smaller areas, a manual aerator could be used. You could even go as simple as a garden rake or a pitchfork if you wanted to. For best results, try to ensure that the aeration holes are 2-6 inches deep, as well as 2-6 inches apart.
Early spring is critical to setting up your lawn for a year of success, and fertilizing is the key. However, it’s also the easiest step to get wrong. Too much chemical can burn the grass, and using the wrong kind is as good as not using any at all. Before dropping cash on fertilizer, check with your trusted landscaping experts. They should be able to help you figure out which fertilizer you need and how much to apply.
SEED BARE AREAS
Once the snow has melted, you might find a few dead patches in your lawn. If you found pink snow mold and your grass has turned the color of straw, that’s a good indicator that it won’t be able to recover. You’ll likely want to correct this by clearing the area and seeding.
Before you get started, remember that seeds like to sprout in warm soil. It can be difficult for grass to get started in spring due to the cool soil temperature. Be patient and follow these steps.
- Rake the dead spot, breaking up the old grass and soil.
- Sprinkle topsoil over the empty area.
- Sprinkle grass seed over the topsoil.
- Rake gently to mix the seed and the topsoil.
- Apply a light sprinkling of peat moss or straw to retain moisture and keep birds away.
After that’s done, we’d recommend using a starter fertilizer to supply the seed with the nutrients it needs to grow. Make sure the area stays lightly watered all season long; don’t water it too heavily or give it a chance to dry out.
Bear in mind that crabgrass preventers kill ALL germination, including grass sprouts. If you’re reseeding bare spots but also want to use crabgrass preventer, either avoid the reseeded areas completely or wait until after the grass seeds have fully germinated.
GET YOUR MOWER READY
Last but not least, make sure your lawnmower is prepped and ready for the spring and summer seasons. Give it a tune-up and check the blades before you need to mow for the first time. You don’t want to wait until it’s time to mow only to find out that you can’t!
Although this can be an in-depth process, don’t sweat it. The ROP Shop’s trusty professionals have put together a maintenance guide to help you get your mower ready for the year.
As part of your season startup maintenance, make sure your lawnmower’s blades are sharp. You don’t want to ruin all your hard work by ripping and tearing your grass with dull blades.
If this seems like a lot of prep work, just picture the result: A vibrant, rich lawn ready for summer relaxation with friends and family. In the end, all your hard work and time will be well worth it.
Don’t forget that if you have any questions about parts for your outdoor power equipment, you can always reach out to your helpful experts at The ROP Shop. Just send us an e-mail, chat with us, or give us a phone call. We’re standing by to answer any questions you might have.
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