Its Spring…time to get GREEN!
Baseball Season Officially starts in less than 9 days with the MLB Opener in Japan on March 28th and it also signifies the time to Green up your Grass , especially for the folks who live north of the Mason Dixon line. If you are a competitive lawn man with the neighbor or just enjoy having green grass… you should be heading to Home depot or your local landscape shop this week to pick up your lawn products. Temps are finally going to level out and your ground is going to start to thaw.
There are so many choices when you get there and the main thing is to keep it simple and go into the store with a plan. Your plan! Remember Different grasses + different climates = different turf programs so not all fertilizer programs are alike.
A little work this spring can keep your lawn healthier for the summer. Here is a list of projects you may consider as you plan for a lush turf.
1. Get a soil sample and have it tested by your local extension office. This sounds tough but its as simple as it sounds. Every county has an extension agent that can send you in the right direction. You will get your turf’s PH tested and also see what your lawn is missing as it relates to nutrients. The sample of soil and root mass goes into a quart sized zip lock bag. Go to a couple spots in your yard to collect soil. This test takes about 10 days…
2. The report will give you the specifics of materials to purchase and at what rate to apply the materials. Some even give you the exact brands. Many lawns need Lime and the PH test will help determine the level of acidity in the lawn. An average is 6.5 to 7.0
3. De-thatch your lawn. Bluegrass and fescue lawns build thatch. Thatch is the layer of dead grass between the ground and where before the blade turns green. Average thatch is around 1/2 inch thick. If its thicker than 1/2inch rent a de-thatcher and rake up the thatch layer debris. If you didn’t dethatch in the fall now would be a pretty good time to thin out the turf… but make sure the last frost has finessed and start the process the day after. Removing Thatch helps your seed to ground contact and also reduces summer disease problems.
4. Lawns need aerification in the spring and fall. This is a process of plugging holes in your yard with a machine…. (they used to use shoes for plugging lawns years ago… they had long nails on them) The process of renting a machine could get expensive depending on how big your yard is but nevertheless it will improve the root growth and relieve compaction of the soil.
5. Seed your lawn. Broadcast your seed after the aerfication and de-thatching. Use a seed that is common in your region. Most ballparks in the north are bluegrass blends. Most lawns are a fescue/bluegrass blend. The key is to make sure you get a variety of mixes. A four way blend of seed is preferred.
6. Fertilizer. The soil test will give you a some direction of types of fertilizer but more importantly don’t apply a pre emergence herbicide to your lawn if you overseeded. Nothing will pop. If your lawn is healthy and you are not overseeding…. then put out a granular pre-emergence in the spring with your fertilizer application. This will help control broadleaf and grassy weeds in the spring. If you didn’t obtain a soil test, play it safe and Fertilize with a well rounded N-P-K product with micro nutrients per manufacturers suggested rates.
7. Irrigate or water your lawn for a couple days after the renovation is completed to wash the seed and fertilize next to the soil for good contact.
8. Patch any areas that require sod or new grass.
For that quick green look in the spring I like to use Ironite on my home lawn in the spring. If you can’t find Ironite , use a Milorganite. Both of these products can be applied with your regular fertilization plan. Get a good cyclone spreader…not a drop spreader and layout a path so you apply it evenly.
That should get you started for a healthy turf in 2012! Good Luck!