Spring Lawncare and Mower Tips

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I’ve heard lots of lawn mowers in the neighborhood the last couple of weeks, which is a good sign that the grass is growing. I’ve also taken a close look at some of the lawns as I’ve walked by in different places and have noticed a lot of them with leaf blades that are shredded on the ends and not cut sufficiently. If you haven’t done so already, sharpen the lawn mower blade so it cleanly cuts the grass. A clean cut heals quickly, allowing the lawn to get back to growing and filling in any gaps that were made over the winter.

Gaps in the lawn is where weeds like to take control of and often this is where larger problems begin. With the grass fully out of dormancy at this point, now is the time to apply a postemergence herbicide to knock down any weeds that have begun to grow in the gaps. There may still be some winter weeds growing and flowering, and likely they will continue to set seeds for next winter’s weed crop, but controlling the summer weeds that have just emerged is important to keeping them from becoming a major problem. The sooner they are controlled either by pulling or spraying, the better the lawn will look as it grows to fill in any gaps.

Now that the grass is fully awake, another task that should be done is fertilizing. If you haven’t taken a soil sample and sent it in to be tested for pH and nutrient availability, it is recommended that a complete fertilizer be used. A complete fertilizer will be one with all three macro-nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). These are the three numbers on the fertilizer bag. For example, 16-4-8 is one type of turf fertilizer. There are several others available and you should pick one that works best on your lawn. Another example is 15-0-15, which is often sold as a centipedegrass fertilizer, because centipedegrass doesn’t require a lot of phosphorus (the middle number). However, if you have a soil test result from the last year or two, follow those fertilizer recommendations.

A vigorously growing, healthy lawn will often overcome any insect damage, weed aggression, or disease issues that may be present in the turf. Part of keeping the turfgrass healthy and vigorous is giving it a drink of water when needed. Weekly is best, but I often wait until the grass begins to lose its shine or the leaves begin to curl before turning on the irrigation.