Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Top five healthy lawn building activities this spring!

Ahh yes, springtime - lush lawns and gorgeous gardens. Your spring clean up is a vital first step to good lawn health. Removing all of the leaves, sticks, nuts and other debris out of the lawn will help the grass to breathe. Once you've raked over the yard take the next steps to build a healthy lawn which is the best defense against pest related problems and will reduce the need for pesticides.

Top five healthy lawn building activities this spring:

  1. Aeration: Lawn aeration is the mechanical process of removing soil cores from the lawn. The holes open up the soil and allow the roots to get more oxygen and make fertilizing, watering and other lawn applications more effective. Aerating helps to build stronger roots making your lawn more drought and pest resistant. You can aerate from mid-April to late May when the soil is moist.

  2. De-thatching: Some thatch is good, but more than ½” of thatch diminishes the effectiveness of watering and lawn applications. Most heavy lawn renovations involve extensive work to remove or aggressively managing thatch. De-thatch or verti-cut your lawn to remove some of this thatch on a regular basis and your lawn will be grateful. You may need to spot seed afterwards so de-thatching earlier if possible by end of April will give your new seed a chance to germinate and grow in before summertime heat arrives.

  3. Fertilizing: Nutrients are essential for lawn health. There are organic or traditional fertilizer products that will deliver the proper amount of nutrients to your lawn. Consistent application of fertilizer in the right amount is critical to the long term health of the grass. Get your first application of product down early, before the forsythia blooms drop. Plan on four to five applications through the season, timed generally about five to eight weeks apart with the major holidays. Your second application falls on Memorial Day, third around Independence Day, fourth on or about Labor Day and your fifth and last application prior to Thanksgiving. The products will change based on the application and the current weather – so consult with a professional service provider or someone knowledgeable at the local garden center.

  4. Add Organics: Build soil health by applying or top dressing your lawn with organic material. Products like Milorganite, leaf compost and SweetPeet are all good ways to get organic material into the lawn. Organics will help to break down thatch and will improve the soil composition and structure and ultimately improve the health of the soil by creating a better environment for microbial activity which is vital to the health of your lawn.

  5. Spot seed: Thin or bare areas should be spot seeded to prevent weeds from getting a foot hold in your lawn. For best results the new seed needs to be in contact with the soil. Either scratch the surface of the soil, top dress with new soil and seed or aerate the lawn twice and then spot seed thin and bare areas. New seed will not begin to germinate until soil and air temperatures are over 50 degrees, even so early spring seeding now is okay as the spring rains will begin to prepare the seed and make it ready to pop when the temperatures warm.

Spring is the ideal time to get your lawn in shape for the season. The combination of these activities will be sure to improve your lawn and get it ready for the summer season. For additional free information about lawn renovation activities email: info@lawnlad.com with “Lawn renovation” in the subject line.