The weather is warming up if you live in the southern part of the United States. And that means it’s time to get your warm-season lawn ready for spring.
In this post, you’ll learn how to get your lawn spring-ready with these tasks:
- Giving your yard a spring cleanup
- Planting cool season grass in spring
- Recognizing if your yard has snow mold
- Completing spring lawn care, such as core aeration, overseeding, repairing a patchy lawn, and fertilizing your yard grass.
Giving Your Lawn a Spring Cleanup
As you know, winter winds drive all kinds of debris into your lawn. Hitch up your tow-behind cart to assist you in cleaning different sections of your yard. Also, your lawn sweeper will clean up any natural debris, such as pine cones, leaves, and small sticks.
Once your lawn is cleaned up, you can make a note of where there are bald patches and where there might be snow mold. If you have warm-season grasses, you want to scalp your lawn only to remove the annual ryegrass that you planted last fall.
Even if you didn’t plant annual ryegrass, the first few mows of the season should be lower than usual. You want to remove all dead grass blades from last season, so your new warm-season grass has a fresh start.
For warm season grasses, you need to get ahead of weeds by applying pre-emergent weed control as early as mid- to late February. Your blooming forsythia shrub is a good indicator of when the time is right to apply pre-emergents to your lawn.
You may notice bare patches on your lawn where grass once stood. Bald lawn spots indicate that your turf may have a disease, insect infestation or that it died due to cold, freezing temperatures.
Learn more about warm season lawn care in this blog post.
Whatever the reason, you want to get grass seed on those bare spots before grassy weeds start to germinate. Remember, you don’t want to put down any pre-emergent weed control if you’re planting new grass seed this spring. This will get your warm season lawn ready for spring.
It’s Time for Spring Lawn Care: Core Aeration, Overseeding, and Dethatching Your Warm Season Grasses
Since warm season grasses thrive during late spring and into summer, you want to aerate and overseed your lawn in the spring. You want to attach your spike or plug aerator to pull up plugs of soil and prepare it for grass seed.
Next, you’ll need to hook up your tow spreader to your riding mower to spread grass seed throughout your lawn. If you have a small yard that’s under an acre, a push spreader will accurately deposit seed directly into the ground.
Springtime is perfect for dethatching your lawn too.
If you have over a 1/2” of thatch in your yard, you need to set up your dethatcher behind your garden tractor to pull up excess thatch so your Bermuda, St. Augustine or Zoysia grass can grow healthy and the soil can breathe.
Don’t Forget about Warm Season Lawn Fertilizer
Since weeds grow with a vengeance in Southern climates, you need a fertilizer that includes weed control in it. These fertilizers are called “weed and feed” fertilizers because they stop broadleaf weeds, such as clover and dollarweed, from growing in your yard.
Weed and feed fertilizer also contain the right amount of nutrients for warm season grasses to get the nutrition they need to start off the season lush, green and weed-free.
Of course, there are other fertilizers on the market that provide different amounts of nutrients, and not all spring lawn fertilizers are weed and feed fertilizers either.
Some are quick-release fertilizers, which gives your turf a quick green-up. Others are called slow release fertilizers, which come in pellet form and slowly release into the soil over four up to 12 weeks.
Two fertilization tips for spring: Do a soil test to see which of the three major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) are low in the soil. Follow the recommendations to remedy those low nutrients.
Know the size of your yard and how much fertilizer you need to feed your lawn adequately. There are many tools available for you to measure your property, including apps you can download on your phone.
Also, don’t forget to read the directions before you fertilize your lawn. The back of the bag gives you the information you need.
Read why your warm season grass needs spring core aeration.
Planting Cool Season Grasses in the Spring
If you live in the part of the U.S. that’s considered temperate, you may have found that fescues work great in shaded areas. If so, you want to plant tall fescue or another fescue variety that you found that works on your property.
You can start seeding your lawn with fescue as soon as daytime temperatures reach 60°F to 75°F. The spring’s strong sunshine and ample rainfall help produce a thick, quality fescue lawn.
Before you plant any grass seed, you need to make sure your warm season lawn is relatively dry. Early spring rains after the winter’s storms can make your property soggy. Any grass seed you plant in the wet ground may not sprout or grow evenly.
And you put your lawn at risk for fungal diseases due to the wet conditions. Conversely, if you checked the soil and it feels compact, then you’ll need to aerate your lawn first before laying any grass seed.
Snow Mold: Those White Patches in Your Lawn
Some areas get snow early in the season when the ground isn’t frozen. Then, if there’s a snowstorm, the turf is sandwiched between wet snow and saturated soil. And if the snow sits on this spongy mess all winter, your lawn may develop snow mold.
Snow mold forms a gray or pink cobweb-looking patch that grows as the disease spreads out across your lawn. Snow mold happens more in cool season grasses, and that could mean your fescue could be at risk.
Yet, snow mold does appear in warm season grasses if there was a freak snowstorm in late fall or early winter before the ground freezes.
If you have patches of snow mold, the recommendation is to let it grow out and keep mowing your lawn. You want to collect grass clippings, so the disease doesn’t spread over your entire yard.
Hopefully, your grass will grow back. But if it doesn’t, you need to reseed the area and then, adopt healthy lawn practices.
You can buy preventative fungicides to prevent snow mold from forming over the winter months. Other preventative measures include
- Avoid over-fertilizing your lawn with nitrogen-heavy fertilizer. If you’re not sure how much nitrogen your soil needs, perform a soil test first.
- Make sure you don’t over-water your lawn. If you have puddles in your yard, then you watering your lawn too much, or you may have a drainage problem.
- Make sure you clean up all leaves in the fall. Again, leaves provide a moist, dark place for snow mold to develop.
- Make sure you dethatch your lawn in the fall. Too much thatch harbors turf diseases as well as it doesn’t allow the soil to breathe.
- Make sure you cut your lawn at the right height—by taking only the top third off each time you mow. Continue mowing until your grass stops growing in late fall. Longer grass bends over under a snow pile and is at risk for snow mold.
- Avoid letting a mountain of snow form alongside your driveway. You want the snow to be able to melt gradually rather than freezing, thawing and then, refreezing. A pile of snow can be a root cause of snow mold.
Brinly-Hardy Lawn Care and Garden Attachments Make Spring Lawn Care a Breeze
You need reliable and durable lawn care equipment to help you get your spring lawn care tasks done in record time. At Brinly-Hardy, our lawn care attachments help you get your warm-season lawn ready for spring as well as all year long.
You can purchase Brinly-Hardy spreaders, tow carts, lawn sweepers and other attachments at these retailers, or you can call our customer service at 877-728-8224 or fill out our contact form for more information.