Spring lawn care

5:16 PM, Apr 9, 2010   |    comments
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Spring is the time when grass is waking up from the winter and what it wants to do now is grow more roots. Later on, it will grow more blades of grass and seed heads and in the fall, it will be store up nutrients for winter.

But right now, the grass is trying to send its roots deeper into the soil and we need to help it do its job.

Step 1:

 Avoid the temptation to over water. When we keep moisture in the top inch of the soil, the roots have no reason to grow deeper in search of more moisture.

Avoid the temptation to over water. When we keep moisture in the top inch of the soil, the roots have no reason to grow deeper in search of more moisture.

On the other hand, letting that top inch of soil dry out motivates the grass to send its roots down for water. Encouraging those deep roots creates a healthier and more drought tolerant lawn.

When to water? If there is good rainfall every 7 to 10 days in April and early May, don't water. If the temps warm up and/or there are some windy days, water the lawn about every 5 to 7 days. You can monitor the moisture easily by pushing a screwdriver into the soil. If it pushes in easily at the top, the soil is moist. As the top layer of soil dries out, it will be harder to push in the screwdriver.

Exception: if you have large, dead-looking areas in the lawn, spot water just those areas. South-facing slopes that have baked in the winter sun often need this extra watering.

Step 2:

Have the yard aerated with a core aerating machine that pulls plugs of soil and grass out of the lawn. The new holes in the lawn will create spaces for water, air and nutrients to get into the root zone.

Don't rake up the cores of soil and lawn that the aerating machine dropped on top of the lawn. Instead, let them dry out before the next mowing.

The cores have soil, nutrients and microorganisms that are good for the lawn. Simply mowing the grass a couple times will break down the cores and disperse their beneficial nutrients over the lawn so they can do their work.

Step 3:

Fertilize with a product that contains pre-emergent weed control. Spring is the best time to apply fertilizer that also includes a pre-emergent weed control because now is prime time to get after crabgrass or other annual weeds.

The more you do to control turf weeds in the early spring, the less you will be fighting them as the season goes on. Chose a slow-release variety of fertilizer as it releases the nutrients over time. The next fertilizer application will be due in about 8 weeks.

These recommendations are consistent with research done at Colorado State University and by colorado growers and with the Best Management Practices of the Green Industries of Colorado.

Information courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado sponsors of the 9News Water Wise Garden.

For help in finding a professional landscape contractor, go to www.alcc.com and click on Find a Pro. For timely landscape tips, subscribe to ALCC's free email Tip of the Week also at www.alcc.com.  


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