It’s an Ohio tradition: shortly after the first warm sunny day of spring arrives, folks are anxious to get out and begin working in their lawns and gardens.
Our enthusiasm for yard work appears to rise with the temperature. This year, we think, I’m planning to fertilize my grass. This year, I’m planning to get eliminate that creeping Charlie. This year, I’m planning to seed those bare patches.
Unfortunately, the most effective time to do most of the items that improve our lawns is from August to October. Fortunately there are some steps you’ll be able to take now to get your yard in great shape.
First, hold off on the exhausting raking. Spring turf is very tender, and you don’t want to tear it out by the roots. Don’t rake if the impressions of your shoes stay on the turf once you’ve walked on it. Use a bouncy, light-weight rake to get rid of the remains of last year’s leaves however you’ll want to keep off the lawn until it’s dry.
If your yard is rough, bumpy and also the site of hard use by children or dogs, you should consider aerating. While the most effective time for aeration is in the fall, spring aeration — paired with a repeat in fall — will really help an abused yard. Many weeds, as well as annoying prostrate knotweed, thrive in hard-packed soil and might begin to take over your lawn causing the grass to suffer.
Don’t bother stomping around the yard with those silly shoe spikes that some mail order catalogs sell. Aeration is removing plugs of soil from the ground so nutrients and water can more easily reach grass roots — is best completed with a core aerator, a machine that appears a little like a snowblower. Aerators pull about 3″ long plugs of soil from the lawn.
To make it easier for the machine’s prongs to penetrate the yard, provide the grass a thorough watering or wait until it’s been soaked by a decent rain. The aerator should be run a minimum of 2 or 3 times over a yard in numerous directions. If you think it looks just awful, you’ve done a decent job. Lawns recover very quickly from aeration, with the soil plugs all disappearing in about ten days.
Commercial aerators tend to be massive machines that are troublesome to transport and very powerful. Instead of renting a bulky aeroator and lugging it home consider having your lawn added to our aeration schedule.
Aeration additionally helps lawns absorb plant food, and minimizes runoff of both nutrients and water. While Ohio suggests fertilizing low-maintenance lawns in August and October, you’ll be able to fertilize in may and June, as well. keep in mind that leaving finely cut grass clippings on the yard through the summer acts as a nitrogen fertilizer so don’t bag your grass clippings.
For homeowners with weed issues, a weed-and-feed or a fertilizer with crab-grass preventative may be applied in spring. Crab grass, an annual weed, begins to germinate once night soil temperatures reach 58 degrees, according to Ohio University that typically happens in the middle of April.
Since few folks actually take the temperature of our soil, an easier way to remember is to use crab grass pre-emergent once you see lilacs beginning to bud. Only use weed preventers wherever you’ve had a problem before, and keep in mind that crab grass could sprout earlier close to sidewalks and driveways as a result of the heat.
It seems logical that spring would be the most effective time to plant grass seed, however that’s another job that’s best done in August and September. That’s a result of weed seeds germinating principally within the spring, meaning there’s less competition for grass seed that is planted as fall approaches. However now could be a good time to lay sod if you’re ready to keep it watered through the hot summer months.
As for killing weeds, perennials like dandelions and creeping Charlie are easier to dispatch once the weather cools in late summer and also the plants are directing their energy to their roots. However you’ll be able to rake out lots of creeping Charlie within the spring — watch the grass! — and dig dandelions.
Mow frequently, and remember to leave those clippings on the yard, aerate and fertilize as you wish.