Spring is the perfect time to get your lawn in shape in Birmingham, AL before the heat of summer hits. The simple steps to a lush lawn during its peak season is to maintain the grass throughout every other season. One of the most important things is to understand the type of grass that will grow well in Birmingham.
Some warm-season grass types don’t do well in the shade, such as Bermuda grass. However, Zoysia grass is a type that grows better in the shade. Once you understand the type of grass, you’ll be able to apply better care to your lawn. Here are a few general springtime tips for taking care of your lawn in Birmingham.
Regardless of what type of grass you have in your lawn, a spring cleanup is the first step. Removing any debris, dead leaves or branches will allow you to see just what type of care your lawn will need. Look for brown or bald spots where dead leaves had been laying and now needs some attention.
Next, check your soil to see if it’s compacted. Some signs that you may have a soil compacting problem would be if water is forming puddles in low areas or if in high areas, water is running right off. You could also have stunted plants or trees which are showing shallow roots. Another sign is bare areas where there isn’t even a weed growing. Testing for soil compaction in the early spring is better because the moisture in the soil is at its highest level.
To test to see if your soil is compacted, just find a long, sturdy metal rod. Take the rod and with steady pressure, push the rod into the area of the yard where you think there’s a problem. If the soil is healthy, then the rod show slide several feet easily. If the rod will only go a little bit and then stops or doesn’t penetrate at all, then there’s a problem.
If it is compacted, then you’ll need to aerate the soil, which is removing small plugs of thatch from your lawn. You can use a mechanical core aerator, which can be rented or a spike aerator which doesn’t do as good as a job. When the soil is aerated, it improves runoff and puddling, the use of fertilizer improves the roots of your turf and reduces the soil being compacted. The best time to do it is after your first spring mowing between March and May.
Overseed brown and bare spots after loosening up the soil before laying down the grass seed. If you have any low spots or high spots in your yard, now’s the time to take care of those. If the place is low, add some more soil to it and apply grass seed. If the area is too high, then take a shovel and remove the dirt until it’s level with the remaining area. Flatten the surface out, rake loosely, and add grass seed for coverage; don’t forget to water.
Applying weed control is another essential step before weeds take over your yard. When you use pre-emergent, it will help to prevent warm season weeds, like crabgrass. There are various types of weed control products for different weed problems, and it’s important you buy the right one for your problem.
Fertilizing your lawn is also essential, but you can’t fertilize and apply weed control in the same area. Fertilizer will make the weeds grow faster than the pre-emergent is able to kill them. Before you use fertilizer, have the soil tested to see what nutrients are missing. This way you aren’t over-fertilizing which is as bad as not fertilizing at all. You can also leave short grass clippings on your lawn to help with your lawn to get even more nutrients.
Getting your lawn ready for spring can be the key to having a beautiful summer lawn to enjoy. Want someone to take care of your lawn for you? Visit our Birmingham lawn care page for more information.
Feature image source: Zillow