Raleigh and the surrounding area is unique in that the climate dictates that once March hits, it’s go time. Spring is the single most crucial point in your lawn’s annual lifespan, and your actions during this time will make the difference between the best yard on the block, or a frustrating, brown mess. Here are a few tips to make sure you are best prepared for a successful growing season.
1) Test your soil’s pH
Soil with low acidity is an incredibly common problem across lawns in North Carolina. Knowing where your lawn is in terms of acidity will give you a leg up on how to face future problems. Soil test kits are cheap and can be found at many of the large home improvement stores. Applying agricultural lime, made from pulverized limestone, is the only effective solution to a lawn with low acidity. It can be applied during any season throughout the year, and wont harm your lawn at all. Why is low acidity a problem?
2) Consider aeration
It is easy to test your lawn for compaction, all you need is a garden fork. If the tines can’t penetrate further than two inches into the soil, then you should consider ways to combat compaction. Core aeration is the most common, and will allow nutrients to seep deeper into the soil. Like pre-emergent, it is best to aerate your lawn before temperatures hit 60 degrees, as that would leave your yard extremely vulnerable to germinating seeds.
3) DO NOT put down insect control
Early Spring is too early to lay down pest control. Unpredictable weather and generally cool average temperatures mean that most insects haven’t hatched offspring yet, which leaves you with valuable time to prioritize other more necessary tasks.
4) Go easy with the mower
Mowing your grass too short in the early spring months can be detrimental to your lawn’s growth throughout the season, especially with Raleigh’s climate. You want to keep your grass at no lower than two inches, and depending on your grass type, up to 4 inches. Any higher, and your grass will require too many nutrients to be sustainable, and too short will stunt growth.
5) Now is the time for seeding!
It is important to reseed all dead patches before April showers hit. There are many techniques to seeding, including distributing seeds in one direction, then starting over in a direction 90 degrees to the original. Lightly raking the area will also help even the distributed seeds. After application, make sure to irrigate your new seeds thoroughly, as new seeds need much more water than mature grass. Adding straw will help your yard retain moisture, and keep the seeds from blowing away.
6) Get a jump on crabgrass
Before crabgrass has emerged is the best time to apply herbicide preventing it. Called pre-emergent for a reason, this herbicide works best with methodically applied fertilization. It is important for you to apply the pre-emergent before the soil temperature exceeds 60 degrees. Beyond this point, the crabgrass will have begun to germinate, rendering the pre-emergent ineffective.
7) Tune up your equipment
You have procrastinated long enough. Now is the time to sharpen blades, service motors, replace air filters, etc. A small amount of effort into the maintenance of your machine will save you a lot of money and hassle later in the season. It will make mowing your lawn much easier, neater, and will take many of the swear words out of the process. It is a long season, make sure you are ready for it!
You can do it!
Regardless of your lawn’s history, you can have the lawn you have always dreamed about. Getting a lawn where you want it takes rigorous dedication and lots of elbow grease, but it is not an unattainable goal. There are countless benefits accompanied with keeping your lawn pristine: higher land value and psychological benefits, as well as environmental factors such as air quality and soil health. It makes your neighbors happy, it makes your H.O.A. happy, it makes the earth happy, and it makes you happy.
Or, if you’d rather not, visit our Raleigh lawn care page to get an instant quote and never hassle with your lawn again!