As we near the end of the cold season in Charleston, it may be tempting to wish and will your lawn to grow. However, this is a time of spring cleaning, and you must take several necessary steps to make sure your lawn will look its best at the peak of summer. By cutting corners now, you risk an unhealthy lawn come August.
Instead, take some steps now to ensure healthy, beautiful grass. This spring, create a lush lawn that is the envy of all of your neighbors by following these easy tips.
1. Start dethatching
Thatch is mostly just a layer of dead grass stems that builds up on lawns. While it’s virtually unavoidable, you shouldn’t allow it to remain on your lawn for extended periods of time. Thatch can prevent nutrients, oxygen, and water from reaching your plants’ thirsty roots. Remove thatch before the new grass starts to grow.
Throughout the winter months, your soil may have become compacted. Compaction is very common, but it’s something that you need to deal with. Compacted soil prevents oxygen, water, and nutrients from reaching your plants’ roots, making it impossible for grass or other landscaping plants to grow. So if you have never done so, or it’s been a few years, aerate your lawn. You can rent an aerator at a low cost from local garden supply stores, and you can cross this chore off your to-do list in a quick afternoon’s worth of work.
3. Test your soil
Testing your soil will help you to determine in which nutrients your soil may be deficient, as well as its overall composition. Most types of grass thrive in neutral conditions, and as a result, your soil should not be too acidic or alkaline. You can raise or lower your soil pH with minimal effort, but you can’t do this until you first know what kind of soil your lawn contains. To apply spring fertilizer for warm-season grasses, you must also know what nutrients you need to add to avoid over-fertilizing.
4. Treat for weeds
Now is also the time to start thinking about the weeds that will likely rear their ugly heads to come summertime. Don’t let these annual weeds ruin the growth of your lawn. Instead, apply a pre-emergence herbicide sometime in early spring. Mid-February to early March is the most effective time to do so. You should also be applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall for some types of grasses as well.
5. Seed or overseed
If you notice any bare spots on your lawn, you should overseed in the spring. Instead of adding herbicide, sprinkle grass seed wherever you need to replant. You could have bare spots caused by anything from pet urine to parked cars, but no matter the cause, spring is a good time to overseed. While you’re at it, it’s not a bad idea to overseed with a mixture of cool- and warm-season grasses so that your lawn is lush and green throughout all of the seasons.
6. Tend to your equipment
As you gear up for summer lawn care, make sure all of your stuff is in good working order. Sharpen your mower blades, as clean cuts of grass, can only be created by super sharp edges.
7. Get in that first mowing
You need to mow in the spring, but try not to cut too much. Removing more than a third of the grass blade will stress your lawn — something you don’t want to do in this period of rapid growth. Instead, allow your grass to establish deep roots, and mow regularly (once or twice a week) but not too short.
8. Install your irrigation system
This summer, your lawn will need consistent watering to promote healthy growth. It would help if you aimed to provide an inch of water to 12 inches of soil. Water your lawn every three days, but water deeply, this is especially the case during periods of drought. Try not to water shallowly on a more regular basis, as this can promote fungal growth.
You also need to test your irrigation system in the spring, as you likely set it aside or put it in storage during the winter months. When you turn your irrigation system on, note how long it takes to produce an inch of water. This will help you determine whether your system is working effectively and reaching the appropriate depths and distances.
Need help tending to your lawn? Visit our Charleston lawn care page for more information!