During spring in Spokane, homeowners still live in chilly temperatures, with average lows of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that grass can stay dormant and grow slowly, but there are still a number of chores to do to ensure your lawn looks good throughout spring and the following summer. Follow this guide during spring to keep your lawn healthy and green.
In eastern Washington, more fertilizer is required during the fall and summer than during the spring. However, a single application of nitrogen-only fertilizer should be made around May 1st to allow your cool-season grasses to stay green throughout the summer months.
Avoid complete fertilizers containing phosphorus and potassium as much as possible, as the soils in eastern Washington are usually well balanced, but ensure that you have your soil tested at least once a year to ensure each macronutrient is at its correct levels.
When applying your fertilizer, ensure it is spread out evenly across your yard, applying about 0.5 to 1 pound of fertilizer per 1000 square feet. Any more fertilizer than this will most likely just be washed off your lawn and will make its way into local waterways.
During the spring, most cool-season grasses begin to speed up their growth rates rather quickly. During this time, proper watering is key to ensure your lawn doesn’t develop any brown or wilted patches.
Water your lawn early before sunrise and ensure the water reaches deep into the soil, allowing the growth of deeper roots. In order to avoid the development of turfgrass diseases, you should only be watering your lawn if the soil itself is dry. Do not water your lawn if your soil is still moist to the touch, as the spring is a very popular time for grass diseases to begin spreading.
An important rule to keep in mind when mowing during the growing season is to never cut off more than one third of your grass height at a time or else your turfgrasses will require higher amounts of watering, more fertilizer, and more maintenance in general. By avoiding cutting that much of your grass at a time, you can actually mulch your grass clippings and leave them on the lawn as long as they do not form clumps. By doing this, you can add a natural fertilizer to your lawn. Remember during spring to mow at least once every 4 to 7 days.
The spring is also a perfect time to have your lawn mower blades sharpened, before the growing season truly begins. Dull blades can damage your grasses and actually make them more susceptible to turfgrass diseases and pests.
Early spring is a popular time for many turfgrass disease symptoms to begin showing themselves. When inspecting your lawn, there are a few diseases to watch out for at this time of year to ensure that your grasses are not damaged or killed.
Look for small, round, tan colored spots on your lawn during this time, showing the presence of the Fusarium Patch disease. This disease grows best in cool, moist soils and commonly affects Bentgrass species. Another major disease spreading around this time is known as Necrotic Ring Spot. This disease shows itself through dead rings and arches on your grasses that can reach up to several feet in diameter.
In order to avoid turfgrass diseases such as these, make sure you are not over-watering or over-fertilizing your lawn because these diseases grow vigorously in moist, cool conditions. Look for fungicides in your local lawn care store that can take care of the symptoms before they spread to the rest of your lawn, but make sure that you follow the label’s instructions, as many fungicides can also be damaging to grasses and plants. By taking care of these diseases early in the spring, you’ll allow your turfgrass time to recover before the hot summer season kicks in.
Spring is also a great time to get rid of any excess thatch in your lawn just before the growing season begins. Thatch can be beneficial to lawns in small quantities and bolster your turfgrass to resist regular foot traffic. However, having a thatch layer thicker can become home to many diseases and pests. In early spring, when the last frost has ended, use a dethatching rake to dig up excess thatch and remove the clippings left behind in order to allow for your lawn to fill in and grow denser.
Featured image source: Zillow Spokane