Although we have experienced some fun snow “moments” here in the last few weeks, Spring is on her way officially this month. Now is the time to attend to our lawns and get ahead of the curve to achieve a vibrant and healthy turf! Winter can change soil pH, compact the soil and create hospitable environments for weeds and disease.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Give your yard a good raking now. This helps with thatch build up and leaf removal left over from last season. This will remove any dead grass blades and give you a fresh start. Also, if you find any “matted patches” from winter, a light raking will help you to avoid a disease called “snow mold”. It’s best to start this step after all the snow is gone for the season… Watch for uneven areas. Low spots cause poor drainage and high spots can get scalped by the lawn mower. A shovel can help you even out the ground…cut back raised areas and fill in the depressed ones. For very large lawns, you can rent a de-thatcher.
2. Check for compaction. Compaction happens when there is high foot traffic. Grass can’t take root when there is compaction and weeds can flourish. Moss can signify compaction (among other things). The remedy is lawn aeration. Aeration is best performed in late Spring, in our area of the country. How do you know if your lawn is compacted? Try this trick: stick a garden fork into the ground. If the tines fail to penetrate 2 inches (5.08 centimeters), your soil is compacted and should be loosened with an aerator designed to remove small plugs of soil from your lawn.
3. Moss also signals acidity. Grass likes it neutral, so lime is a good idea to help this situation, although it’s a slow fix. ONLY lime if there is truly an acidity issue, otherwise, you can go backwards as your lawn may become alkaline, which is not helpful either. Consider having your lawn tested to identify its condition. Also, consider an iron application which is usually in spray form. Within days, the turf should respond to the iron applications and turn darker green in color.
4. You may need to overseed if you have dog spots, heavy traffic or neglect *(bare, brown spots). A slow release nitrogen fertilizer should be applied while overseeding. Five weeks later, after the grass germinates, apply a quick release nitrogen fertilizer.
Special thanks to our friends at Corion Landscape Management for the great article. If you need professional help with getting our lawn ready for spring, Corion Landscape Management is here to help. Corion offers exceptional landscaping installation and maintenance services for Bellingham, Ferndale, Mt. Vernon, Burilington and all of Whatcom, Skagit and Island Counties.