We get quite a few questions this time of year about the best way to get your lawn healthy, happy and green in the springtime. Because of this, we are looking at 4 important things to do in the spring to make your lawn healthy.
Aeration can be one of the most important things to give your lawn a head start at the beginning of the season. When the crew aerates they pull out plugs of grass and dirt, allowing oxygen and water to get down into the root base. The reason this is so important is that over time your lawn develops what is called a thatch layer which prevents air and moisture from penetrating down to the soil. This can result in shallow-rooted turf and can also lead to fungus growth or turf diseases. Don’t be mistaken, some thatch is important. It protects the soil from the harsh drying effect of the sun, and also provides a layer where little tiny microbial beings can do their thing to keep your lawn and soil healthy. There are many ways to deal with the thatch layer on your lawn but aeration is one of the most effective and easiest ways to help your lawn during the springtime.
There are a few special practices when it comes to mowing your lawn in the springtime which will help ensure that it grows in healthy and green. Sharpening your lawn mower blades at the start of the season is very important to keep your grass healthy. When your blade is dull it tears the grass instead of cutting it, which makes the edges of the grass rough and more prone to disease. It can also affect the colour and presentation of your lawn as the torn tips of the grass blade turn yellowish white.
Trimming your lawn shorter in the spring before it fully wakes up can help the nutrients and moisture get to the base of the blade which is important to build a strong foundation for the rest of the season. For most lawns this will mean cutting down to about an inch and a half of blade height, however, this could be different for you depending on the type of grass you have in your lawn. After this, you should raise your mower height roughly every two weeks by about half an inch until it’s at around three inches which is where it should be for the rest of the year. It’s important not to take off more than a third of the blade at a time otherwise your lawn can go into shock and you will cause severe damage to it. Keeping the blades at roughly three inches will protect the base of the blades and the root base from receiving too much sunlight during the high sun of the summer.
Spring fertilization can help your lawn to get a good start to the year, and when combined with the other ideas here can help you have the best lawn on the street. An important note when it comes to fertilization is that not all fertilizers are the same and there are definitely better choices. Depending on the time of year, you want different compositions of chemical in your fertilizer. For spring application, look for a fertilizer that has a good amount of Nitrogen content. Nitrogen contributes to the overall growth of your turf and will help it grow strong leaf blades as well as promote root growth. The other thing to pay attention to is whether it’s a granular controlled release or a spray on fertilizer. Granular fertilizer will release over a number of weeks and enrich your lawn from the bottom up in order to build a strong root base and produce a beautiful green colour. This does typically take longer to produce results, 1-3 weeks versus 3-5 days. However, it means that the results also last much longer. Liquid fertilizer will make your lawn very green, very quickly, but needs to be reapplied more frequently, as the lawn can only absorb so much and water will wash away any excess that remains.
Making sure that you water your lawn well and that it is getting the correct amount of water is the most important part of maintaining a healthy lawn. This differs so much from lawn to lawn that offering any amount of time here would just be a useless number. There are still tips to help you figure out how much water your lawn needs. If you have an underground sprinkler system, most likely you will have some idea of the timing that was given to you when it was put in, or you have had a technician come out at some point in time and they have set it up based on these ideas.
Figuring out which sections of your lawn need more or less water is as simple as looking at the conditions for each zone of sprinklers on your system. Do they get sun all day? Half the day? Maybe it’s on the north side of your house or you have a lot of trees so it gets very little sun. Is there a section that is walked on all the time, by kids or neighbours? Do you have a dog who has yellowed half of the grass in your backyard by going to the bathroom? All of these things change how much water the grass needs and that matters a lot whether you have an irrigation system or you are watering by hand. It’s important when you are watering to pay attention to the grass and make sure that you aren’t overwatering, as this can lead to run-off and higher water bills as well.
Growing a healthy lawn can be a tricky process and missing some of these things can make it even more difficult. Many people believe that the only thing needed is water, and while it is probably the most important thing on this list, there is far more to your lawn than that. Hopefully these few tips and ideas help to get you started and of course, we are here to help!