As the weather warms in the early Spring, we look forward to greening our lawns and landscapes. The appearance of green buds, leaves, and grass helps us leave winter’s drab colors behind as we think green. A deep green lawn in April and May is what we all strive to achieve. Here are 3 tips to help you get there.
Step 1. Evaluate your Lawn.
As lawns come out of their winter dormancy, it is a good time to evaluate the condition of your yard as we move into Spring. Some things to look for include the following:
- Thin, bare, or damaged areas provide you with the opportunity to do some spot seeding to ensure you have a uniform thickness.
- Consider using a grass rake to fluff up snow mold or matted down areas from snow. This process allows weaker areas to dry out and recover more quickly. The raking helps stimulate growth, allowing sunlight to reach the grass plants’ base to encourage new growth.
- Remove any leaf or winter debris that might be lying on your lawn. These piles prevent sunlight from reaching the grass and should be roved early in the Spring. Once the evaluation is complete, we should get ready to begin mowing.
Step 2. Practice Proper Mowing.
Perhaps the single most important activity you can do to ensure a green lawn in Spring is proper mowing. It is essential to have the mower service to make sure it is in good shape before you start. A sharp mower blade is key. Sharp blades make a clean cut allowing the plant to retain its deep green color without injuring the plant.
In addition, the mowing height adjustments need to be in good working order. Mowing at the correct height will keep the lawn green during the Spring. We recommend a mowing height of 2.5 to 3 inches for most cool-season grass types. This activity encourages deeper rooting and allows the grass blade to flourish. Short mowing exposes stems and restricts rooting resulting in discoloration.
The last thing to consider when mowing is the frequency. Base your mowing on growth rate rather than time between mowings. Only removing one-third of the grass height during each mowing is recommended. If you mow your lawn at 3″, you should mow again when it grows to 4″ in height. In the Spring, with a rapid growth rate, this can occur in a few days.
Step 3. Fertilize your Lawn.
Fertilization in Spring is what adds a deep green color to the lawn. The place to start is with a soil test. The soil test will give you guidance as to where to start. You can purchase a Penn State soil test kit at your local extension office. The test provides easy-to-read information to make a proper application.
In general, Penn State recommends the application of 3-4lbs of nitrogen per 1000sqft per year on a lawn for most cool-season grass types. You should apply half of the total amount of fertilizer in Spring and the other half in the fall. Applying the fertilizer can be done with one or two treatments.
In addition, the fertilizer should have some slow and fast release components. The fast-release parts will green the lawn up quickly, while the slow-release components will provide color throughout the Spring. A good time to apply a one-time fertilizer application would be in late April. If you were using two treatments, one in early April and one in mid-May would be best. You can expect some great color and growth this Spring.
Following the tips outlined above will give you a green lawn this Spring. Your neighbors will be jealous. In addition, your yard will be in great shape as we move into the heat of summer.