Longer days, brighter sunshine, and robins dancing in your yard means spring is around the corner. And that means it’s time to wake up your slumbering lawn for the growing season. In this blog post, you’ll learn four parts on how to get your cool season lawn ready for spring:
- Tips for getting your cool season lawn ready for spring.
- Strategies to get your spring lawn care off to a good start.
- Tips on how to treat snow mold in lawns.
- Tips for planting cool season grass in spring.
Getting Your Lawn Ready for Spring
Once the snow has melted off your yard, it’s time to grab the rake or lawn sweeper to clean off the lawn. You want to wake up the matted grass, so it stands tall.
If you have a medium to large property, a lawn sweeper will pick up twigs, leftover leaves, bark, and pine cones as well as rake your grass. You save time and you won’t have any muscle stiffness after cleaning up your property.
Here are some other spring lawn care tips:
- When the forsythia shrub blossoms, it’s time to put down pre-emergent herbicides. The pre-emergent forms a barrier in the soil to prevent weeds from germinating. Timing is key, though. If you wait too long, crabgrass and other grassy weeds will sprout.
- On a practical level, surface soil temperatures need to reach 55°F for four to five days before you put down pre-emergent weed killer.
- Get your lawn mower ready for the first cut of the season. Your mower blades need to be sharp, the oil and oil filter changed, and fresh gas put in the mower.
- Raise your mower blades to take off 2” of grass off the top to begin the season. After two to three mows, you can raise the blades to only take the top third off the grass plant.
- Evaluate your yard grass. Are there areas where grass won’t grow? What about areas where your dog urinated? If you have brown spots due to your dog, then rake up those spots and plant grass seed.
- Similarly, you want to prepare the soil to replace the bare patches. You first want to know what caused the dead spots—was it grubs? A grass disease? Did those areas lack sufficient nutrients in the soil?
- Get a soil test kit through your local extension office. Your extension agent can help you with soil testing. Follow the test results for lime or sulfur to adjust soil pH and use a fertilizer that has the right amount of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).
- As spring heads toward summer, you’ll need to spot spray broadleaf weeds. Broadleaf weeds include dandelions, clover, plantain, and others.
- Loosen up those parts of your lawn that get heavy foot traffic, such as the backyard. Use a spike and plug aerator to loosen up soil even if you’re not overseeding your yard. You can add topdressing or compost over the aeration holes to feed the soil.
- Get your push or tow spreader ready for fertilizing your lawn grass. Springtime is the perfect time to feed your soil. If you put down a winter fertilizer (winterizer) in late fall, you can skip this step.
How to Treat Snow Mold in Lawns
Depending on the winter, you may have had some early, heavy snowfalls before the ground got a chance to freeze. If your lawn was sandwiched between heavy wet snow on top of it while it laid on damp soil, there’s a good chance your lawn grass may have snow mold.
Wet leaves, long grass, and too much nitrogen fertilizer all contribute to the growth of snow mold. There are two types of snow mold:
- Gray snow mold a common snow mold on residential lawns. You’ll notice gray to bleach white patches on your yard. These patches can range from small to very large.
- Pink snow mold occurs more often on golf courses than on residential lawns. Yet, there are cases where homeowners had pink snow mold.
As the snow starts to melt, you’ll notice snow mold on your yard, especially along your driveway where piles of snow sat on top of the grass throughout the winter.
The freeze/thaw cycles of winter caused the snow to melt and then refreeze—adding moisture to the turf so it couldn’t dry out.
For snow mold, you’ll notice straw-colored grass that looks crusty. You can rake the grass to remove the mold and to help your lawn to dry out.
Otherwise, you need to wait until the lawn greens up to see where you need to reseed it. There are no fungicides available to kill snow mold once your turf has it.
However, there are preventative measures you can take in the fall so that snow mold doesn’t return the following winter:
- Mow your lawn short right before winter.
- Clean up your yard of all leaves and other debris.
- Don’t let snow pile up along your driveway or walkways.
- Cut back on the amount of nitrogen fertilizer you use in your yard. Test your soil to see what nutrients are missing and add the right fertilizer to fix those deficiencies.
- Use a fungicide preventer to give an extra layer of protection before winter.
Planting Cool Season Grass in Spring
Now comes the fun part. It’s time to plant cool season grasses. While there are many steps involved, you’re moving forward with your spring lawn care.
You’ll be planting cool season grass if you live in the northern half of the U.S. that includes New England, Pennsylvania, the Upper Mid-West, Northern California, or Northwestern U.S.
Wait until daytime temperatures range between 60°F to 75°F and the soil surface temperature is 50°F to 65°F. If you wait until soil temperatures go beyond 65°F and daytime temperatures reach 80°F, you’ll find that cool season grass won’t germinate.
Most cool season grasses grow by seed. However, if you want an instant lawn, you may want to put down sod.
Don’t put down any pre-emergent weed control if you’re planting grass. Here are 11 steps for planting cool season grass in spring:
- Grade the area where you’ll be planting your grass seed. You want the area to slope away from the house, but you want to avoid steep slopes because of erosion.
- If you’re renovating a weedy lawn, you want to use a non-selective weed killer such as Glysophate, to remove all grass and weeds.
A lawn sprayer will help you get the job done faster if you have a lot of acreage. Remember that non-selective means that the product will kill all grass, weeds and other plants. So, be careful not to spray the product into landscaped areas.
Follow all directions and waiting periods stated on the herbicide’s container. If the first round of weed control didn’t get all of the grass and weeds, you need spray another round of weed killer after the waiting period.
- Measure the square footage of your yard where you’ll be planting grass seed. Your measurements may be approximate, which is okay since fertilizer, grass seed, and soil amendment bags are estimates as well.
You can download online measuring tools to calculate your property’s square footage.
- Clean up the area that’s stripped of grass and weeds. Then, you need to test the soil. Contact your local extension office to get a soil test. When you get the results back, follow the directions to get your soil back to health.
- If your soil test shows that the pH of your soil is below 6.0 or higher than 7.5, you’ll need to add a soil amendment to fix the pH.
Since turf grows in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5, you need to use lime if the soil is below 6.0 and sulfur for pH over 7.5. You’ll need a tow-behind cart to get those heavy bags of soil amendment, and later fertilizer, to the area where you’re planting lawn grass.
- Next, you want to add high-quality fertilizer to give the soil the nutrients it needs to house grass. Again, your soil test results should guide you to the correct fertilizer for your lawn. A push spreader or a tow spreader will help you spread soil amendments and fertilizer.
- Rake in the fertilizer and soil amendment into the ground. Remove all rocks or stones that you see. Add compost or other organic matter into the soil to give it a boost of nutrition. Make sure you work that organic matter into the ground to a depth of 2” – 4”.
- Use only quality grass seed. Research different brands to see what they offer and then go to your favorite box store or independent garden center to buy the seed. Take your yard’s square footage with you, so you buy the right amount of grass seed.
Also, buy the right grass seed to match the area where you’re planting it. Some grass seed mixes work well in the shade, while others do their best in full sun. Plus, there are grass seed formulas designed for the unique needs of your region.
- Then, you need to work the seed in with your lawn rake, so the seed goes into ¼” of soil. Next, use a lawn roller to provide soil to seed contact.
- Lightly water your lawn two to three times a day, making sure the water penetrates into the soil. You’re finished watering when you see that the water has percolated one inch into the ground or the water starts puddling.
Once the grass seed pops through the ground, you can cut back on how much you water the new turf.
It takes four to 10 weeks for the turf roots to be established underground. So, it’s vital that you regularly water your new lawn without flooding it.
You’ll continue to cut back your watering until the turf is fully established, and then you can irrigate your lawn two times a week with a good soaking.
- It’ll take a full season for your lawn to be fully established. Make sure you limit the amount of foot traffic on that area of the yard that you just planted.
Why You Need Brinly’s Lawn Care and Garden Attachments to Help You Get Your Cool Season Lawn Ready for Spring
There are many spring lawn care tasks you need to do to get your cool season lawn ready for spring.
Make your job easier and more efficient with Brinly’s Residential Lawn Care and Garden Attachments. You can find your Brinly Lawn Care Attachments at these online retailers. If you can’t find any Brinly Lawn Care and Garden Attachments retailers near you, call our customer service at 877-728-8224 or fill out our contact form.