Prepare Your Turf for Spring
With the coming of spring, Colorado lawns are getting a wakeup call. To be sure they start off the season in a good mood, here are some suggestions:
Clear Away Debris
Fallen leaves, needles and miscellaneous debris all keep needed air and sunlight from reaching the thousands of individual plants that make up your lawn. You should have gotten rid of most debris in the fall, but clearing away the leftovers will help your yard wake up happy.
Mow if Needed
Once your grass has stretched awake, check its length. For cool-climate grasses like bluegrass, rye and fescue, a first cutting to 1 ½ inches removes dead grass and lets more sunlight reach the plant crowns while the air is still cool. Once the growing season is underway, let the grass grow 2 or more inches tall. Cutting it shorter risks sun scald and desiccation; longer grass conserves moisture and keeps weeds down.
Use a sharp blade to avoid shredding the grass causing it to require more water and become more susceptible to disease. Resharpen the blade every 6-8 weeks during growing season for best results.
Organic debris can accumulate over time, stressing or even killing parts of your lawn and encouraging weeds to grow. If you have more than half an inch or so of thatch, use a thatching rake or power dethatcher to remove it.
Grass roots need oxygen and nutrients as well as water. Fall is the best time to aerate, after a summer of activity has compacted the soil. But spring is a close second, especially if you missed it in the fall. Water a day or two before to soften the soil and apply compost or sand after aeration to help keep the soil loose. Leave the plugs in place. Watering, mowing and nature will break them down and add them back into the soil.
Overseed to Thicken and Fill
Spring and fall are both good times to overseed a lawn of cool-season grasses. Scuff up bare spots to give the seed a place to shelter and grow. Use a broadcast spreader for even coverage and water the seed in to keep it from blowing away and help it get established.
Be sure to provide adequate moisture to the grass throughout the year, especially during hot and dry spells. Don’t overwater, though. Besides wasting water, too much moisture can cut off badly needed oxygen to the roots and wash away nutrients. Your local water utility will have specific watering guides for your particular area.
Donovan Arborists offers a complete landscape maintenance package for property managers in the Denver area that includes care of trees, shrubs and turf. We’re happy to give free estimates to homeowners and property managers for any services you may need.