Spring Lawn Maintenance
Did you know American homeowners spend about $6.4 billion annually on lawn care*? This past winter was a long and challenging one for all of us! Even though there is still a little snow on the ground and the temperatures do not yet feel like spring; it is in fact time to do lawn maintenance. In order for a healthy summer lawn, you need to start working on it now. Winter weather and temperatures can alter soil pH, compact it, and create conditions friendly to weeds and disease. So it is very important that property owners spend the time and effort now to clean, fertilize and prepare your yard. Below are a few tips to help you.
- Addressing Problem Areas - Whatever damage occurred or problem areas were created as a result of winter’s wrath, these need to be addressed sooner rather than later. They can cause stress to your lawn which can result in bigger problems later, like disease. One common problem is uneven ground (maybe from where a snow plow pushed up the ground). Low spots cause drainage problems, while high spots can get scalped by law mowers. Leveling out uneven ground is a good idea before starting to put any fertilizers or seeds down. Another problem can be when the soil becomes densely packed together, which makes it hard for grass seeds to take root. You can loosen up your soil with an aerator, which is designed to remove small plugs of soil from your lawn.
- Fertilizing and Planting Grass Seeds - If your grass is well-established, then you can encourage growth and discourage weeds by applying fertilizer. Though according to New York state law, application of any fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium on lawns is prohibited between December 1 and April 1. Also note that application of any fertilizer on lawns within 20 feet of a water body or on paved surfaces is restricted. The pH level of the soil is an important determiner of what type of fertilizer to use. In general, lawns in our area should have a soil pH range of 6-7. If you are wanting to plant grass for the first time or if you want to encourage new growth in specific areas, then you will need to determine which variety of grass seed will work best with the amount of daily sunlight in your yard. There are a number of different types of grass seed to choose from, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.
- Watering and Mowing Your Lawn - Watering your lawn regularly is as important as the fertilizer and grass seed you put down. Watering every few days keeps moisture in the soil which is key for new growth. Watering is also critical for fertilizer, which often has a slow-release component to it and requires water to do so. And mow the grass when it reaches 3 or 4 inches in height. There are disadvantages to cutting your lawn too short… it can remove nutrients from the grass itself and it can expose more soil to sunlight which encourages weed growth. And finally, when you do mow your lawn, don’t bag those grass clippings. Leaving the clippings on the lawn because it is organic matter which is great for the soil.
These are just a few tips to help get you started this spring season in caring for your lawn. Come in to Chappaqua Paint & Hardware today and our knowledgeable staff can answer any questions you might have about lawn maintenance, as well as assist you with picking out the right fertilizers, grass seeds, lawn care equipment, and more.
* according to the Professional Lawn Care Association