Although the calendar now reads May, many homeowners may feel it is too late to prep their lawn for summer. But the good news is, there is still time to prime that green landscape. As with all gardening tasks, a little work and attention, even in small daily bites, can have a large positive effect on vegetation throughout warmer months.
Prepping Your lawn.
Those leaves and branches that might have fallen or blown onto lawns over the winter are not simply an eyesore. Raking and removing tree stems and clearing debris will allow fertilizer and seed treatments of the lawn to take hold with much better results.
No matter where you live in Massachusetts, crab grass is everywhere. One way to treat it is with a “pre-emergent.” However, with abnormal warm late winter and early spring temperatures, most areas have already experienced crab grass emergence. Any sign today of crab grass means it too late for pre-emergent treatment.
If you have lots of crabgrass (clover, or other broadleaf weeds), you can still control those annoying weeds with a post-emergent spray. There are many types to choose from, but very few organic options. Most forms are “hose end” treatments (a container attaches to the end of your hose) or a ready-to-use spray bottle. These will effectively kill crabgrass and other weeds leaving more room for healthier grass. If the first pass does not solve the problem, a second application is sometimes necessary to reduce stubborn weeds.
Improving the Health of Your Lawn
Speaking of healthy grass, this week is the perfect time to improve the health of your lawn. There are three things you can do this week to help your lawn: add lime, fertilize, and apply grass seed.
Here in New England the soil tends to be acidic, and since grass prefers a neutral pH environment, adding lime to your lawn, can help create a healthier environment for grass to grow. With the treatment of any lime, give your lawn a good watering to help the lime penetrate the ground.
Adding fertilizer up to four times a year will help your grass grow a strong root system. Remember, a thicker coat of grass also means less work weeding later in the summer. Great organic and conventional options are readily available. With the treatment of any fertilizer, give your lawn a good soaking to help the fertilizer penetrate the ground.
Adding grass seed to your lawn will help thicken your grass and choke out weeds. Make sure to spread grass seed to your entire lawn, especially in spots that seem thin or weak. Spring is the ideal time to add grass seed because the combination of warm days and cool nights creates dew and the added exposure to moisture helps the seeds germinate. Once you spread the seed, be sure to give it a light watering for the first seven to ten days to ensure that the grass seed is kept moist. Usually a light watering each day will be enough to keep the seed moist and will help set the seed into the lawn.
While a thicker bed of grass makes a beautiful backdrop to a home, a healthy lawn also provides many other benefits. It requires less weeding and caring later in the summer, more time to enjoy those lazy days and also gives that wonderful, organic feel between your toes.
Information for this article was contributed by Wilson Farm, 10 Pleasant St., Lexington.