By the time you read this we hope that spring will have arrived, trees will have bud, birds will have been chirping, and that the Jersey Shore will have made great progress towards repairing itself from Sandy. We all love the sound of the roaring engines when they announce the beginning of a road race, but have we ever thought of all of the preparation the racing team has done to get ready for the big race day? Does Tiger Woods just show up at the Masters and expect to win every time, no! Would you go out on your lawn this spring, fill the spreader and go to town without a plan? We hope not.
The first thing you want to do is clear all debris from your lawn and garden beds. Does the whole lawn need a good raking to remove matted leaves? Do you need to level out problems or fix drainage spots from the storm? What about your mower? Have you had it serviced and is the blade sharpened, is it ready to go? You should have serviced the mower last fall after your last mowing! So, put that spreader away until you figure out your first application whether it will be to apply grass seed or fertilizer. Remember, in New Jersey and in many states you cannot apply fertilizers before March 1st. Check your state government websites for up to date information on fertilizer laws that may affect your area.
What about your spreader in the shed? Did you do preventative maintenance each time you used it last year? You need to wash it down with a hose after each use and spray a small amount of lubricant on the wheels axles and on other moving parts to keep them from seizing up for your next use. We would rather you apply an early spring application of regular lawn fertilizer like Green-Up Lawn Fertilizer in March than apply any pre-emergent crabgrass controls. This will help the lawn wake up from its long winter nap changing the lawn from sick yellow to a nice green color provided the daytime temperatures are above 50 degrees for a number of days after your application. If you need to do some seeding early spring is best. You want to get the seed in the ground and well established before the summers potential heat and drought comes along.
You will want to delay applying Crabgrass Preventer plus Green-Up Lawn Fertilizer until later in the spring after any grass seed has germinated and been mowed 3-4 times. Crabgrass has been a real problem in past years due to excessive spring rains that have delayed crabgrass germination. Remember, crabgrass seeds can germinate until mid-summer and applications later in the spring will provide better summer crabgrass control provided you use our Crabgrass Preventer plus Green-Up as your choice of control. This product contains Dimension herbicide which can control crabgrass even after it has germinated up to the three leave stage. Excessive heat and drought during summer months tends to shut down grass growth in order for the plant to conserve energy and survive. When these conditions arrive and the lawn stops growing, crabgrass has a great chance of taking over your sunny areas of your yard. You noticed we said the “sunny” areas because crabgrass does not grow in “shaded” areas. So why would you put crabgrass preventer in shaded areas of your lawn? Why not save the money and preserve the environment in shaded areas?
You should not have to use your sprinkler system until late spring. Normal spring rains usually provide enough moisture in the ground for healthy lawn growth. Without the hot, dry summer heat the ground does not tend to dry out quickly in spring.
Remember to think your way through lawn problems this year. Do not just guess or throw down a few applications if you are not sure of the proper timing. Visit your local independent lawn and garden dealer or hardware store for advice if you are not sure what to do next. Your plan during the year may have to change based on the weather patterns that Mother Nature provides. Be flexible; be open to change to achieve the best lawn you ever had. Good luck this year with your lawn.