As a homeowner, nothing can compare to a green, lush lawn. The kind of lawn you can walk across barefoot to pick up your Sunday paper or play catch with your kids. Nothing can beat a natural carpet to run your toes through as you relax on a warm summer afternoon. If that is what you are picturing for your lawn then the time to start is now.
Begin your lawn care with an overall clean-up! Rake up dead leaves, sticks and stones and as much debris as possible.
Here in New Jersey, we have an abundance of Oak and Pine trees. They lower the pH level in our soil. The pH levels must range between 6.0-7.0 for optimum uptake of fertilizer, so liming is an important part of lawn care because it helps raise the pH level by providing calcium carbonate.
Crabgrass and Weed Prevention
WAIT! Are you seeding this Spring or maintaining your existing lawn?
Before applying crabgrass prevention you will need to seed your lawn. After the Forsythia is in full bloom the soil temperature is rising, which means it is time to apply Crabgrass Prevention. After seeding it is important to use a crabgrass preventer that allows your seeds to germinate. The active ingredient will be either Siduron or Turpersan. This active ingredient will only last for 30 days, so two applications may be required for maximum effectiveness.
For maintaining your existing lawn:
After the Forsythia is in full bloom the soil temperature is rising which means it is time to apply Crabgrass Prevention. Timing is important because the active ingredient, Dimension or Pendimethalin, is only effective for 60 days after it is applied to your lawn. If stored in a dry, protected container the remaining product can use for a second application at the end of May, beginning of June for crabgrasses’ kissing cousin, goosegrass. Crabgrass prevention comes in two forms: straight preventer or a combined with a spring fertilizer.
Broadleaf Weed Killer:
Proper planning is necessary when applying Broadleaf Weed Killers. Broadleaf weeds need to be actively growing. The optimum time for application is when dandelions are yellow and in full bloom. There should be no rain or irrigation for 24-48 hours after application.
Your new seed has to grow to a height of 3” and then get three cuts before you can apply a Broadleaf Weed Killer (dandelion and plantain). After cutting the grass wait around three days for application, because the weed’s surface needs to be large enough for the product to be successful. The ideal time to apply Broadleaf Weed Killer is with the morning dew because the product works more effectively when it can adhere to the moist weed surface. Wait 5-7 days to cut your lawn again so that the active ingredients can take effect.
It’s best to wait around three days after cutting your lawn for application because the weed’s surface needs to be large enough for the product to be successful. The ideal time to apply Broadleaf Weed Killer is with the morning dew because the product works more effectively when it can adhere to the moist weed surface. Wait 5-7 days to cut your lawn again so that the active ingredients can take effect.
Last, but not least, it is time to fertilize your lawn!
Fertilizing is one of the most important aspects of turf health. As stated before lime will maximize the effectiveness of the fertilizer. Most spring fertilizers are in combination with the crabgrass and broadleaf products; however, applying fertilizer and control products can be done separately.
A fertilizer with high water insoluble nitrogen will provide you with an extended feeding for your lawn giving you more time between applications and will also keep your lawn dark green longer.
What do these numbers mean to you?
22 – 0 – 4
Nitrogen (N) – Phosphorus (P) – Potassium (K)
Lawns need food, water, and special attention to survive and flourish into that lush green look you’re striving for. The three key elements for building a healthy and lively lawn are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus – with each having its own unique qualities and benefits.
Nitrogen is the most important of the three elements. Nitrogen promotes healthy, hardy and strong growth while helping your lawn achieve its vibrant green color. If your lawn is healthy, it will naturally fight off pests that would otherwise require specific chemicals or applications.
Phosphorus promotes early root growth and helps seedlings establish at a rapid pace – allowing your lawn to withstand environmental stress and disease.
Note: Phosphorus levels are sufficient enough in the tri-state area because it is not water soluble and remains in the soil for normal backyard gardening. The state governments have actually banned the use of phosphorus in lawn fertilizers, except when seeding.
Potassium encourages healthy root development and winter hardiness – increasing its resistance to drought, disease, cold weather, and heavy foot traffic.
Grubs and bugs are destructive to your turf because they eat the roots and root hairs. When looking for insect control products, there are season-long control and immediate control. Spring is a good time to seek out long-term prevention by using Scott’s Grub-Ex or Bayer Season-Long Insect Control (which are yours free with the purchase of one of our 4-Step Fertilizer Programs!). You should apply insect control sometime between April 15th and May 1st to ensure you are effectively reaching the grubs before they pupate into Japanese Beetles.
Check out our great deals on LAWN PROGRAMS that will have your whole year covered!
We wish you the best as you get started on your lawn and gardens this spring. If you have any spring lawn care questions come in and talk to us or give us a call. We are here to help!