Spring Lawn Care After Snow, Rain, or Drought

Well – since we’re all home…. let’s work on the house!!!  (If you don’t have a house to work on – great time to plan and budget)…  back to the house – let’s talk about that yard….

Winter can bring extremes to many areas of the country.  Shelter in Place even more so.  If’ you’re stuck at home – what better time to work on the house… 

No matter what this winter was like where you live, your lawn is probably in need of a little TLC. Here is how to bring your yard back from the dead after rain, snow, or drought.

After Rain

If your area had a rainy winter, your lawn may be in very good shape. However, there is a point where there may have been too much rain and lawns can become waterlogged, especially if you have clay or heavily compacted soil. Waterlogging is caused when water sits on the soil surface and drains slowly, or fails to drain at all.

The Problems

  • Algae, lichens and liverworts
  • Moss
  • Clumps of rush may seed themselves, forming tussocks
  • Dry patches

The Solution

  1. Sweep off any excess water.
  2. Aerate your lawn with 1-inch deep holes for mild waterlogged lawns and 4-6 inches for more severe cases. This can be done by hand, or with power tools like a hollow tiner.
  3. Fill the holes with a free-draining material, such as lawn top dressings or horticultural sand which will allow the water to flow from the surface to deeper, less compacted layers.
  4. Remove moss and algae and spray with moss killer.
  5. Fertilize.

Prevention

  • Spiking it every few years in autumn
  • Feeding in autumn with a lawn feed, rich in phosphorus
  • Install a drainage system
  • Replace your lawn using turf laid on a bed of sharp sand

After Snow

After the snow melts, you may find that your lawn is not in the best shape. To help your lawn return to the lush green it once was, here’s what you need to know:

The Problems

  • Dead foliage
  • Snow mold
  • Dry patches
  • Compacted soil
  • Frozen sections

The Solution

  1. Wait for your lawn to completely thaw. Raking or mowing your grass before it thaws is likely to tear out grass and leave open patches in your lawn where weeds will find a home.
  2. Rake using a thatching rake to clear debris and thatch.
  3. Check for grey or pink snow mold; a cottony fungus which grows 6-12 inches in diameter. Though there isn’t a product you can spray to rid your lawn of snow mold, a deep raking will cure most mild cases.
  4. For lawns with compacted soil, aerate and fill holes with free-draining materials.
  5. Don’t water right away. Grass roots need to chase the water from the melting snow and spring rains. This will encourage deeper root growth to make your lawn healthier.
  6. Fertilize.

Prevention

Preventing your lawn from dying after the winter starts with your watering method. To help your lawn stay healthy year round, you should water:

  • Deep
  • Less frequently – don’t water every day
  • In the early morning, never in the afternoon due to evaporation or evening due to fungus.

After/During Drought

Many areas in California, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Oklahoma are experiencing severe drought conditions. Keeping a lawn healthy in these areas can be a challenge.

The Problems

  • Lack of water
  • Unbalanced soil
  • Unseasonably hot temperatures

The Solution

Before you start treating your lawn during a drought, make sure you know if any drought water laws or regulations exist in your area and comply with them.

  1. Aerate and fill holes with nutrient rich fertilizer.
  2. Water deep, evenly, and infrequently with a garden hose or professionally-installed irrigation system instead of hose sprinklers.
  3. Overseed or “seed and feed” to increase moisture retention and restore soil balance.
  4. Reduce mowing frequency and opt for a push mower instead of a ride-on one as heavy equipment can damage the fragile blades. Don’t mow your lawn until it gets to 3 inches to allow for maximum nutrient absorption into grass blades, and don’t cut off more than 1/3 of the leaf blade.

Prevention

The best prevention for a drought-ridden lawn is a wet winter and sufficient water supplies. Until Mother Nature cooperates, you can:

  • Install a deep irrigation system if you don’t already have one
  • Keep a watering schedule

 

I read this article at: HERE

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5 Ways You’re Destroying Your Lawn

A beautiful, well-manicured lawn is a source of great pride for many homeowners. Maintaining a healthy lawn takes work and hours of TLC, including regular watering, cutting, and laying down fertilizer. A lawn that’s cared for shows that you take pride in your home’s appearance. And all that curb appeal can really pay off when it comes time to sell your house.

However, your lawn can also become a source of gut-wrenching angst. Reason: Many well-meaning and proactive homeowners make mistakes in lawn care that produce dreadful and depressing results. A little too much love can be, well, too much.

If your lawn has been looking particularly sickly, you might be to blame. Reflect on your lawn care regimen and ask yourself: Have you made any of the mistakes below? The answer to solving your lawn troubles may be realizing you’ve been ruining it all along.

1. Improper watering

Water management is the No. 1 mistake made by homeowners with established lawns, according to Clint Waltz, professor and turfgrass extension specialist in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia. So just how much water does your lawn need per week?

“Watering just an inch of water a week is good if you have good rainfall,” Waltz says. If you’re in an area that doesn’t receive as much rain, then you’ll need to lend a helping hand with more frequent waterings.

To check how much water your lawn gets each week, leave several cups out and measure the water level at the end of seven days.

An irrigation system can help your lawn get the water it needs and maintain a consistent watering schedule. Some sprinkler systems even have rain or moisture sensors to detect water levels and turn the system on and off.

2. Planting only one type (or the wrong kind) of grass

Variety is not only the spice of life—it’s also a necessary ingredient for a healthy lawn, according to Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs at the National Association of Landscape Professionals in Fairfax, VA.

“When planting grass seed, choose a variety of seeds so your lawn is more likely to weather poor conditions like heat and drought,” she advises.

You also need to determine the best grass for your environment.

“Species selection is critical, and you have to understand which species fits in each site,” Waltz says. For example, he says, Bermuda grass doesn’t handle shady environments well. Also, if you live in the southern region with hot summers and mild winters, consider such warm-season turf types as St. Augustine grass, zoysia grass, and centipede grass.

However, if you live in the northern region and experience bitter cold winters, tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass are better bets.

Some people live in regions with weather at both extremes. For those areas, Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, zoysia grass, and Bermuda grass are good choices. Waltz recommends checking with your local county extension agent or university specialist to find out which grasses grow best in your area.

3. Not taking soil health seriously

A healthy lawn starts below the surface, in the soil.

“If your soil is compacted or missing necessary nutrients, grass will not thrive, no matter how hard you try,” Henriksen says. She recommends aerating your lawn every one or two years, depending on your soil type. Aerating is the process of putting small holes in the lawn so water, air, and nutrients can reach the soil.

“A soil test should be conducted at least every three years to determine what nutrients are needed so the proper fertilizer can be used,” says Henriksen. Once you determine the correct type of fertilizer, she says, it needs to be applied correctly.

“Correctly means at the right time of year, in proper amounts, and with the correct applicator,” she says. “And you should consult manufacturer recommendations for guidance.”

4. Mowing the lawn at the wrong time

Contrary to what you might see on lawnmower commercials, most homeowners don’t get excited about mowing their lawn. But when the time comes, it’s important to mow your lawn under the right conditions.

“Generally, grass should be trimmed to 2½ to 3 inches, depending on the grass type, and no more than a third of the grass blade should be removed at one time,” says Henriksen. So if it’s at or below that height, hold off on cutting. Grass that’s too short stresses the grass blades and makes them more susceptible to disease, she says.

Mowing wet grass is another mistake many homeowners make. The moisture will weigh the grass blades down and make it difficult to get a clean, straight cut. The wet clippings will also clump up and make your lawn look uneven.

Also, failing to keep the mower blades sharp causes the cuts to be ragged, and this increases the chances that the grass will develop diseases and attract pests.

You should also refrain from mowing your lawn in the same direction every time; otherwise, you’ll end up creating grooves in the grass. (Grooves are not groovy.)

5. Not knowing environmental stressors

Environmental stressors are conditions that affect the ability of grass to thrive.

“These stressors include excessive amounts of precipitation, drought, temperature extremes, construction, and foot traffic,” Henriksen says, “and each can take its toll on the health of your lawn.”

For example, if you overwater your grass, the excessive moisture creates the perfect conditions for weeds, leaf mold, and leaf spots.

“Lawns that are overfertilized are also susceptible to weeds, while lawns that have heavy foot traffic can experience compacted soil, which is problematic for their health,” she explains. Too much foot traffic will prevent water from reaching the roots, and when that happens, you’ll be left with a brown lawn.

By Terri Williams

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