Are you getting ants in your pants? So excited about spring that you want to seed and put down pre-emergent all in the same day? That is one of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make when it comes to spring lawn care! There are definitely good things that can be done in the spring, but beware of the most common mistakes homeowners make.
Top 4 Spring Lawn Care Mistakes
1. Don't seed your lawn immediately before you put down pre-emergent.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but we see this mistake all the time. People get excited about spring and lay grass seed down, then a week later they apply their pre-emergent. You can guess what happens, the homeowner is scratching his head 3 weeks later wondering why grass isn't growing. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent seeds from germinating, and they don't differentiate from weeds' seeds and grass seeds. So, applying pre-emergent AFTER seeding will prevent those little grass seeds from ever sprouting wasting all the effort of seeding!
TIP: There are many pre-emergents on the market. We suggest you read the label carefully before applying if your main goal is to lay pre-emergent and then seed. The label should tell you how long to wait to seed after applying the pre-emergent.
2. Don't seed too late in the spring.
Pure Green recommends that all seeding take place in the fall, but we know that there are circumstances where seeding in the spring is necessary. If you must, seed in early to mid-spring. Waiting too long will not give the new grass enough time to grow and establish solid roots before the heat of summer shows up. Also, new seedlings need more frequent watering until they reach maturity. This isn't a bad thing until we start talking diseases. Because they need to be constantly moist, they are more susceptible to fungi and other diseases.
TIP: If you're going to seed, do it before the end of April. And even then, watch it closely to make sure the seedlings are growing and are not attracting fungi and disease.
3. Don't fertilize too early or just to "green up" your lawn.
It's easy to get impatient and want bright green grass in early spring. Don't give in to the temptation of applying fertilizer too early in order to green up your lawn. Remember the ALS ice bucket challenge that everyone was taking part in? Peoples' faces were priceless as the freezing water was poured over their heads. This is how your grass will feel! The fertilizer will put your grass in panic mode and it will use all the stored energy it has to "wake up" when it should really stay dormant for another month or so.
TIP: Make sure the fertilizer you're applying is as organic as possible to wake your grass up in a natural manner.
4. Don't power rake while the grass is wet.
Dethatching or power raking is popular in the spring. It helps to freshen up grass and get rid of the dead crowns allowing for new grass to grow and established grass to flourish. However, this process does more harm than good if you try to power rake while grass is wet. Power rakers work by penetrating the grass just above the soil and pulling out the dead crowns. If the grass is wet, the crowns get compacted into the soil instead of being pulled out. The blades also have a tendency to rip into the soil when it's wet as well damaging your turf!
TIP: Pick a dry sunny afternoon for power raking or dethatching. Consider chatting with an expert before beginning to make sure you know what you're doing.
We encourage homeowners to get educated! If you don't know much about your soil's pH levels, find out. A simple test can be purchased at your local hardware store. For anyone who wants to tackle all things lawn care on their own, know what your lawn needs. You will set yourself up for failure if you use the wrong products in the wrong amounts or if you choose to aerate and seed but don't do it properly.
If you are uncertain about what to do, call Pure Green! We are happy to help you sift through all the information and get you on the path to great green grass.