Spring is coming and your lawn is getting ready to wake up from the long winter. But when is the best time to start mowing your lawn? The best time to mow your lawn is in early spring after the risk of frost has passed. You don’t want to shock your grass’s new growth by cutting too quickly.
Once you’re sure the risk of frost has passed, before you mow, it’s important to prepare your lawn for the season. Applying a weed and feed fertilizer as part of your lawn care is a good idea before any mowing happens. Just remember to wait until after April 1, as it is illegal in Nassau and Suffolk counties to apply fertilizer before then.
Once it’s warmed up, you’ve fed and put down weed control, and your lawn has started growing in earnest, it’s time to get your mower ready. When the grass has grown at least two inches tall it should be safe to cut. This helps to protect the roots. Make sure your blade is sharpened and adjusted so that you’re never cutting more than a third of its length in any single cutting. This will help the lawn grow lush and strong. Depending on your type of grass, as a rule of thumb, you should let the lawn reach 2–3” in length.
To help return nutrients to your lawn it’s another good idea to leave some of the clippings where they fall so that they can decompose and release nitrogen.
Finally, don’t water your “new” lawn right away. Wait until the heat arrives to wilt the lawn a bit. This will tell the roots to grow deeper which will help them to survive the heat later in the summer.
We’re officially into the summer heat and the dog days are on their way. So what can you do to keep your lawn as green as possible? These lawn care tips will tell you how to water your lawn to keep it healthy and happy all the way through into the fall.
The amount of water a healthy lawn should receive is about 1-2 inches a week. It is recommended to do a few ‘deep waterings’ because they help promote a deep grass root system instead of ‘short watering’ that creates a shallow grass root system. Set your sprinkler system to do this and you’ll be largely set.
The best time of day to water your lawn is in the very early morning because that the water has time to be used up by the lawn before it gets burned off by the heat. It also helps to prevent fungal diseases which can develop when your lawn is wet all night. Set your watering system to go off at about 4 am and your lawn will thank you.
Remember, an established lawn is better able to withstand a hot day than new turf or a freshly seeded lawn that naturally has more shallow grass roots; so you may want to water a new lawn a bit more often so that it doesn’t suffer from drought stress. If your lawn shows signs of drought stress water it right away, the time of day doesn’t matter.
Sandy soil will need more watering than clay soil so adjust your sprinklers accordingly whether you use a sprinkler system or manual pulsating sprinklers.
Finally, don’t forget that cool-season grass like bluegrass can go dormant in summer. This can cause it to turn brown and look dead. It is a survival mechanism for the plant to make it through severe heat. If this happens don’t worry too much, your grass should come back once it cools a bit. Continue watering your grass as normal and come fall you’ll see your beautiful lawn again.
If you have any other questions about your lawn and how to improve and care for it you can always contact Organically Green Horticultural Services for more information.
As you look outside at your dormant lawn it’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks the pesky weeds will arrive. When the weather warms and plants wake up the weeds in your lawn wake up too. What most people don’t realize is that one of the best times for weed control is before they even start.
Weed seeds wait for the weather to warm before germinating. The best weed control product to handle this issue is called a pre-emergent herbicide. This type of weed preventer addresses weeds only, leaving lawn grass safely behind to grow. It is one of the best ways to get rid of perennial weeds. Crabgrass preventer is another type of pre-emergent herbicide; however, it can also be applied after weeds are visible. Pre-emergent herbicides are often mixed with lawn fertilizer, making spring lawn care even easier. This allows you to kill weeds at the same time as you feed your lawn.
Other types of weed control are called post-emergence herbicides. These get rid of weeds after they have appeared. This kind of weed control also handles all types of weeds including broadleaf weed species and grassy weed species. These fertilizers can be applied through the entire growing season to kill weeds; both annual weeds and perennial weeds are susceptible to this kind of treatment.
The long and the short of it is that staying on top of weeds with early treatment is easier than tackling a serious problem later in the season. If your lawn has only a few weeds here and there you might consider hand pulling, but once the problem gets too large a weed control product may be your only option. Remember that hand-pulled weeds can grow back and in some cases actually spread the seeds of the very weeds you’re trying to eliminate.
During this time of year, it may seem as though spring and summer will never arrive. While it’s definitely not the growing season there are still plenty of garden chores to keep you busy through these winter months.
Though you’ve probably already completed your fall cleanup, it’s important to keep any new leaves from staying on the grass for too long. These leaves can smother the grass and make your lawn care work come spring a lot more difficult. Rake them up and use them as mulch for perennials and bulb planting beds, or put them in with your compost for next year’s garden beds. Your vegetables will thank you.
During the winter most plants and trees are dormant, meaning they’re not actively growing, so it can be a great time to trim your trees and shrubs. This is known as dormant pruning and is actually healthier for your trees and shrubs than pruning during their actively growing stage. You’ll be at less risk for spreading diseases and fewer bugs will be around to attack the wound on the plant.
Keep your eye on evergreen shrubs and if they need it, tie and support them to keep them from breaking in the snow. If you find them bending too much during the early snow that’s a sign that the tree can use a little more support.
Using burlap can help you by providing a windbreak for sensitive hedges, but it can also protect shrubs from deer who get more and more likely to feed in residential areas as the winter wears on.
Finally, if you feed the birds during the summer it’s very important that you keep your feeders full during the winter. Birds become dependent on human-provided food sources over time and having them suddenly disappear can be hard on them during the cold winter months.
Taking care of these winter yard work chores a little bit at a time on the weekends can help make the winter hours pass until you can get back to your more traditional gardening tasks once more.