The warm weather has arrived and the grass is growing!
Every year, as the Iowa heat kicks up, homeowners face the daunting task of readying the lawn for the warmer months ahead. It’s important to be thorough in your lawn prep. Cutting corners now could mean that at the peak of summer, you’ll be spending your weekends making up for spring lawn care oversights. Stay on top of your game to ensure healthy and beautiful grass that demands no more of your time than is necessary.
The dethatch, or not to dethatch, that is the question?
Dead grass and clippings accumulate and get matted down into thatch, which prevents germination of new grass, and promotes fungus growth and pest infestation. Dethatching the lawn is tedious, but easy using either a lawn rake with stiff tines or a special dethatching rake.
To grow grass — and that garden successfully —you need the right soil. Purchase a soil test kit for around $10 from your neighborhood garden store, or send a soil sample to your local extension office to find out if your lawn needs a treatment.
Clearing away the ravages of winter — and the late leaves of last fall — are not unusual tasks this season. Removed leaves, prune damaged or dead branches from trees and bushes, and remove twigs or leaves you find lingering on the grass.
It’s easy for the soil beneath grass to gradually become compacted and inhospitable to grass roots. Manual or mechanical aeration reverses the damage done. Wine cork-size plugs are drawn out of the lawn surface, giving roots room to spread and allowing air, nutrients, and moisture to penetrate the soil.
Get Out of the Weeds
Weeds are the worst. If you don’t act against weeds before they emerge, you’ll spend the summer battling them—and it’s not a fight you’re liable to win. Prevent weeds from even sprouting by applying a pre-emergent herbicide. For an alternative treatment free of harmful chemicals, try cornmeal.
On any bare patches of ground, skip the herbicide and opt instead for grass seed. Be aware, however, that if you’re planting grass in the spring, it’s going to need lots of TLC during the hot summer months—that is, consistent watering and regular weeding—and you’ll most likely have to seed again in the fall.
It goes without saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Setting off on the right course in spring can help ensure that your grass thrives right through to fall, bolstering that curb appeal you count on it to provide.