Spring Lawn Care In The South
In most parts of the country, the transition from winter to spring presents the ideal moment to restart lawn care efforts. In the South, the biggest lawn care seasons are winter and summer. In order to prepare your lawn for the humid, steaming summers of the South, spring lawn care must be properly executed to cultivate a green and healthy grass.
Spring lawn care in the South usually starts with overseeding. Overseeding is when you sow in a different variety of grass than what grows naturally out of your lawn. Many Southern property owners do this to help protect grass and make it grow green during the cold months. By overseeding the grass with cool season varieties before the winter, lawns are protected from feeling the harsh effects of dry and cold winters. Otherwise, the warm season grass commonly found in most Southern states turn brown and dormant.
If you have overseeded your lawn, here are some ways you can help it prepare for the spring season:
- Mow the lawn as low as possible without hurting the permanent grass. Once a week should be enough.
- Cut back on irrigation to discourage the cold season grass variety from growing.
- Do not fertilize after February.
- Once the season has turned consistently warm, reduce the rate of mowing and allow the grass to simply grow. This will allow the cool season grass to grow out and be overpowered by the natural warm season grass.
If you didn't overseed your lawn before the spring, follow these tips:
- Fertilize the lawn with a spring fertilizing treatment to help give the grass a push in growth.
- Apply pre-emergent herbicide as an early prevention step for summer weeds
- Once the temperatures warms to around 70°F, increase your watering and irrigation schedule.
- Restart a mowing schedule.
- If the soil has compacted, aerate the soil and rake a ½-inch of compost into the holes. You must wait until May to do this; otherwise, the grass may not grow after aeration. You can test the soil to see if it needs to be aerated by running water across the surface. If it doesn't absorb into the soil, it is too compact.
- Dig up or spray non-grassy weeds with a broadleaf weed killer. It's important to kill the weeds before they flower and set seeds for more weeds.
Spring lawn care in the South is generally focused on preparing it to handle the extreme heat of summers experienced in the region. This means fertilizing, watering, and weed control need to be done carefully to arm the grass against the heat while not overburdening it with excess chemicals. Following the above steps should help most lawns be ready to handle the scorching summers of the South.