Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, April 3, 2015

Spring lawn care

Do It Yourself

April Sherrill

The birds are chirping, the thunderstorms are starting, and the weeds are popping up all over the yard. Reviving your lawn after a cold winter can be a daunting task, especially if proper measures were not taken in the colder months. 

In order to create a thriving, beautiful lawn it needs to be tended to early. There are crucial steps to take now in order to be rewarded with a beautiful, lush lawn that everyone will envy.

Dead grass, lawn clippings, debris, and leaves accumulate and become matted into the yard, which can create thatch. A small amount of thatch provides protection for the roots and is great for the yard, but a half-inch or more can prevent moisture and nutrients from being able to penetrate the soil and promote healthy growth. Dethatch the yard by giving it a good once over with a de-hatching or strong metal rake.

In order to grow a green, solid lawn you need good soil. To find out the condition of the soil perform a PH test, which you or a lawn care company can perform. Lowes, Home Depot, and most small nurseries sell DIY kits to test the PH of the soil.

Just as you would do a spring-cleaning for the home, it is also a great idea to do a spring-cleaning in the yard. Grab the gloves and pruners and do a thorough walk thru of the yard, to access what needs to be pruned and cut down. Trim the trees and bushes, remove any dead debris, and clean the flower beds out. 

Areas of the yard that contend with high traffic, from both kids and dogs, tend to become compacted, making it tough for grass to grow. 

To alleviate the compaction of the lawn, it needs to be aerated either manually or mechanically. The aeration process involves perforating the soil with small holes, to give roots room to spread and allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate.

Pretreating weeds is the best option for a weed free spring lawn. Apply a pre-emergent herbicide early before weeds sprout. If it is too late in the season for this, try using a post-emergent herbicide, designed to kill growing weeds.

Check for any bare spots in the lawn where grass seeds need planting. Planting grass in the spring will call for many watering treatments in the hot summer months and possibly the need to be reseeded in the fall. 

However, an easier but more expensive alternative would be to lay sod in the bare spots. Cut the sod to match the size of the areas to be covered. Sod still requires many watering sessions.

Also remember to check performance of all your lawn equipment. Sharpen blades, change the oil, replace air filters, and if necessary, take equipment in for a tune up. 

Creating a beautiful lawn can be an easy but daunting task. The earlier the maintenance is started the easier it will be to keep up with the rest of the season. Keeping your yard beautiful creates an extension from outside to inside, and curb appeal is crucial when trying to sell your home. Remember, as with many things: the earlier, the better. Happy Spring!

April Sherrill is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald. Contact her at april@dailydata.com.