Lawn Care Tips
So you want to know about early spring lawn care tips? Here is a true story that will show you how to prepare your lawn leading into Spring.
One morning as I wipe the sleep out of my eyes and walk to my car I can sense that a familiar headache is coming on…and what’s with the runny nose and watery eyes?
I hear my neighbour Fritz out in the front yard. He is always out there meticulously trimming and tending to his perfect garden and lawn…but that’s just his Germanic heritage. Those Germans are so diligent I think.
“Morning Fritz”, I say. “Oh hello Vayne”, Fritz replies with his strong accent. “What are you up to at this time of the morning Fritz?” I ask.
“Oh, can’t you feel it Vayne? Spring is coming…we have to get the garden ready for spring Vayne…I have to vater the garden and tend to the lawn.”
“Oh yeah, of course,” I say, as I reach for my hay fever tablets cursing Spring.
I have an ongoing neighbourly rivalry with Fritz that dates back to several Christmas’ ago when Fritz taunted me that a foreigner has a better understanding of Australian indigenous plants; maintaining a garden and lawn care than an Aussie.
Fritz taunts me and says, “these are very harsh conditions in Australia, ve must be prepared.”
“Oh yeah Fritz?”
“Yes, Vayne.” He says. “You need to put some spring into your lawn.” And he laughs his hearty laugh like he has told the funniest joke. He even begins to tell it again but you tell him you got it the first time.
That is enough for me. I Google: how to maintain a garden…and then I delete and type how to maintain a garden in harsh Australia and what about early spring lawn care tips?
It tells me that unless I have taken care of my lawn throughout winter my grass may have taken a beating. I take a look at it. It is patchy and pocked and it is uneven and unkempt. I take a peak at Fritz’s patch of hallowed turf and it is perfectly green and even – like the MCG. He already has the upper hand.
Preparation Is The Key – Clean Up But Put Your Kid Gloves On
The temptation is great to teach Fritz a lesson. He thinks he knows everything and he probably does but he can’t know that.
I want to go to town on my yard – fertilise, wiper snip, mow…the whole nine yards but the early spring lawn care tips tell me: avoid heavy yard work in the spring until the soil dries out and foot traffic can compact or disturb soggy soil and damage tender, new grass shoots. I place my size 12 Blundstone on the grass…no good. It feels mushy and sodden.
Taking Care of Business With A Good Rake
What’s next on the list? It reads that a good clean up is essential. Once the soil is adequately dry, remove any leaves and fallen debris, and rake deeply to separate the grass shoots. Don’t just skim the surface. If you use some elbow grease and rake with some vigour you will remove unwanted thatch too.
Get to the Weeds Before They Get to You
Spring is the ideal time to get on top of your weeds situation. Use pre-emergent weed control which works like a charm to prevent weed seeds from germinating.
The Compaction Factor and Aeration
If your lawn is subjected to high levels of traffic it will most probably start to show signs of decline. I place my boot on the soil again. Yep, you have compaction issues Wayne I hear my wife saying inside my head. Compaction issues mean that the soil will become impenetrable. Not ideal.
If your lawn is suffering from compacted soil, moss and other nasties may be visible. This can be rectified by lawn aeration. It’s a good thing that the kids bought me an aerator for Father’s Day several years ago…they’ll be happy that I will finally get to put it to use.
When you have soil compaction issues the soil becomes impenetrable and what your lawn needs is water, nutrients and oxygen to get to the lawn’s roots. Without this, over time it will weaken the lawn and possibly even kill it off completely. Your aerating tool has spikes that punch holes in your soil to mitigate this compaction.
Spread Your Seeds
Once you are happy that there are no compaction issues, spread a good dose of seeds on your lawn. Make sure you check what seed varieties will best suit your lawn and location.
Once you’ve spread the seeds ensure to water regularly to maintain soil moisture.
Fertilise and Herbicide
Once you are satisfied that the grass is well established, to encourage growth and discourage weeds you must apply some fertiliser and herbicide. This will ensure your lawn will grow thick, lush and healthy. A slow-release nitrogen fertiliser is recommended.
Dust of The Lawnmower
Luckily I have kept the mower under cover and in good condition with a sharp blade, a change of oil, and a full tank of petrol over winter because now is the when you should mow I read.
A general rule of thumb is to mow the lawn only often enough so that you’re only removing one-third of the blade’s length at a time, which ultimately will place less stress on the grass, and the smaller clippings are able to decompose more easily. Don’t bag these clippings; these clippings are good for the soil.
I keep reading and I wonder how long these tips can go on and do I have the drive to be able to go through this process and then I spot Fritz out of the corner who is taking a picture of his lawn. “For my Facebook”, he says grinning. I smile through gritted teeth and I know that I can get through this. I can do this. I will do this!
Water = Replenishment = Growth = Healthy Lawn
The final tips are: to water. It is recommended that once your lawn starts growing, you should begin to water. There are no hard and fast rules here but don’t water too much or too early in Spring. It’s tempting but there should be plenty of rain to keep your lawn healthy. Wait to water until the weather gets a little warmer and then you can increase water amounts.
Yes I can do this you tell yourself, but I will start tomorrow.