Do You Want to Make Your Lawn Look it’s Very Best this Spring?
Here are the steps you should take to supercharge your lawn this spring! Your neighbors will wonder why your yard is so thick and lush while their lawn is coasting on average.
Step 1. Mow Extra Low on First Cut – Once the weather warms up a bit, and you see the grass starting to green up in Pace, now is the time to make your first cut on the lawn. If you have centipede, zoysia, bermuda, or bahia, go ahead and cut the grass lower than you would the rest of the year. ( St. Augustine can be cut low at this time as well, but not as low as the other grasses) We don’t want to hit the root, but you should be able to see some dirt here and there throughout the lawn. Also, it is important to go ahead and bag these clippings up. If you don’t bag the clippings up, it just makes then next steps more difficult.
Step 2. Power Rake/Dethatch – After you have cut and bagged the lawn, now is when we want to remove all the dead grass that is suffocating the yard. It is time to dethatch! Over the fall and winter, much of the grass and plant matter has broken down into the soil. This is good in sparing amounts, but when there is dead brown grass laying down on the lawn and twisted in the grass roots, the lawn is literally suffocating. We have to get all this dead matter up to allow the lawn to breathe. A power raker uses tines to aggravate the lawn and loosen dead material. Some good grass will be pulled up, but it is not much. The tines work just hard enough to pull up grass that is dead and not secured to the lawn. Rake up all the dead grass that the power rake got out of the lawn and discard. *There are several companies in Pace that rent this type of equipment. Chamion Rent-All, located on Hwy 90 in Pace, is a good place to start. You can rent these type machines by the hour, or by the day.
Step 3. Core Aeration – Next we need to loosen up the underlying soil. Think of power raking as surface loosening, and think of core aeration as sub-surface loosening of the soil. A core aeration machine will pull plugs out of the ground. This allows air to get into the soil, nutrients to get into the soil, and it also lets the roots of the existing grass stretch and grow. The roots can grow because the soil is no longer compacted. Aeration is a vital part of any lawn care program and should be performed twice a year; spring and fall. Mark all sprinkler heads in the lawn with little flags. You don’t want this machine going over a sprinkler head. Once the machine has done it’s job and pulled plugs from the lawn, you can leave those plugs on the lawn. There is no need to rake them up as they will break down organically with a week or two.
Step 4. Top Dress – Now that we’ve mowed low, got all the dead matter out of the lawn by dethatching, and have given the roots room to breathe with core aeration, it’s time to give your lawn what it really wants and needs; great compost. Prepare a plastic tarp in the driveway or on your lawn, and have a load of black dirt/compost delivered. It is important to know if this dirt has been sifted for weeds and weed seeds. The last thing you want to do is add dirt to your lawn that is infested with weed seeds! The best way to spread this dirt is the old fashioned way… by hand. Get a large pitchfork and broadcast the dirt all around the yard. There’s no sugar coating this portion of the job… it’s hard. But the good is that you don’t have to go heavy on the thickness of this dirt. You want just enough to lightly coat the surface of your lawn. This is an important step in delivering nutrients to your lawn… Just remember… Your lawn would much rather have quality soil over excessive nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
Step 5. Overseeding – This is where you put the icing on the cake. You’ve done all the hard prep work to prepare your lawn to be incredible. This is the easy part and where your lawn is really going to fill in and shine. Order your lawn seed online in bulk. You will receive a much better price than going to a home improvement store and buying small bags. Spread the seed over the entire lawn by hand or by a broadcast spreader. The seed needs to be making contacting with dirt (this is why we mowed low, dethatched, aerated, and top dressed… all dirt… see there). You want CONTACT with the dirt, not BURIED deep in the dirt. If the seed is buried too deep it will not germinate. After the seed has been spread around the yard, take a rake and LIGHTLY rake the seed. The goal here is to stir up the ground just a bit, maybe bury the seed a bit, but mainly just make sure all the seed is getting good contact with the dirt. LIGHTLY water twice a day. As in a fine mist to moisten the soil. Do not soak the soil. A few warnings about over seeding. 1. Do not overseed before heavy rains. Check the weather or you will have all your seed washed away with one good rain if the seed has not germinated. 2. Make sure there is no threat of a cold snap/frost before seeding. If the seed has not germinated then it will be fine, but if the seed germinates and sprouts then a frost moves through the frost will kill the tender plant. 3. Do not apply weed control pre-emergent herbicides during the spring while the grass is trying to germinate. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide will cause much of the seed to never sprout.
You now have the recipe for success of having a great lawn in the Pace area. Yes, it is quite a bit of work, but how bad do you want a great looking lawn? It is very rewarding to see all your hard work pay off in the summer with a beautiful, thick, lush, and green lawn! Your neighbors will wonder why your grass is so much better than theirs, and you will be the envy of the neighborhood. Good luck and blessings for 2017!