Spring is a great time to start caring for your lawn!
A well-established healthy lawn requires less water, care, and maintenance during the summer. The following is a list of a few things that you can do in early spring to help ensure that your lawn is healthy and strong all year:
Starting a New Lawn
If you are starting a new lawn it is recommended that you wait until the risk of frost has passed. This is usually in Mid March. It is also important to ensure that there is at least six inches of soil for the lawn to grow its roots. So be sure to till the soil to an even depth to allow for the roots of the grass to develop. Next, ensure that the area is level to reduce the possibility of drainage issues in the future. Then you can apply the grass seed to the area and water thoroughly.
If you have an existing lawn you can top dress the lawn by spreading a thin layer (1/4 inch) of topsoil and then apply the grass seed on top. Water thoroughly to ensure that the seed germinates.
Watering your Lawn
Adequate watering ensures that your lawn has an established root system to cope with the dry summer months. Be sure to water thoroughly and deeply. Watering restrictions are in effect from May 1st to October 15th. Please note that they have changed as of 2013. They are as follows:
- Even-numbered address: Wednesdays and Saturdays 4 am to 9 am
- Odd-numbered address: Thursdays and Sundays 4 am to 9 am
- Please note: You can no longer water your lawn during the evenings
- Watering trees, shrubs and flowers is permitted any day, from 4 am – 9 am if using a sprinkler, or any time if hand watering or using drip irrigation. All hoses must have an automatic shut-off device.
- Edible plants are exempt from regulations
- Even-numbered addresses: Monday mornings 1 am – 6 am and Friday mornings, 4 am – 9 am
- Odd-numbered addresses: Tuesday mornings 1 am – 6 am and Friday mornings, 4 am – 9 am
- All addresses: Friday 4 am to 9 am
- Watering trees, shrubs and flowers is permitted any day, from 1 am – 9 am if using a sprinkler, or any time if hand watering or using drip irrigation. All hoses must have an automatic shut-off device.
- Edible plants are exempt from regulations
Newly planted lawns need special attention. It is best to keep the soil moist for at least 4 to 6 weeks to ensure that your lawn develops an adequate root system. If you are starting a new lawn in the summer be sure to apply for a permit to water outside of the watering restrictions.
Mowing your Lawn
Lawns should be mowed at regular intervals with a sharp mower at the correct height. Lawns should be cut every 7 to 10 days. A rotary mower should be set at 2 to 3 inches for the season. Your lawn mower should be kept sharp at all times. A dull mower tears the grass instead of cutting it, making it more susceptible to diseases. You should use a catcher, or rake the cut grass to remove the cuttings and prevent the build-up of dead grass. If you do not remove the dead grass you should power rake your lawn on a regular basis to remove the layer of dead grass (thatch) that builds up, this is called de-thatching.
Applying Moss Control
Before your moss goes dormant in the summer heat, take steps to kill and remove the moss in your lawn. To do this apply either a liquid or granular Moss Control to affected areas. Approximately two days later, use a mechanical power rake to remove the dead black moss. The area should then receive a thin layer of soil or sand followed by an application of grass seed to grow where the moss was.
Fertilizing your Lawn
The beauty of your lawn, its resistance to disease, insects, moss and weeds depends largely on how you feed it. With heavy rains in the coastal area, much of the mineral content (food or fertilizer) of the soil is washed away each year. Every fertilizer shows the percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potash (N.P.K.) For example 28-3-8 is 28% Nitrogen, 3% Phosphorous and 8% Potash.
- Nitrogen – gives the green to lawns and is the main food a lawn responds to
- Phosphorous – encourages good root growth
- Potash – promotes strong healthy stems
Lawns should be fed at regular intervals. We recommend an application of 28-3-8 in early spring. This will feed your lawn for 10 to 12 weeks. Fertilizing should be done when the grass is dry and should then be watered in thoroughly. To ensure an even application, it is best to use a fertilizer spreader.
When you apply fertilizer you should water your lawn to make sure that the fertilizer makes it to the soil and does not remain on the leaves where it could burn them.
Applying Lime to Your Lawn
Lime is an important soil conditioner that helps your lawn absorb fertilizer and deter moss from growing. Lime does not kill moss but does neutralize the pH of the soil making fertilizer applications more effective. To be effective Dolomite Lime should be applied in spring and again in fall.
Top Dressing Your Lawn
After power raking and/or aerating in the spring, your lawn may appear sparse. Top-dressing is a reliable way of rejuvenating it. You can top-dress your lawn with Peat Moss for sandy soils, peat and sand for clay soils, sand if you have wet soil or topsoil. Top-dressing is best done in March or April. After top-dressing, you can also apply a thin layer of lawn seed to help fill in the spaces left by the power rake.