21. Basic Lawn Maintenance
By Brian Laskowski, AgroLiquid Grounds and Landscaping Supervisor
As the weather slowly warms up here in Michigan and we start thinking about what needs to be done with our lawns, I thought that I would give everyone a basic guide to spring lawn maintenance.
Now is a good time to get out and clean up the yard.
If you have trees in your yard, go around and pick up all of the twigs that have fallen over the winter months.
Rake the yard. This will get any dead material out and encourage a quicker green up. If you live on a gravel road or have a gravel driveway, don’t forget to clean up the stones from the snow plows. It is a lot easier to clean up the stones now, before we get that spring flush of new growth which will cover them up.
Cleaning up the yard before you start your regular mowing schedule will help to save some wear and tear on your mower blades.
Don’t forget about the pre-emergent herbicide application. This application will help to eliminate crabgrass in the summer and will also help to suppress some of the basic broadleaf weeds. The ideal time to apply it is when the upper 2 inches of the soil reaches the 50-55 F range. A good resource to determine timing of application is https://gddtracker.msu.edu . As a side note, if you have parts of your lawn that need reseeding this spring, avoid applying the pre-emergent to those areas, as this will inhibit new seed growth.
In April, when the grass is actively growing is also a good time to make your first fertilizer application. I would highly recommend using Agroliquid’s NutriRain 20-0-2.
If you forgot to apply a broadleaf herbicide in the fall (ideal time to apply it), you can do an application when the weeds start actively growing in the spring.
If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to make sure that your mower is in good working order. Change the oil, check the air filter, grease the machine and make sure that the blades are nice and sharp. Having sharp blades will give you a nice clean cut and decrease your lawns chances of having disease and other stress issues throughout the summer .
The most important rule when it comes to mowing is to never remove more than one-third of the leaf surface at any one mowing. Mowing more than one-third will stress out the plant.
The ideal height range for mowing is 3”-4”. Mowing at this range will make your lawn more stress tolerant and will also shade out bare soil which will decrease weed seed germination.
(Brian Laskowski. NCRS. Published April 12, 2022)