Spring Lawn Care

Spring Lawn Care
As the weather warms and the grass greens up many are wondering what needs to be done to our lawns. Spring and fall are busy times for the lawn, and mowing is just the start. Be sure to keep ahead of the fast growing turf. Cool temperatures and abundant moisture promote rapid growth of the cool-season grasses planted in most Iowa lawns like Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue. Try to remove no more than a third of the leaf blade with each mowing and only remove clippings that may shade the grass beneath it. Mow at 2 or 3 inches (or even higher!) and use sharp blades.
Weed control is best done in the fall, but the use of a preemergence herbicide to control crabgrass should be applied in the spring. These crabgrass control pereemergence herbicides should be applied when the soil temperatures are at 55°F. Any warmer and they will not be effective. You can check the soil temperature in your area by visiting this website: http://extension.agron.iastate.edu/npknowledge/soiltemphistory.html
Fertilizer can be applied at the rate of one to two pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet using a complete balance fertilizer like 10-10-10. Be sure to split applications so you never apply more than one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in any one application. Seeding can also be done in the spring, but the fall is better time to do it. Often lawns sown in the spring have abundant weed growth. With proper weed control and frequent light irrigation, however, lawns can be successfully seeded in the spring.
Finally, resist the urge to water your lawn in the spring. In Iowa, it rains enough in a typical spring to support good growth. Abundant watering will promote a shallow root system that will not be prepared to deal with the stressful dry, hot conditions coming in July and August.
Reiman Gardens’ turf is mostly cool-season turfgrasses featuring Kentucky bluegrass as the predominant species. You can, however, see new turf established last fall around Lake Helen. This turf is the more durable turf-type tall fescue. Come to the Gardens and take a peek. It may be just what you’re looking for in your own lawn!
Prepared by Aaron Steil, Manager of Public Programs