Once the weather has warmed up a bit and the ground is no longer frozen it’s time to think about doing some work to help and improve the overall health of your lawn. Once you begin to start seeing new growth it is an indication for some spring lawn care.
Aerate and de-thatch: You will know if your lawn is in need of aeration if you have a significant amount of moss. Moss growth is a good indication that water is sitting on the surface of the soil. If you have a large amount of dead grass in your lawn you may wish to de-thatch your lawn. This will allow air and sun to penetrate for a nice thick lawn. You can rent an aerator or de-thatcher from your local rental company or have a landscaper do this for you.
Apply moss killer: If you have moss, apply moss killer one-week AFTER liming. It is easier to use the ‘ready to use’ moss killer, which simply attaches to your hose, allowing you to water the moss killer into your lawn. For best results be sure to apply this on a warm dry day. The outdoor temperature should reach at least 15 degrees Celsius for at least 4 hours after application.
Apply lime at the rate of one 50-pound bag of Dolo-Pril per 4000 square feet. Dolo-Pril is almost dustless and adds both calcium and magnesium to the soil. Lime will help raise your pH, allowing better uptake of nutrient by your lawn. This way all of your fertilizer will be able to be absorbed by the grass.
Rake: Lightly rake the moss once it turns brown and dries up, if it is thick. If the moss is quite thin then you can leave it in place. Never rake off green moss as the live spores will spread and your second crop of moss will be much stronger then the first.
Top dress: It is always a good idea to top dress with sand after aerating. After removing any dead, brown moss you can top-dress the lawn with clean washed sand, which is great for filling in low spots and will aid in drainage.
Over seeding: Late February, March and April are great times to over-seed the lawn. Choose a blend that is right for your area. Use shady lawn seed, which is a shade tolerant grass for shady areas. Choose a locally blended mix as most national blends have Blue Grass, which does not do well in our wet coastal environment.
Grass Length – When mowing your lawn, you should cut no more than the top 25% of the grass blade. Cutting length can vary depending on the season. In summertime the ideal length is 3”, whereas in winter it should be 2 – 2 ½”.
Fertilize: Starting in February, use a slow release high nitrogen fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks throughout the growing season for a consistent green lawn. Use a mix such as 28-4-8 or similar. Slow release fertilizers will not burn your lawn.