Spring Lawn Care Tips
How to get your lawn ready for the Spring in Indianapolis!
Lawn Pride knows that a lawn needs changes throughout the year. We want to share our expertise with you so you can have the lawn you want.
Spring Mowing Recommendations
We’ve all heard the age-old saying, “April showers, brings May flowers." Flowers aren’t the only thing that’s growing; your grass is too. Here are some basic mowing and trimming recommendations for the spring months.
Sharpen Your Mower Blade
Whether your lawnmower is new or old, your mower blade should be sharpened often. Also, you should replace the blade when it develops any nicks, bends, or other damage.
When to Mow
It is best to mow after the morning dew has evaporated but before the hottest time of day. Mowing wet grass can cause clumps. If clumps are left on the lawn, they will block the sunlight causing yellowing of the grass blades. Mowing slick wet grass is also hard on your lawnmower causing an uneven torn blade rather than and even cut grass blade. Not to mention the corrosion damage a lawnmower can get when it is covered with wet stuck-on grass.
For most types of grasses in Indiana, mowing once a week will do. Some people like to stretch it out a little. That is fine as long as your grass stays healthy.
When the weather goes for long stretches without rain, it is okay to lengthen the time between mows. Likewise, if it is raining a lot, your grass will grow faster and you’ll want to mow more frequently. Just remember to mow only when your grass is dry and follow the One-Third Rule. Remove only the top third of your grass blades. If you cut much shorter than that, you risk damaging, weakening, or even killing your grass.
How to Mow
Lawns should never be mowed shorter than 3.5 inches. The ideal mowing height for Indiana lawns is between 3.5 to 4 inches. There are many benefits to mowing tall. It promotes deeper root growth, improving drought tolerance. Tall turf provides better shade for the root system, conserving water, and blocking out the growth of unwanted weeds. And a longer grass blade provides more area for your lawn’s critical process of photosynthesis.
Alternate your mowing direction with each new mow. Always mowing the same pattern encourages your grass to grow in the direction you mow. Varying the direction promotes straighter blade growth, which makes your grass stronger and more resilient at the same time.
Grass clippings are one of the easiest and most effective ways to feed your lawn. As grass clippings break down they return nutrients to the soil. Only do this when the grass is dry because wet grass clumps together and can kill the growing blades beneath it.
When using a weed eater to trim areas your lawnmower can’t get; be sure not to cut too short. This can be easy to do because most trimmers do not have the capability to set a height. Weeds thrive in exposed soil, so when you cut too short, you invite weeds into your lawn.
If you like your lawn to have a clean edge, cut a vertical edge with an edging tool. Don’t cut at an angle, this will help avoid the rush of weeds that can happen when too much soil is exposed. Print our seasonal Turf Tips Guide to help you stay on top of your lawn maintenance.
At Lawn Pride, we recommend holding off seeding your lawn until fall. This is for two reasons. First, when seeding in the spring, your lawn can not have any weed control or pre-emergent applied until the new grass has germinated and grown tall enough to be mowed twice. Young grass cannot handle weed control and will die if they are applied too soon. The second reason is since weed control cannot be applied, your new grass will have to fight for room to grow with faster-growing weeds. Let’s face it, seeding your lawn isn’t cheap. When you spend your hard-earned money on seeding your lawn, you want to get the best results possible. The only exception to this is when you are seeding a lawn that has less than 50% grass. In this case, any green is better than dirt! If you must seed in the spring, remember these guidelines:
Make sure to aerate (break up the soil) before seeding. This allows for better seed to soil contact, increasing the likelihood of good germination.
New seed needs to stay moist for proper germination. This shouldn't be a problem in the spring however, our fellow Hoosiers know how unpredictable Indiana weather can be.
Botany 101; plants need water, sunlight, and soil to grow. Spring provides increased amounts of rain. Longer days give plants more sunlight that warms the air and increases soil temperatures. When it comes to weeds in the lawn, it's the survival of the fittest. Unfortunately, weeds are easy to please; they are less demanding of care (in regard to the nutrients they need to grow) and have longer roots allowing them to absorb more water. If not kept in check, weeds can quickly take over your lawn. If you want to prevent weeds from taking over your lawn, it is essential to maintain a consistent weed control program. There isn’t any turf safe weed control that will prevent weeds from being able to grow in your lawn but with consistent weed control applications, weeds can be kept at bay. Here are a few maintenance tips that you can practice to keep weeds away.
Mowing tall shades the soil and helps to keep the soil moist just how grass likes it. Exposed soil dries out faster, weakening the grass and paving the way for weeds to be able to take over.
A healthy lawn is a happy lawn. Lawns that are properly fertilized can withstand seasonal stress better. Whereas a malnourished lawn is weaker and more susceptible to a weed take over.
Just because you don’t see weeds doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Weed seeds can be brought in your lawn in many ways. They can also lay dormant in the soil, waiting for the right conditions to germinate. So, a consistent weed regimen is crucial to weed maintenance. Early spring is the best time to prevent unwanted grassy weeds such as Crabgrass. A pre-emergent application will help prevent these from coming up in your lawn by creating a barrier of protection against grassy weeds.
In the spring it is common for homeowners to find grubs while gardening in their flower beds. The grubs you find at this time of the year are not the ones that cause damage to your lawn. However, it is important to know that the grubs you have now, will soon transform into the beetles that will deliver the next generation of grubs that can cause turf damage. This is the time of the season to keep an eye on the number of grubs and beetles you see around your home. The more you see, the higher your chance of getting grub damage later in the year.
Lawn Pride offers a unique Grub Control Program. Our preventative Grub Control Program comes with a one-of-a-kind guarantee. If you have grub damage after taking our Preventative Grub Control Program, we will not only come back and retreat your lawn, but we will also repair your lawn back to its prior condition at no additional charge! Contact us today to learn more about Our preventative Grub Control Program.
Spring weather can bring some unwanted turf diseases such as Red Thread and Dollar Spot. These diseases can develop at any time of the year but are most common in the spring and fall when temperatures are cooler and when moisture is in excess. Luckily, these particular types of lawn diseases can typically be treated with a simple nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Although in severe cases a fungicide may be needed.
See our turf tips guide to Common Lawn Fungus in Central Indiana to learn more.
Commonly Asked Questions
Q: I have crabgrass in my yard. Will the pre-emergent you put down get rid of it?
A: No, pre-emergent is a preventative application. However, in Indiana, crabgrass does not germinate until later in the season, closer to June. If you think you’re seeing crabgrass now, what you are most likely seeing is coarse fescue. Coarse fescue has thick blades and can resemble crabgrass. It is important to understand that in summer, unwanted grasses such as coarse fescue and crabgrass will outperform most cool-season grasses. Keeping the lawn well-watered during the summer will help cool-season grasses thrive during times of high temperatures and when rain is lacking. In any case, if you are seeing unwanted grasses in the lawn we would recommend aerating and seeding in the fall. This can help thicken up the lawn with good turfgrass and gives less room for unwanted grasses to grow. If it’s a small amount of unwanted grass; the most effective remedy is to pull up the unwanted grass and reseed the area. If you do not reseed the area, more unwanted grass will have the opportunity to germinate.
Q: Is there anything I can do to prevent dandelions from growing in my lawn?
A: There isn’t any product you can apply to a lawn to prevent broadleaf weeds from growing in your lawn. However, there are a few things you can do to help keep them at bay. Aerating and seeding in the fall will thicken up the lawn giving less room for weeds to grow helping to keep weeds out naturally. Making sure to maintain a weed control regimen will help to kill weeds as they start to germinate.
Q: Why does my front yard look different than my back yard?
A: There are a couple of things that can contribute to this. The big factor is that front lawns are treated very differently when homes are built. Contractors focus on curb-appeal and generally use sod in front yards of new homes. Back yards are not only where unwanted dirt is discarded but generally seeded with a low quality “contractor” seed mix. This has a huge effect on the soil quality and the type of grass you will have in your lawn. Short of replacing the topsoil in the lawn, you can aerate and seed the front and back lawn. This will choke out the unwanted grasses and introduce the good grasses you are wanting.
Exposure is another big factor. The amount of sun and shade can be very different in turf areas. Areas with lots of trees can block the amount of sun that the lawn is getting. Even the homes and outbuildings around the home will cast shade during different times of the day and can affect the lawn’s growth and health.
Q: Why does my yard look like there is wheat growing in it?
A: What you are seeing is your grass going to seed. This process occurs around late spring and early summer. At this time, the plant's resources are focused on producing seed. This can make the color of your lawn look less vibrant. But don’t worry it only lasts a few weeks. It is safe for you to cut your lawn regularly.
Fun Fact: Most turf grasses do not produce viable seed and the few that do, have to grow about 12 inches tall before its seed is viable.
Check out our guide for Central Indiana Lawn Maintenance tips.
Click here to contact your local lawn pros at Lawn Pride for a free estimate on our lawn care program.