by Brandon Duitsman
April is here and spring is in the air! Although spring is often short lived in our area, it is a beautiful time of year when your landscape begins to fully awaken from the long winter. Spring flowers are being planted, ornamental plantings are preparing to bloom and your turf is beginning to regain that green lush color you have been missing. So what can you do to ensure your turf “wakes up” and is prepared to thrive this summer? There are three important things to consider as your turf breaks dormancy.
First, check your irrigation system to ensure it is functioning properly. Most irrigation systems are turned off in the winter months as the landscape can typically be sustained off rain water in its dormant state. When you activate your system, make sure valves are working properly and all zones are functioning. While turf cannot thrive off irrigation water alone, it will help the turf survive the inevitable dry periods the summer ahead will hold.
Secondly, fertilize your yard in the spring. The turf will expend valuable energy as it breaks dormancy. Properly fertilized turf should have no problem breaking dormancy and present a darker green color more rapidly than unfertilized turf. While unfertilized turf can struggle to break dormancy, over fertilized turf may be even worse. Too much fertilizer can lead to increased disease and insect activity as well as weed encroachment. Be sure to read your fertilizer label to aid in proper application.
Lastly, avoid excessive cutting and herbicide applications as your turf awakens. Many homeowners see a green lawn and rush to cut it or want to treat every small weed that pops up. Mowing the turf 2-3 times a week and excessive herbicide applications can injure your turf and set it up for an uphill battle all year. Mow your yard once a week or every other week to start out and avoid herbicide applications until the turf is actively growing.
While all plant health is largely dependent on Mother Nature, following these key points will set your turf up for a healthy, happy summer. Now there’s nothing left to do but dust off the grill, kick back and get ready to enjoy your outdoor space this coming season.