Spring Organic Lawn Care Tips, Part 2
4. Don’t water unless your lawn needs to be watered!
Line ten lawn guys up and ask them how to water the lawn and you will get at least seven different answers. Just remember this, if it hasn’t rained in a long time you should water the lawn. If you have an irrigation system don’t just automatically crank it up because the grass is growing. Your lawn needs water when your footprint stays matted down in the grass and doesn’t spring back up right away. But even that is an experiment that isn’t really necessary beyond watching the weather. If your lawn needs water, water it. Water it deeply for more than an hour per zone. But the point here is that it is April and usually pretty rainy. If your lawn doesn’t need water, don’t water it.
5. Get Your Mower Blade Sharpened.
Mowing the lawn is a violent process and you need to make it as clean and pain free as possible. A common theme that you will hear us promote over the year is that you need to create as stress free an environment as possible with your lawn, especially when taking an organic lawn care approach. Mowing the lawn improperly is often the one thing that creates the most negative issues in terms of cosmetics when it comes to appearance. A sharp blade makes a quick, clean, easy cut across the blades of grass allowing the tissue on top to heal immediately. A dull blade shreds the top of the grass creating all kinds of trouble with your lawn. First off, the tops will turn a light colored brown as the blade of grass is damaged from the dull blade. The normally dark green spring color of your lawn will become yellowish or light green. The next thing that happens is that spring diseases like leaf spot will infiltrate your turf and be very difficult to get rid of with springtime weather. You can bring your mower to a small engine shop to have the blade sharpened or you can do it yourself with any sharpening device. If it’s been a few years you may want to have the blade replaced altogether.
6. Have a Soil Test Done.
Whether you take advantage of a full laboratory test and report, have your local cooperative extension do a test or just perform a cheap pH test (those cheap kits at the garden store are not very accurate). Knowing some of the vital information about your soil can make a HUGE difference throughout the year. If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline the grass will struggle to thrive and weeds will be a greater issue. Often times we will hear a homeowner say that no matter what they do to their lawn the grass just doesn’t respond! When we do a soil test we find that the pH is in the low fives, which is extremely acidic. (Closer to seven is where you want to be.) A good soil test will also give you surpluses or deficiencies in macro and micronutrients. Our organic program will cover most of the bases but you never know if something could be really out of whack!