Thinking of seeding, aerating or fertilizing your lawn this spring? As the sun warms up the ground and your lawn begins to return to shades of green, you are likely thinking about how to best create a lush, weed-free lawn you and your family will happily enjoy throughout the warm spring, summer and fall months. If you want your lawn to look the best on the block, it’s time to put together a best lawn care service game plan to maximize its health and beauty for the entire year.
The first thing you have to think about is the overall health of your yard. Is your yard as thick as you would like it to be? Remember, tall fescue does not spread across the lawn. It grows in clumps. So, to fill in thin or damaged areas, you NEED to seed. Do you think you need to seed your lawn? Whether or not you will be seeding this spring will determine what type of products and techniques will be needed in the early parts of spring.
If you plan on seeding your lawn this spring, the key is to make sure you get good seed-to-soil contact. The best methods for ensuring seed-to-soil contact is to lightly rake the seed into the loose soil of bare spots or use power tools like a power rake or verticutter, or an aerator for larger areas. In the turf professional world, we will always use one or both of these machines while seeding large areas. For small areas, using a Garden Weasel Cultivator can be useful if you are seeding by hand. If you are going to seed your lawn, you will want to avoid or delay most weed control products. Crabgrass preventers should not be applied to areas where you want to seed, and dandelion controls should not be applied to seedlings until you have mowed it two times.
Choosing to aerate your lawn can not only help incorporate your grass seed, but it is also exceptionally beneficial to your lawn. The cores the aerator pulls from the soil helps the lawn in many ways. The open channels increase oxygen levels to the grass root system, increase water absorption, and overall loosens hard, compacted soils. Even if you are not seeding, you should consider aerating your lawn either in the spring or fall to improve the root system growth of your grass which will ultimately make your lawn more drought-tolerant, disease-resistant and healthier. You may want to consider aeration versus verticutting your yard. In some cases, it’s wise to do both.
The main objective of having a beautiful lawn is to have as few weeds as you possibly can while maximizing the amount of turfgrass throughout your lawn. The first defense against weeds is to make your yard as thick as possible with healthy turfgrass. Throughout the Midwest, the best grass seed that will give you the most success is a cool-season type of turfgrass rather than warm season grasses.
My favorite grass seed mix to use is a Tall Fescue/Kentucky Bluegrass blend which contains 97% Tall Fescue and 3% Kentucky Bluegrass. The drought-resistant tall fescue will be able to tolerate more drought stress over the summer months while the Kentucky Bluegrass will be able to fill in any thin or damaged areas with its underground spreading structures called rhizomes.
If you are wanting to buy the best grass seed, I would always recommend buying your seed from a reputable nursery or lawn care business. Most grass seed for sale at big box stores are full of weed seeds, not to mention the fact that the varieties are usually not tested to be the best varieties that are suitable for our climate. Using quality grass seed could make or break the overall success of your lawn. It is critical. You must buy quality seed. The old adage is true, you get what you pay for. Quality, clean seed, that contains varieties that perform well in our climate will cost more, but be worth the results you will see.
Once you have seeded your lawn, apply a starter fertilizer with no crabgrass preventer/pre-emergence herbicide. Pre-emergence herbicides can stunt the growth of your newly planted grass seed. The best time to seed your lawn in the spring would be around mid/late March or whenever temperatures have consistently stopped freezing. The earlier you seed your lawn in the spring, the more you allow your grass to grow and mature as much as it can before the summertime. The more mature your turfgrass and its root system is, the more likely it will be able to survive the hot summer temperatures we typically see in June, July and August. The latest I would seed in the spring would be late April.
One thing I always mention to my customers is the probability of increased susceptibility of your lawn to disease in the summertime. The months of June, July and August can find you fighting off lawn diseases for a variety of reasons — increased watering, increased density of the lawn, and the immature nature of your new grass. All cool-season grass types are susceptible to getting a disease, no matter the maturity, but the chances increase substantially with grass that hasn’t been actively growing for a couple of seasons.
If you are seeding your entire lawn in the spring, I would plan on using preventive fungus controls on your lawn during the summer months. Again, like high-quality grass seed, high-quality fungicide products that perform the best in our climate will always cost more compared to some other lawn products. That extra expense can be intimidating, but it is still less expensive long-term and less labor-intensive to use a fungicide to protect your newly seeded lawn than having to reseed your lawn in the fall because your seedlings died from fungal attack. Consider getting bulk cost savings by requesting a quote from Ryan Lawn & Tree to for the best lawn care service in the Midwest!
Now, If you are happy with how your yard looks and you do not have to seed your lawn this spring, the first lawn application that needs to be applied to your lawn is a spring lawn fertilizer plus a crabgrass preventer. Purchase a slow-release lawn fertilizer that will spoon-feed your grass throughout the spring months. The pre-emergence herbicide, coupled with your thick, healthy turf will help protect your lawn from invading grassy weeds such as crabgrass and foxtail.
Remember, pre-emergent treatments only protect against grassy weeds and not broadleaf weeds like dandelions or clover. If you have broadleaf weeds growing in your lawn, you will have to treat those weeds with a post-emergent herbicide to get rid of them. The most commonly seen broadleaf weeds we see in the springtime are dandelions, chickweed, clover and broadleaf plantain. Granular weed-and-feed products can control some but not all broadleaf weeds. Liquid products can be more uniformly applied and give better control of troublesome weeds. If you are uncomfortable with spraying weeds or do not know what to buy or use, call a professional to help!
Lawn care is both an art and a science. It can be very confusing at times with all of the different treatments and problems that may arise throughout the year. If you ever need help, don’t hesitate to call a lawn care company like Ryan Lawn & Tree. Whether you want to upgrade your existing lawn or need a lawn service to ensure your lawn remains pristine, a RYAN Pro will meet with you and come up with a specifically tailored program for the best lawn care service! Find a location near you, with services in Tulsa, Wichita, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis! No matter where you are, we look forward to maintaining your lawn as the best on the block!