Spring lawn care advisory

  • Tune-up mower. Research proves that a well-maintained mower reduces emissions up to 50 percent, reduces fuel consumption up to 30 percent and restores horsepower up to 7.5 percent. Take your mower to an authorized dealer or purchase an easy-to-use Briggs & Stratton maintenance kit and do it yourself. A typical engine tune-up includes changing the oil, spark plugs and air filter. Don’t forget to keep the blade sharp, as a dull blade can bruise, bend and damage turfgrass, making it susceptible to disease. For additional mower maintenance information, visit tuneupmonth.com.

  • Mow properly. Spring is the most active time of growth for some types of turfgrass, so it’s important to follow the one-third rule (not cutting off more than a third of the leaf blade during any one mowing). It’s key to having a dense, healthy turf. However, the first mowing of the season is the exception to this rule because it’s important to cut the grass closer than normal to remove dormant leaf tissue.

  • Fertilize/feed lawn. A lawn needs food to grow and develop, especially to give it a jump-start in spring. For best results, fertilize your lawn after the initial flush of growth and after you’ve mowed a few times. Use a high-quality, slow-release nitrogen fertilizer and don’t apply too much.

  • Control weeds. The best time to treat weeds is early in their life cycle. In early spring, apply herbicide to grassy weeds, such as crabgrass, and broadleaf weeds, like dandelion. Apply herbicide on a dry, calm day because anything that washes the product off the surface will decrease the effectiveness. For exact times to fertilize in your region, log onto yarddoctor.com and lick on Yard Care Calendar.

  • Fill in bare spots. Early spring is an excellent time to fill in bare spots. The sun can quickly dry out bare soil areas so the earlier in spring you seed, the better. For best results, purchase seed that contains less than 0.1 percent of weed seed and apply 10 to 20 seeds per square inch.

  • Dethatch and aerate lawn. Dethatching involves removing excess, patchy grass from the surface of your lawn, while aerating is accomplished by piercing uniform holes in the soil. To avoid damaging the soil, don’t aerate when the soil is too wet or too dry. These processes create optimal turfgrass growing conditions by relieving compaction and improving the movement of air, water and nutrients within the soil.

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