Spring is upon us which means it’s time to get your lawn & garden in shape. Investing a little time in your landscape early in the season can really pay off in providing color and a lush yard throughout the summer and early fall.
Conduct a Soil Test
It makes sense that healthy plants require good soil to grow. Soil test kits can help you determine pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in your soil. Optimal soil ranges are typically between 6-6.5 (slightly acidic) as this regulates the available nutrients to plants. If the pH is too high (more basic), less nutrients are available. A more acidic soil can raise nutrients to toxic levels. If your nutrient levels or pH levels do not fall within the recommended guidelines, a fertilizer, plant food, or a different type of soil might be the key to creating a nurturing environment for your plants. Test kits can be found at almost any home improvement store, nursery, or on Amazon.com.
Select the Right Grass
There are many different types of grass and selecting the right one for your yard may seem overwhelming. However, choosing the wrong grass for your soil and climate can result in patchy or dead grass. Generally, for the Baltimore Area (zone 6) good lawn grass includes Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue, Ryegrass Perennial, and Zoysia. A common grass mix for this area includes a blend of Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Rye, and Fescue.
Proper Seeding & Maintenance is Key
Aerating your lawn is one of the keys to healthy lawn care. This allows oxygen and water to flow to the roots. Apply seed to any bare areas of your lawn (for established lawns) or evenly over the soil (for new lawns), then cover with a light layer of soil to protect the seeds while they germinate and take root. High nutrient soils work well in nourishing new grass.
Grass, like any other life form, requires nutrients to thrive. Spreading fertilizer around your lawn each fall and spring is a great way to add nutrients to your lawn.
Spring is the best time to prevent weeds with a pre-emergent weed control such as this one, available at most home improvement stores and garden centers. This type of weed preventer keeps weeds and crabgrass from germinating before they grow. Often a second treatment will be required mid-summer. However, if you are planting grass, pre-emergent weed control is not a good solution because it can prevent wanted grass from growing. A better option may be a “weed & feed” type treatment once your lawn is established.