UW-Extension Cooperative Extension
Our current news is available on our FYI News site. This is an archive of news releases from 1/1/1997 through 10/1/2009.
Contact: Amy Sausen 608-262-1689
Entry Date: April, 1998
File Under: Horticulture
HELP YOUR LAWN RECOVER FROM WINTER'S EFFECTS
Madison - Spring lawn care helps yards recover from winter damage and prepares it for the heat of summer.
The first step is to remove tree leaves, sticks, twigs and dead grass once the snow is gone, explains Amy Sausen, University of Wisconsin-Extension horticulture outreach specialist.
Homeowners can spread a thin layer of soil on the top of the turf surface to even out bumps caused by frost heaving over the winter.
"Next, reseed or lay sod on bare areas that were killed during the winter," adds Sausen. "Be sure to get good seed topsoil contact, by stepping on the seed, after you apply it to the
Spring is not the best time to seed a new lawn because emerging grasses will have to compete with weeds, Sausen adds. It still is a good time to seed to prevent soil erosion.
Grass roots of existing plants begin to grow as the ground thaws. "Many homeowners rush to the garage in the spring to get the fertilizer spreader to feed the lawn," Sausen says. "But, if
you plan it right, proper late fall fertilizing could replace your early spring ritual and make your lawn healthier and greener, earlier."
Too much fertilizer in the spring can over-stimulate growth. "The plant will grow leaves instead of roots and without good roots, the lawn suffers more from the stress of theupcoming summer months," explains Sausen. Avoid fertilizing healthy grass until the middle of May.
Fertilizing a thin lawn helps to fill it in and choke out weeds. Weeds, especially crabgrass, have no place to grow in a thick, healthy lawn.
"Weeds tell you something is wrong with the way your lawn is growing," adds Sausen. "Shade, poor drainage, not enough fertilizer and compacted soils all result in weak lawns and healthy weeds."
Grass is ready to cut when it reaches three inches tall. "Never mow your lawn below two and a half inches," says Sausen. "Longer grass means roots grow deeper and grass blades
shade the soil, which helps prevent weed problems and insures a healthier stand of turf."
For more information, call the (YOUR) County Extension office at (YOUR PHONE NUMBER) and ask about Extension bulletin A3435-Lawn Maintenance and Problems.