Early Spring Tips – Lawns

Posted by in Tips on Jun 16, 2013

With another harsh Wisconsin winter almost behind us, it is time to start thinking about your lawn. Due to the heavy snowfalls this winter, we expect to see the following common problems:

  • Snow Mold – snow mold usually appears as dead patches in the lawn where piles of snow sat for long periods of time, such as at the ends of the driveway or along sidewalks – although it can happen anywhere in your yard. The patches are usually brown or even pinkish looking. They can be large or small. It seems more prone in areas where grass was left long. This can also appear where standing water from melting snow or rain sat and froze on exposed areas of lawn.
  • Vole Damage – voles are small rodents similar to mice that tunnel in the lawn under the snow. You will see little pathways through your lawn and sometimes up to your plants. This is more common when grass is kept too long in fall. While they will cause damage, it is rarely detrimental. Cutting the grass short and cleaning up piles of leaf debris in the fall will reduce the hiding and nesting areas in your lawn. For spring remedies, cut grass short and rake up any matted areas of lawn.
  • Spring Green Up – generally speaking your grass will green up faster in the spring when it has been cut short the previous fall. This is because there is less dead tissue for the new blades to have to push through. If you didn’t cut it real short in the fall, cut it as low as possible (without scalping it) in early spring. This also helps remove debris that may have accumulated over the winter months.

Spring is a great time to fertilize your lawn. The temperatures are generally cool and rainfall is reliable. If your lawn has been installed for two or more years, use a good “turf builder” type fertilizer to stimulate a lot of growth. Also don’t forget the crab grass preventer in early spring, if you have that problem during the year. There are some new products on the market that work great and are less “time sensitive” than the standard crab grass preventers. If your lawn was newly installed, an all purpose fertilizer or Milorganite will work well without burning the sensitive new tissues. Hold off on crab grass preventer or “weed and feed” type fertilizers if your lawn is less than two years old.