Lawns in April

Fertilizing with DIMENSION Pre-Emergent Crabgrass Control – Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that germinates in all sunny turf areas. The seeds begin to germinate when soil temperatures reach 55-57 degrees for 72 consecutive hours.  In our growing region, this is usually in early May.  Crabgrass seeds will continue germinating through mid-July. Crabgrass MUST BE CONTROLLED EVERY YEAR, regardless of whether or not you had crabgrass last year. Seeds remain viable in the soil for many years; if you don’t use a control product every year, you will have crabgrass in sunny areas of your lawn.  The most effective way to control crabgrass is pre-emergently, that is before the seeds germinate. Apply a combination fertilizer/pre-emergent crabgrass control product in April (or early May) and you’ll be greening the lawn as you eliminate the annual weed.

Fertilizing Without Crabgrass Control– For those of you who will not be using a pre-emergent crabgrass control this year (heavily shaded lawns, newly seeded lawns), we also sell an excellent, slow release, organic-based turf fertilizer that will feed your lawns for up to 8 weeks without stimulating rapid turf growth.

Broadleaf Weed Control with Liquid TRIMEC– Perennial weeds (dandelions, clover, plantain, and many others) can only be controlled while they are actively growing.  You cannot kill a dormant plant.  In nature, the most significant indicator of when a plant is actively growing is the emergence of blooms.  This is true with trees, shrubs, and also weeds.  Spray a dandelion in March before it blooms and you’ll still have a thriving, blooming dandelion in April.  If you want to prevent blooming dandelions in your lawn (regardless of what your neighbors do), SPRAY THEM IN THE EARLY FALL (September).  In the spring, the best general-purpose broadleaf weed control (including dandelions, clover, and more) is accomplished in late April, toward the end of the profuse dandelion bloom period.  By this time all leaves are growing actively and full herbicide absorption can be achieved.  Liquid TRIMEC is the most effective broad-spectrum broadleaf weed control on the market.  Apply to actively-growing weeds when rain is not expected for 24 hours, and refrain from mowing for 24 hours, before or after.  Repeat this application in September and your lawn will be the weed-free one next spring.

Spring Seeding– The ONLY seeding that should be considered in the spring should be on brand new lawns, damaged areas, or to bare, shady areas where no crabgrass controls will be applied.   Crabgrass does not grow in heavy shade.  If you must seed, you should seed with Lawn Depot EVERGREEN BLEND of 100% hybrid perennial ryegrasses.  All grass seeds are slow to germinate in the cool spring soils, but EVERGREEN BLEND will be the fastest to germinate.  As spring turns to summer and the soil temperatures rise into the 80s, grass plants stop producing roots in the warmer soil.  So, between the slow germination time and the inability to produce much of a root system with the new turf, you will probably suffer significant thinning or dieback over the summer and will need to seed in these same areas again in the fall.  So, only seed if you have to, and if you do seed, baby the young lawn areas throughout the hot, dry summer weather.

Core Aerating and/or Liming in April– Both of these conditioning activities are vital to healthy turf and should be done regularly, at least once every year. Liming, to neutralize our typically acidic soils, and core aerating to open up the dense, clayey soils to let moisture enter deeper into the soil and encourage deeper, denser root development.  Liming, with easy-to-spread pelletized lime, can actually be done at any time of the year, as long as the lawn isn’t sopping wet or covered with snow.  Our Garden center has both granular dolomitic lime and Bonide’s Turf Turbo High-Efficiency Lime. High-Efficiency Lime raises the pH of your soil within 6-8 weeks of application, compared to dolomitic lime at 12 months plus.  Core-aerating can be done whenever the lawn is actively growing (spring or fall) and the ground is soft enough to pull 2”-3” long plugs. Our Turf Management division does core aerating both in the spring and fall. We do hundreds of lawns each season.  If you want liming and/or aerating jobs done right and prefer or are unable to do it/them yourself, give us a call; we’ll give you an estimate.

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