The Richmond Register

January 23, 2013

Despite cold, it’s time to think about lawn care

By Amanda Sears
Extension Agent

RICHMOND — You may think it is early to start thinking of lawn care, but the time to start renovating your lawn is just around the corner. After the drought of last year, most of our lawns will need a little tender loving care this year.

Timing is very important when working with your lawn. Don’t make the mistake of establishing or renovating your lawn at the wrong time.

Generally speaking, only certain periods each year have favorable temperature, moisture and minimum competition from weeds. The best time in most years to seed is from mid-August to early October. However, the second best time is from mid-February to mid-March, but not later than mid to late April.

Lawns can be limed any time during the year. A soil test is needed to determine the amount of lime needed to decrease acidity in the soil to an acceptable level for optimal turfgrass growth. Applying lime or other fertilizers to soil without a soil test could be detrimental to good, healthy turf and cause you to spend money unnecessarily.

Spring fertilization is NOT recommended for maintaining the best looking, healthiest lawns. Spring fertilization encourages a heavy flush of growth, increases mowing frequency, hinders good root development, increases turf disease and increases spring weeds.

Spring fertilization also decreases the chance of a heat-tolerant turf, should we go into a drought. A lush summer lawn may not be worth these potential problems. Also, remember that crabgrass and other pre-emergent weed controls often contain fertilizers, which is sufficient for the limited spring fertilization that you might desire.

Want to learn more about getting your lawn in great shape and make your neighbors “green” with envy? Attend “The Grass is Greener” class 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Madison County Extension Office. Get turf tips and information about controling moles, crabgrass, lawn moss and more.

Also learn about good environmental practices to help you have a “greener” and  more Earth-friendly lawn. This class is free, but please call to register at 623-4072.