SOURCE: Grass Seed USA

Grass Seed USA

April 20, 2017 09:00 ET

Experts Offer Spring Lawn Care Advice

Academic turf specialists provide tips to help you get your grass ready for summer

SALEM, OR--(Marketwired - Apr 20, 2017) - With warmer spring weather here at last, many people are venturing out into their yards to survey the winter damage and prepare for the new growing season. Lawn care is one of the most obvious places to start, and Grass Seed USA, a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists, has interviewed a variety of turf grass experts at top university agronomy programs to gather suggestions for tackling spring lawn maintenance.

"Whether you're thinking about seeding a new area or preparing your existing grass for summer, now is the time to act," said Bryan Ostlund, Grass Seed USA executive director. "If you take a little time now to aerify, seed and fertilize, and you irrigate and mow correctly, you'll be setting yourself up to enjoy a beautiful green oasis for recreation and relaxation come summer."

Following are a few suggestions to keep in mind as you dive into your spring lawn care. For more information from the university turf grass specialists, visit http://bit.ly/2oABR7e.

  • Aerify your lawn to improve drainage and prepare the soil for seed application if you live in the northern U.S., where cool-season grass is dominant. Warm-season grass does not need annual aerification, but if your lawn suffered a drought-induced dormancy period last summer or fall, core aerification can stimulate growth and improved surface coverage, according to Clint Waltz, Ph.D., of the University of Georgia.

  • Choose the right seed based on your region and how much sun and water your lawn will receive during the summer. For homeowners in the northern United States, Alec Kowalewski, Ph.D., of Oregon State University offers this rule of thumb: "If you irrigate your lawn during the summer and you have a sunny lot, look for a seed blend with a high concentration of perennial ryegrass. Irrigated but shady lawns will do better with fine fescue. If you do not plan to irrigate, use tall fescue."

  • Seed early to allow the grass plants to develop longer roots before the temperatures warm up. "The earlier in the year that you seed, the more time the turf will have for root development before summer," says Aaron Patton, Ph.D., of Purdue University. A lawn with healthy roots will not only draw water from deeper in the soil but will also be better able to fend off summer annual weeds.

  • Don't fertilize too early. Grady Miller, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University recommends applying a pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet several weeks after the grass turns green. Be sure to follow the fertilizer manufacturer's application guidelines carefully.

  • Irrigate appropriately. North Carolina State's Miller recommends watering to a soil depth of 4 to 6 inches. To see if your lawn needs to be watered, try pushing a screwdriver into the soil. If the screwdriver penetrates easily, your soil probably has enough moisture; if it goes in with difficulty, it's likely time to water. For lawn irrigation recommendations specific to your region, contact your county extension agency.

  • Mow to the right height. Generally, you never want to cut more than a third of the blade height at a time, as cutting too much can stress the lawn. Before the grass begins to grow in the spring, though, you can mow the turf slightly shorter than normal to remove dead leaf blades and other debris. "This practice will reduce shading of the emerging plants and also serve to warm soil temperatures more quickly in the spring," says Daniel Sandor, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas. "Begin mowing regularly when the grass turns green in the spring and reaches the desired mowing height."

For more information on seasonal lawn care and the benefits of a healthy, well-maintained lawn, visit www.WeSeedAmerica.com.

About Grass Seed USA
Grass Seed USA is a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists with a wealth of experience in studying, growing and harvesting grass and grass seed. The coalition seeks to inform and educate residential and commercial customers about the benefits of grass and best practices for responsibly growing and maintaining healthy turf. For more information, visit www.weseedamerica.com, or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

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