Lawn Maintenance – Beginning Your Season
Do you know your lawn type?
The beginning of your lawn season will depend on the type of grass you have. First of all it is necessary to determine what type of turf you do have. Cool season turf, is a category that refers to the climate that your grass likes best, which is cool and moist. An example of cool season turf is fescue. In Hampton Roads area of Virginia this is why fescue lawns do well in the spring and fall, this is due to the temperature and moisture of these seasons.
Warm season turf, is the category which refers to the climate as warm to hot and less moisture. The best example for our area would be bermuda. In the spring bermuda tends to be brown as compared to fescue which is green. Bermuda starts going brown in the fall while with fescue it is time to aerate and seed. Bermuda how ever will stay green and grow with less water use in the middle of the summer. Unlike fescue which requires more water and will stress easily. We will continue to reference bermuda and fescue as they are the most common types of turf in our area (Hampton roads, Virginia).
Beginning lawn growth
Let’s take a look at cool season (fescue), as it is the first turf to break dormancy and requires much more attention than the rest. The first step of the cut is deciding what height you will be cutting at. The height all depends on the current condition of your yard, which unfortunately also may require multiple cuts in the same day.
Warm season turf (bermuda) will come out of dormancy when the temperature starts to rise. In my experience i have seen warm season turf break dormancy in mid to late April, and as late as early June. It will be best to keep weeds out of your brown dormant turf during the winter months. A much easier task for bermuda is deciding the height, but will also vary depending on the condition of your yard.
How does your lawn look?
First, do you have a lush thick green healthy lawn? If the answer is yes, that is GREAT! keep up the good work and cut at the highest to second highest setting. The goal is to just cut off the winter damage, as your turf will start growing pretty rapidly after this cut. You may also bag this mow if you wish. To help promote thickness, your desired height will be around 4 inches. You can lower your deck at each cutting to attain this result slowly. You will want to start your turf program for the season, if you have not already done so.
Second, do you have a fairly nice yard with some bare spots? It’s getting better, stay with it! Unfortunately you will probably be cutting multiple times and bagging. You will want to gradually take the height of your turf down to about 3.5 to 4 inches in height. Bagging is recommended as it will help with the cleanup as will cutting multiple times. Starting high and lowering the deck down when beginning another full cut of your yard.
You will want to apply seed and starter fertilizer to your bare areas. After the seed has germinated and the new grass cut once, you can start your turf program at this time. If you already started your turf program, just use a hard rake in the bare areas to break up the pre emergent bond.
First, are you looking at your turf in March? If so, that is good. You should see tan or brown colored turf. This color does not mean your lawn is dead. It signifies dormant (sleeping) turf. You will want to remove any green spots (polka dots). These green spots can be weeds or fescue grass that have migrated into your yard. When the bermuda starts turning green it is coming out of dormancy.
Second, now that your lawn is coming out of dormancy it will start spreading. Do you have bare spots? With spreading turf like bermuda you will not need to seed, instead start your turf program, if you have not done so already. Fertilizing the turf around the bare spots will cause them to grow over bare spots creating established turf in those areas. The desired turf height for cutting will be 2.5 inches to 3 inches.
Stressed about your lawn?
If you are pulling your hair out, just thinking about having that well manicured property but just do not have the time or energy. It’s ok, stay calm and breathe, we are here for you and will help how ever we can. This generally happens in the Month of march.