It’s Spring and time to start taking care of your lawn

Family with children playing football on the backyard lawn near their house

(NC) Lawns are nature’s perfect recreation spaces, providing a soft place for kids, pets and adults alike to rest, play or picnic. A few simple tips will keep your lawn healthy and thick, better able to crowd out weeds, and withstand drought.

Feeding helps turf produce a deeper root structure more capable of reaching deeply stored sources of water underground. Well-fed lawns produce more shoots of grass, increasing the thickness of the carpet and eliminating bare patches where blowing weed seeds can take root.

Lawns benefit from feeding when the ground thaws and the last of the snow is gone. A spring, summer and fall feeding program will meet the needs of most lawns. Just be sure not to apply when temperatures reach higher than 31°C to avoid burning your lawn.

In the dog days of summer, all grasses have the ability to go dormant. In periods when water intake is reduced, including the driest parts of the summer, grass turns brown as the plant focuses its energy on the roots. Don’t worry about watering or feeding during periods of dormancy. Your lawn will green up with fall or spring rains and when the snow melts.

One of the most commonly asked questions about fertilizer is what to do with leftover product at the end of the growing season. The first option is to use it at the end of the season. The most important application of fertilizer is in the fall, when nutrients provide food stores to keep turf healthy during the coldest weather and boost root growth to reach deeply stored moisture reserves.

The second option is to share it. All living things need food to grow and thrive, including in parks, community gardens and commemorative green spaces. Leftover fertilizer can be shared at the end of the season with family, neighbours, friends or a community group.

The third option is store it. Keep any leftover fertilizer sealed in its original container in a dry place for next season.

If moisture gets in lumping may occur, but that can usually be fixed by breaking up any clumps before placing fertilizer in the spreader next spring.

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