By Jean Summers
We’ve cleaned the barbecue grills, gotten out our bathing suits and dusted the cobwebs from the lawn furniture. We’re ready to enjoy spring in North Texas.
But the seasonal perks also bring some chores. As the mercury rises, so do grass and weeds – at sometimes-alarming rates. Staying on top of your lawn in the spring sets the tone for the rest of the year, so don’t cut corners. Follow this North Texas homeowner’s guide for spring lawn care, and your lawn will survive the Texas summer heat with no worries.
Spring Clean Your Yard
The yard’s lingering debris of fall and winter must go. That means removing leaves, branches, and twigs littering your landscape. Tidying up allows your mower to move unobstructed. Clearing out the debris gets your lawn looking good and lets the sun, air, and fertilizer feed your turf more efficiently.
Mow Right, Mow Often
As the growth spurts of spring hit your lawn, mowing becomes the foundation of care. Improper mowing is one of the primary causes of unhealthy lawns. Never mow more than one-third the length of your grass height at one time. If you’ve let things go, don’t mow all in one go, but rather break it up into a few mows at a higher frequency than normal. Under normal conditions, you should be mowing your grass once a week and no less than every other week.
Know what type of grass you have, and mow it to the recommended height. Also, keep those mower blades sharp. Dull blades tear the grass rather than cutting, which can cause damage.
Leave behind the grass clippings so they can act as an organic fertilizer. Those clippings will decompose quickly and return nutrients to the soil.
Springtime is the right time for an irrigation audit. Check all the heads and lines to make sure nothing is broken or leaking, and test to confirm that rain sensors and moisture gauges are functioning. Now is also the time to reset your irrigation schedule if you had it doing light duty over the winter months. Remember to set the irrigation timer so it waters only in the morning. Watering in the evening is an invitation for fungus.
In watering the grass, don’t overdo it. Lawns should be getting one to two inches of water per week. One deep watering per week should be sufficient for establishing deep roots and healthy growth. Frequent, shallow waterings encourage weed growth and prevent roots from growing deeply.
Feed Your Turf
Fertilization is best done during the growing season. Now’s the time to feed the lawn and put in place a fertilization plan for the coming months. Bear in mind that different types of grasses require different fertilizers. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to lawn fertilization. Get it right and reap the rewards.
If all of this is a bit overwhelming, remember that you don’t have to go it alone. There are professional services that can help you with any of the steps you’re unclear on or don’t have time for. With a little spring work and foresight, you can enjoy the benefits of a lush, green lawn all year long.
Jean Summers owns a flower shop and sprinkler company. She’s as handy with power tools as she is a pen. She writes how-to manuals in her spare time, hoping to teach women how to install and repair their own irrigation systems.