Auburn, Alabama – With temperatures continuing to rise and summer only a few weeks away, people are beginning to break out the work gloves to start the process of lawn management.
As nice as it is to have a lawn with beautiful green grass, the job of maintaining such a landscape can be difficult and require a considerable amount of work. To avoid spending countless hours mowing, weed-eating, and edging in vain, it is important to take the proper steps to ensure the grass you’re dedicating so much of your time to is healthy and full of potential.
To make sure your lawn looks the best it possibly can, Dr. David Han, an Alabama Extension turf specialist, shares his expertise.
One thing Han made clear is that if you plan on fertilizing your lawn, now is the time to do so.
Han said, “Now is a great time to fertilize if you haven’t already. You want to be sure to use a rate of one pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet of lawn.
“If you find a fertilizer that’s marketed as a turf fertilizer, they will always list the recommended area the product covers in square feet on the bag. I would always follow those guidelines.” Han added.
Another important thing to know when preparing to fertilize your grass is the size of your lawn.
Han said, “One thing people should consider is finding out how big their yards are if they don’t know already. It’s tough to know how much fertilizer to buy and spread if you don’t know how much surface you need to be covering.”
Not only is the amount of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn important to keep in mind, but so is the type of grass in the lawn, because some grass needs more fertilizer than others.
“The amount of fertilizer you should use during the summer depends on what type of grass you have. If you have Bermuda grass I would fertilize three or four times. Zoysia grass should be fertilized two to three times and if you have centipede grass, now is the only time to fertilize it. It won’t need to be fertilized again until next year,” added Han.
One of the most important parts of growing a pristine green lawn is making sure your grass has adequate water. However, your grass doesn’t require as much water as some might think.
“You really don’t need to water your lawn as much as a lot of people think you do. This week, for example, we got right about an inch of rain, so that’s probably going to last for a whole week. So even if we don’t have another drop of rain you probably won’t need to water the lawn until the weekend.”
Obviously as spring turns into summer, the weather will get hotter and grass will need more water to thrive. But even then, the rate of watering your lawn shouldn’t be too dramatic.
Han said, “In the middle of the summer when grass is growing its fastest, and it’s 95 degrees outside, water two, maybe three times a week. I would water deeply and infrequently as opposed to a little bit every day.”
One thing everyone with a lawn has in common is a healthy disdain for native weeds. But according to Han, if you haven’t initiated a pre-emergence weed plan yet, you may have to get comfortable with a few unwelcome weeds growing in your yard.
Han said, “Unfortunately, right now it’s a little late to pre-emerge for weeds because they’ve probably started coming up. Now you’ll have to handle them with a post-emergence weed killer. There are lot of them on the market, and they generally work pretty well on common weeds.”
The key to preventing weeds is to stop them before they start growing. It may be too late to stop a lot of the weed growth this summer, but it’s never too late to look ahead to future seasons.
Han said, “Next fall — September or October — will be the time to put out a pre-emergence to kill winter weeds.”
Now is the time to start the process of fertilization and weed prevention to ensure optimal lawn health. Summer in Alabama can be long and hot, and can cause great strain on lawns. For best results, it is important that you follow these steps to make your lawn as healthy.