Spring time in Utah is when lawns and yards are ripe for the taming. You may be wondering, “What should I be doing to my lawn right now to make it beautiful in the summer?” We’ve laid out an action plan that you can take to ensure that your whole yard will be the envy of the neighborhood all summer long.
Get Your Yard in Order
First things first. Before you can start in on making your grass lush and green, you need to make sure that the other aspects of your yard are tidied up.
First, trim your trees and hedges. Ideally you should trim your trees before they begin to bud and blossom. Cutting back ¼ to ⅓ of your branches improves the health of your tree, increases blossom growth, and is aesthetically pleasing. Keep an eye out for branches that look dead or diseased. These branches will often still have dead leaves hanging, fungus growth, or much of the bark stripped back.
Follow a similar routine for trimming hedges. Cut back dead or diseased branches, or those which are growing at an undesired angle. The easiest way to get a straight line with your hedges is to place stakes with strings tied at either end and slowly follow the line with an electric hedge trimmer.
Once you’ve trimmed your trees, hedges, and shrubs, rake any of the debris, along with remaining dead leaves from last fall. Remember that one of the best tips for lawn care is consistency in your effort, so keep up on any other debris you may need to clear throughout the coming season and year.
Test Your Equipment and Get Mowing
Check on the state of all your lawn care equipment before you dive into too much of the heavy lifting. This includes your lawn mower, trimmer, edger, and any other tools you may use. For each of these tools check the oil, spark plugs, blades, and overall cleanliness. Lawn mower blades are of particular importance. If the blade is too dull it can damage your grass, making it susceptible to diseases.
After all of your equipment has been checked, you can get to work. It’s important that when mowing your lawn you do not cut the grass too short. Longer grass shades the roots and protects them from drying out. Short grass is more susceptible to disease and weeds. As a rule, never cut more than ⅓ from your grass length.
Use this initial mowing time to edge your lawn as well to get crisp lines to work with for the season.
Test Your Soil
As a preliminary measure to fertilizing your lawn, test your soil’s pH level. Knowing the pH level informs you of the type of fertilizer you should be using. Your lawn’s ideal pH level will be determined by the type of grass you have. Most Utah turf plants and grass thrive when the soil has a neutral pH level between 5.5 and 8.0. Your Utah lawn care company can advise you on the best strategy for your lawn.
Test for and Treat Thatch
Once you’ve tested your soil but before you fertilize, check out your lawn for problems like thatch. Thatch is more common in high traffic areas like schools and parks, but can also occur in residential lawns, especially those that have not been treated previously.
To identify thatch go out to your lawn and dig out a very small section (less than an inch will do). Look at that area between the grass and the soil, where the grass takes roots. Do you see layers of crossing grass, some dead, some alive? This is thatch. A thin layer of thatch under ½ inch thick is helpful in protecting grass roots from extreme temperatures. However, thick layers of thatch suffocate grass roots by blocking nutrients and air circulation.
One method for clearing thatch is using a thatch rake or dethatcher. A thatch rake is similar to a normal rake, but it has sharper, more curved edges for pulling the thatch up. For a simpler approach, rent a dethatcher machine. Pull all of the thatch out in one direction to avoid damaging your lawn.
Aerate Your Lawn
Annual aeration is key to creating a stronger, lawn with firmer roots. This in turn helps your lawn to be greener and healthier. Aeration is what it sounds like — the process in which you create an environment for your lawn where air can be more easily circulated through the soil.
When you aerate your lawn will be dependent on the type of grass you have. Generally, you will want to aerate at the peak growing season for your grass. Most Utah grasses are cool season grasses, meaning they grow most actively in cooler weather (spring and fall). Cool season grasses include Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue blends, and Ryegrass. Some Utahns do have warm season grasses like Bermuda, Buffalo, and Zoysia grass. Cool season grasses should be aerated in the early spring or fall, while warm season grasses should be aerated in the summer.
Aeration can be done independently by renting a machine. However, you can also hire a company to come and aerate your yard for you.
Overseed Your Lawn
Overseeding your lawn is great for getting a lusher lawn down the road. Particularly for those with patchy lawns or lawns where no more than 50% of the grass has thinned out, overseeding is a great way to fill in those patches and improve your yards aesthetics.
Overseeding is simpler than reseeding and requires fewer steps. Overseeding should take place in the early spring, after you have aerated your lawn and done your first mow. Use a rake to expose the soil just a bit in the areas you want to overseed. Once you have raked to loosen the soil you can apply the seed. Finally, add recommended fertilizer and water your lawn to keep the soil damp for the first week or two. You should start to see the grass sprouting within 5 to 30 days. Over the course of the next four to six months, water less frequently as your grass takes root until you can water at your normal rate.
Fertilizing Your Lawn
Even if you are not applying new seed to your lawn, fertilizer is still important for your grass to grow healthier and greener. Proper fertilization balances out the pH levels in your soil. In turn, this prevents fungal diseases, brown spots, and weeds.
You can begin fertilizing your lawn just when it starts to turn green after the winter. Keep in mind that if you start applying fertilizer too early you can put your lawn at greater risk of lawn diseases. Fertilize every 4-6 weeks throughout the season, watering your grass well after each treatment.
Now that you have all the steps you need for your Utah lawn in the spring, you can get started on making your yard beautiful for the whole year. Contact Edge for Utah lawn maintenance and lawn care in Provo and Orem to Salt Lake City and Ogden or anywhere in between.