Spring Lawn Care
We all have that one neighbor on our block that seems to have a secret to keeping the thickest and greenest lawn and us green with envy. His secret is knowledge, and Nick’s Garden Center has the lawnknowledge. In Colorado we have MANY difficulties to overcome trying to keep a lush green lawn throughout the year. Like most things in life there is no single magic bullet.
Correct maintenance, knowing your obstacles, and when to address them is the key to success. Early spring when grass is struggling to come out of the torments of Colorado winters is the best time to get started. Nick’s Garden Center can help you with the simple tasks to make YOUR lawn the envy of the neighborhood.
Start with clean up. No doubt dead leaves and grass are now littered and interwoven into your lawn. This mat of material is resistant to natural decay and called thatch. Heavy thatch build up will choke out healthy grass and prevent thick growth in the spring. It is breeding ground for lawn pests and fungal outbreaks that are all too frequent in Colorado naturallawns.
Removing this material, naturally called de-thatching, should be done every year in the Spring using a leaf rake in combination with a product called Soil Activator. This product uses humic acid to naturally break down organic material and realease stored nutrients into the soil. It also greatly improves the water retention of the soil (this is a VERY good thing for Coloradoans.)
Aeration: One of the best things you can do for your lawn is Spring aeration from mid March through April in Colorado. This will increase air circulation in the soil. Plants need oxygen much in the same way we do. They use it to metabolize sugars produced from photosynthesis. Colorado soils become compacted from lawn mowers, foot traffic, and even regular watering, denying roots access to air pockets. This will cause your grass to literally starve and your over all lawn to look thin.
Tip from the pros: Rake out the plugs after aerating to keep lawn smooth and avoid uncomfortable bumps.
Overseeding: Whether you need to de-thatch your lawn or not, early Spring is an opportune time to over seed your lawn. Over seeding will provide more individual plants giving your lawn a thick lush look.
If you did not de-thatch your lawn it is best to rake the soil in order to score the surface and slightly and loosen the soil. In most places in Colorado we have thick soils that compact with regular watering and traffic. Compacted soils are a poor place for germinating seeds to try to take root.
Which seed you choose will be entirely up to you. There are several different species and blends suited for EVERY need even several new varieties of Kentucky Blue Grass that has LOW WATER NEEDS and Nick’s Garden Center Carries them all ? Not sure what kind you need? Not a problem. Just bring in a sample (about palm size) and a Nick’s nurseryman will identify what kind of grass you have on the spot. Most Coloradoans have a Kentucky Bluegrass / Fescue / Ryegrass blend.
Once the seed is laid down it is important to lay down a THIN layer of decomposed organic material such as compost or peat moss. Now this may sounds contradictory to all the previous steps to remove all the thatch but it is VERY different. DECOMPOSED organic material is actually very beneficial to our soils; adding nutrients and breaking up the Colorado clay and in the worst cases just plain ADDING to the soil depth where it has been scraped off from home construction.
The compost layer will also protect your new seed from birds and MOST importantly help retain moisture. Remember to use a THIN layer. The compost only needs to be about ¼ - ½” thick. Any thicker than that and you will run the risk of smothering the grass seed and preventing germination.
The final five steps in the process are water, water, water, water, water. The biggest hurdle and most common reason for poor grass seed germination is due to drying out. That being said the seeds do not need immense AMOUNTS of water just frequent applications of it. We recommend at least three times a day if possible but only for 4-5 minute increments. Heavy water applications could wash away seed and loose soil so take into account the grade of your lawn. A steep grade may require more frequent but shorter cycles to keep seeds moist but not washed away. This is why we like spring for over seeding our lawn in Colorado. Mother Nature gives us a little help with them water and cooler temperatures don’t dry it out as fast.
Tip from the pros: Most frequent problem with poor grass seed germination is drying out due to infrequent watering.
Our professional nurserymen are always in store to answer any questions you may have about starting a new lawn from seed or sod or general care of existing lawns.