March days provide Kansas City homeowners with a chance to get the jump on recovering from the winter stress. Grass seed varieties sown in March have an 8-week head start on the weed and insect season, which begins in earnest in mid-May. Bugs and weeds prefer hot weather. Insect eggs hatch, weed seeds sprout, thicken and spread as soil and air temperatures rise.
Get started with spring seeding. Mow your lawn with your mower set to the middle of its height range, about 1.5” to 2”. If you have a bagger, use it. If not, just pick up the areas where clippings are heaviest. Keep it simple; sweeping with a leaf rake is more than enough.
Use spring time grass seed varieties. Avoid grass seed that contains coarse bladed K-31 or annual rye. Select a grass seed that contain some perennial sports turf rye such as Estate Mix™ (bluegrass/rye) or Macho Mix™ (fescue/rye). These seed mixes are university tested for performance and lab tested for purity and germination. Sports turf ryes in our mixes germinate quickly in cool soils. When repairing spots, be generous with the seed.
Covering grass seed instead of raking is the secret to getting a spring seeding done right. Raking will cause blisters and release the crop of weeds that are lying in wait just beneath the soil surface. PrimeraFC seed dressing and sphagnum peat are free of weed seed and inexpensive to use. When wet each will hold moisture so you don’t have to water multiple times a day. Avoid using top soil or composted peat as they contain weed seed from the fields where they were dug.
Fertilize the entire lawn. Fertilizing just spots can make bright green patches and give a mottled look to your lawn. Apply fertilizer the same day you seed and for maximum root growth, apply again in 4 weeks. Use Loveland Golf Course Starter™ or Loveland Renovator™ fertilizer. Formulated for Kansas City, these can be used on new lawns as well as established.
What about crabgrass? Crabgrass prevention on seeded areas requires a “Smart Bomb” pre-emergent called Tupersan. A Smart Bomb pre-emergent will let good grass seed grow while stopping the crabgrass seed. Tupersan goes down on Tax Day. Keep your mower set on that middle setting and keep mowing every week. Once the seeded areas have filled in and mowed twice, broadleaf weed controls like SPEEDZONE® can be used if needed. Apply full strength PREVENT!® crabgrass pre-emergent around Mother’s Day and raise the mower up to the top notch just before it gets hot.