Spring Lawn Tune Up

March is the time to start your lawn's engine so that it is ready to give you a smooth ride all season long. Just like your car, a good Spring Lawn Tune Up will give your lawn top performance and keep grass problems to a minimum as the season goes along. In your lawn, your good turf grasses are in a race with the weeds and insects that will sprout and hatch in the next eight weeks.

Feed it! In hot weather weeds and bugs can simply run rings around your lawn's desirable cool-season grasses. It is important to get your lawn started now so your good grasses have a head start on the competition. Feeding the lawn in early March with Loveland's Renovator or Golf Course Starter formula fertilizer will encourage your lawn grasses to grow healthy tops and roots. Roots, tillers and rhizomes spread and thicken your lawn turf. Vigorous roots and rhizomes help fill in bare spots to give the lawn a more uniform appearance and prepares the grass plant to receive sunlight that will in turn also promote root growth.

In the spring established lawns can look uneven and clumpy. Different grass types, different soil types, variation in moisture, sunlight, pet traffic, all contribute to an uneven appearance that is the lawn hangover from winter stress. An early spring lawn fertilizer will give grass plants the extra boost they need to green up and all start growing at once.

Feeding your lawn early has an obvious aesthetic benefit as the green lawn will frame springtime’s flowering trees and shrubs. It also has the practical benefit of crowding out bare spots and mud patches before weeds can sprout. Weeds and bugs need heat and sunlight. As the grass grows and thickens, bare spots disappear and soil temperatures are dramatically reduced by the shade and insulation provided by the thick green grass carpet.

Seed it! Those lawn areas where bare spots or turf damage are larger than a silver dollar will need to be over-seeded in order to fill in before summer. Start early to get a jump on summer weed competition. Fine leafed bluegrass lawns may be overseeded with special attention to bare spots. Choose newer bluegrass strains that are adapted to the Kansas City areas and do better in hot weather. Some of these include Corsair, Rock Star, Gibraltar and our elite blend Blue Wave. In most cases, these bluegrasses will outperform fescues ten months out of the year. Hybrid bluegrass mixes such as Estate Mix containing perennial sports rye will germinate much more quickly in cold soils and will be well established by summer.  Topdressing seeded bare spots with PrimeraFC seed dressing or sphagnum peat will speed germination. 

Related: March is the Perfect Time to Help Your Lawn

In Kansas City, fescue lawns are becoming more popular. But turf type tall fescue does best in warm weather. As such turf fescue lawns can be sluggish and slow to start in cold spring soils. If overseeding fescue lawns in the spring avoid coarse bladed pasture varieties such as K-31. New hybrid fescue varieties include Cochise 4, Falcon 4 and Bullseye as well as a number of popular mixes and blends such as Heat Wave and Macho Mix. Containing 5% perennial sports turf rye, Macho Mix seeded in early March sprouts one to two weeks sooner than fescue held until warm weather before sowing.

Related: Turf-Type Tall Fescue vs Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue

Weed it! Controlling broadleaf weeds in cold spring weather can be a real headache. Weeds that will curl up and die in two days when the temperature is eighty degrees will seem unaffected at fifty degrees. Winter weeds such as henbit, oxalis and even small dandelions can be seen on the lawn and are hard to kill in cold weather. Speedzone, a liquid broadleaf weed control, will kill springtime broadleaf weeds at lower temperatures than ever before.

Related: Best Control for Broadleaf Weeds in Cool Weather

The most important weed control application for the spring is Loveland's PREVENT!, a pre-emergent for crabgrass, foxtail and other ugly annual grassy weeds. PREVENT! will give best results when applied in two applications, once in Mid-April and again June first. PREVENT! will damage new grass seed so do not apply them to new seeding until the new grass has matured and mowed two times.