Spring grounds maintenance tips for governments
For government officials working to shape up their communities’ lawns and gardens after the long winter, here are some spring tips from the experts at Lawn Doctor. The company, based in Holmdel, N.J., has been providing lawn, tree and shrub care for 40 years to customers across the U.S., including governments.
* Fertilization: Spring is the most vital time of the year for fertilizing because it replenishes the reserves used during the dormant winter period and fuels grass’ rapid growth phase. A balanced fertilizer consisting of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is best, with 30 percent of the nitrogen slow release. Don’t over-fertilize; no more than one pound of nitrogen should be applied per 1,000 square feet. The best way to prevent weeds is with a thick, healthy lawn.
* Weed control: Apply a pre-emergent weed killer on lawns to prevent grassy weeds from germinating. Spring broadleaf weeds like dandelions, clovers and plantains, are best prevented by maintaining a proper mowing height and fertilization. After a mild winter, winter annual weeds that germinate in the fall, like henbit and chickweed, will require broadleaf weed control application.
* Pest control/disease repair: Severe winters may increase the incidence of winter diseases such as snow mold and Bermuda dead spot. Proper cultural care is important in helping your lawn recover from stress-related winter diseases. Properly timed fertilizer application and mowing at the recommended height for your grass type are two items that will aid in the recovery of your agency’s lawn.
* Mowing: Setting your mower at a very low height is never recommended for any lawn, even during the first mowing of the season, because it increases weeds by exposing the soil surface to sunlight and removes stored nutrients in the leaf blade. Cool weather grasses, such as bluegrass, ryegrass and fescues, should maintain a height of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. Warm season grasses, like bermuda, zoysia, St. Augustine and centipede, should be kept at 1.5 to 2.5 inches tall.