Spring Lawn Preparation

Spring Lawn Preparation

Monday, March 17, 2003

Paul Schnare

 

 

        There are three things that you need to do for your existing cool season lawn around March 30th.  The first is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide for crabgrass.  This herbicide kills the crabgrass seed as it germinates.  This is the most effective way to control this grassy weed.

            There are several pre-emergents on the market.  Make sure that you get one that lasts 90 to 120 days.  Team is one pre-emergent that lasts 90 days.  This herbicide kills the crabgrass seed as it germinates.  This is the most effective way to control this grassy weed.

            Secondly you should apply a fertilizer to your cool season lawn around the end of March.  Use a fertilizer such as a 28-4-4.  A lot of nitrogen is needed to support rapid grass growth in the spring.  Most soils in the Heartland have sufficient phosphorous and potassium, so very little extra is needed.

            There are several pre-emergent fertilizer products on the market.  Go to your local garden center and ask for help.

            Finally you should treat your lawn for existing broadleaf weeds.  The most effective way to control chickweed, henbet, wild garlic, and dandelions is to spray your lawn with a herbicide called trimec.  There are several formulations of trimec on the market under different trade names.  You may also use trimec in a granular form, but it is not as effective as a spray.

            If you have a warm season lawn, such as zoysia or Bermuda, it is important to apply both a pre-emergent for crabgrass and spray for existing broadleaf weeds.  Do not fertilize at this time of the year.  You don’t want to encourage early spring growth that may be susceptible to a late frost.  Damage could occur to your lawn.