Although it is only February, the lawns are already starting to show signs of green and the blossom on forsythia is swelling indicating spring weather is almost here. This also means it is time to think about lawncare for this year.
The first thought is how much work and money do you want to spend on lawncare?
The second is to figure out if you want to do this organically or with chemicals.
Taking the first point: The lawn chemical cost depends on how often you apply them. A basic early spring weed and feed plus crabgrass treatment is a very minimum for most lawns. Crabgrass is an annual, so the crabgrass treatment aborts the crabgrass seeds from germinating. This same pre-emergent treatment applies to all weed seeds that find their way to your lawn, but the chemicals also stop grass seed germinating, so do not use it if you plan on reseeding any part of your lawn this spring.
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After the first treatment of fertilizer and pre-emergent, consider grub damage. Automatically spreading grub control is not necessary particularly as you may not have any grubs at all. Take a small square, about 12” wide, and lift the lawn surface. If the roots are nibbled and you see fat grubs, treat just that area. Take 2 or 3 other squares around the lawn and if they all show signs of damage and the count of grubs is above 6 per square, consider a whole lawn treatment. If you see no sign of grubs, save your money. Killing the grubs also affects other subterranean insects such as worms which are beneficial to your lawn and landscape in general.
Always read the instructions before applying chemicals, even organic treatments. Too much nitrogen can burn the lawn and give you more headaches than not treating at all.
If you need to reseed areas of the lawn, do that now and skip the crabgrass/pre-emergent treatment until the new grass is well established and has been mowed once. Then treat the lawn with a general lawn weed treatment. If you decide to redo an area of lawn after the crabgrass treatment is already down, you need to wait about 10-12 weeks before putting the new seed down.
Whether you do the treatments yourself or get a professional company for lawn treatments, there are many options on the market, including some that do organic lawn care. Sometimes a mix of chemicals for a poor lawn in spring, followed by organic fertilizer later in the year for maintenance is a way to get the lawn in shape without using too many chemicals. Spot treating dandelions and clover patches is also a way to reduce chemicals use on the lawn.
Having a nice green lawn takes time, money and work and now is the time to plan what you will need to achieve that look.