The weather is warming up and soon our landscapes will be in full bloom. Swingle has compiled the most frequently asked spring landscaping questions to help keep your landscape looking great this spring. We turn to our local expert, Tony Hahn (Landscape Care Consultant, Certified Arborist and the “voice of Swingle” – as seen on our local Colorado TV stations).
A: YES. But neither require you to activate your irrigation system, which could still be susceptible to damage from below freezing temperatures. Watering with a hose-end sprinkler or nozzle is fine. A short 5-10 minute watering will provide enough moisture. Remember to disconnect your hose from the house to prevent future freeze damage.
Pay close attention to the south and west facing areas of your lawn (especially if it’s sloping), and around evergreen trees and shrubs. Turf mites are one of the most damaging lawn pests. Watering over the winter and in early spring will help mitigate turf mite damage, help keep lawn roots healthy, and provide much-needed moisture to the evergreens.
A: AERATE. Aeration is critical in the spring because root growth tends to accelerate this time of year. Lawns also grow very quickly from April through June, and need oxygen and nutrients which aeration helps with. Clay soils are predominant in most areas of the Front Range, meaning lawn aeration in Denver is crucial. By nature, these soils are low-oxygen soils and aeration introduces oxygen into the root zone.
Do not remove the plugs from the lawn after an aeration is completed. Let them dry out in the sun, then mulch them back into the lawn with the lawn mower. Power-raking is a ruse, I never recommend it. Mowing with the blade at a lower setting will remove the dead grass without ripping out healthy grass blades.
A: YES. In the 35 years I’ve been caring for Colorado landscapes, I have not seen the problem as serious as it is this year. Cooler temperatures prevented the snow from melting, creating the perfect conditions for snow mold growth. Snow mold damages bentgrass lawns more than bluegrass, ryegrass, or tall fescue lawns, which are more common in the Front Range. When the snow melts away, just lightly rake the matted areas and they should be fine. After raking, an aeration can also help. If you’re unsure of what type of grass you have or if snow mold is causing issues, just call and we’ll come out to evaluate it for you at no cost.
A: YES. Dull mower blades are an invitation for lawn diseases, leave you with ragged cuts, and cause your lawn to dry out faster. Replacing the blade is an option, or you could use a metal file to sharpen your mower blade once a month if possible. Of course, using a power grinding tool works best if you have one. If you have a mowing service, make sure to ask them how often they sharpen/replace their blades each season.
A: SOON. I like to fertilize my lawn sometime in March after the snow melts, then again in early to mid-May. Most Front Range lawns are “cool-season” grasses, which grow best from April through June. Fertilizing when the grass is growing quickly provides key nutrients at the right time, thickening the turf and promoting deeper root systems – ideal during hotter, drier months. A thick lawn also helps keep weeds out.
Spring will be here before you know it and it’s important to keep these frequently asked spring landscaping questions in mind to ensure a beautiful lawn come spring.