Properly Prepare Your Turf for the Spring
by Meredith Tredeau
- Do Not Aerate Until After the Last Frost
There are several benefits to aerating warm-season Georgia grasses such as bermuda, zoysia and centipede. However, many homeowners in Newton County are aerating their yards too early in the year. Aerations penetrate the soil one inch deep under the surface of the turf, breaking up old roots to allow new root growth. That means that these new roots are exposed to the elements. If there is a deep frost on these undeveloped roots, the entire yard could be in jeopardy of being devastated. Aerations should not be done until after the last frost of the season, which is usually—and fittingly—around April 15 in Newton County.
- Preemergent Applications
Now is the time to begin applying preemergent to the turf for the prevention of crabgrass, dandelions, clovers and other broadleaf weeds. Homeowners need to make sure that the preemergent is applied before the weeds have a chance to germinate. Wait too long and it will be a constant battle against seasonal weeds. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- Prepare the Lawnmower
The lawnmower in a homeowner’s garage or shed has probably been hibernating over the winter like a black bear. Proper basic maintenance is required before beginning the cutting season. Changing the lawnmower’s oil is the most needed and obvious step to take, but there is more maintenance that can save you money in the long run. Remove any gas that had been sitting over the winter. Your lawnmower’s carburetor will thank you. Sharpen or buy new blades before the first mowing of the season. Dull blades will shred the tips of the grass blades making the turf more vulnerable to diseases.
- Do Not Fertilize Too Early
Newton County residents love green grass, but many are too anxious and hurry the process by applying fertilizer before the ground is ready. Fertilizer, particularly nitrogen, should not be applied to the turf until the soil temperatures reach 65 degrees. Applying fertilizer too early can lead to a diseased turf and cause damage that could cost homeowners greatly. Soil temperatures in Newton County can be monitored by checking the website www.georgiaweather.net. This site is run by the University of Georgia and has a station right here in Newton County.