Lawn Maintenance Jobs in Early Spring
As the days lengthen and warmer sun dries out the soil, planting can begin and the gardener’s year gets under way.
Early spring weather invariably has the most pronounced variations from day to day, and the widest variations from year to year. The contrast between weather in the north and south of Britain is at its greatest.
Cold, strong winds in the wake of depressions from the Atlantic bring hail, sleet and snow, especially to high ground. But the sun’s rays are beginning to grow stronger and sunshine hours are increasing, so that in a sheltered spot, in bright sun, it is warm. Though showers may be widespread, the overall rainfall in early spring can be quite low.
Temperatures at midday can be quite moderate, but at night they may fall dramatically, and there may be freezing fog. Air frost is possible on most nights, especially when there is a clear sky.
Take every advantage of dry spells in early spring to complete soil cultivation. But don’t be misled by short periods of warm weather into thinking that spring has finally arrived. It is often safer to delay sowing and planting than to be caught by a subsequent cold spell that can mean disaster for young plants and seedlings.
Try to establish a routine that follows the progress of theso that all receive equal attention.
Re-seed worn areas in the lawn, first levelling any depressions and raking to a fine filth.
Aerate the lawn thoroughly, raking it vigorously a number of times in directions at right angles to each other. This will scatter, remove dead grass, debris and moss, and allow air and water to enter the surface of the .
Towards the end of early spring, if the weather is warm and not too dry, apply a proprietary springas evenly as possible.
Make the first springwhen the grass is about 6-7.5cm (2-1/2 – 3in) high, setting the mower blades high. The weather should be dry. First scatter any worm casts with a rake or besom. Always mow with the grass box on at this time of year — clippings left on the turf surface will encourage disease.
Attend to lawn edges, cutting with a half-moon edging tool and using a plank laid on the grass as a straight-edge guide. Stand on the plank and cut away from you slightly to prevent crumbling of the lawn edge.
Where a lawn edge has crumbled or become worn, cut out the damaged area as a square or rectangle and turn it round so that there is sound turf at the edge. Sow grass seed on the bare patch and cover lightly with sifted soil.
Fusarium patch disease can occur in early spring. It is recognized by collapsed areas of fawn-coloured, waterlogged, dead grass, eventually with pinkish white fungal threads developing over the patch. Treat with a proprietary mercury-based fungicide. A number of applications may be necessary. To harden the grass and make it more resistant to disease, apply a lawn sand preparation, following the manufacturer’s recommended doses.
To control most lawn weeds, apply a proprietary selective lawn weedkiller — containing mecoprop or dicamba with 2,4-D or a mixture of these chemicals — one or two weeks after the spring fertilizer application. To get the best effect, apply selective weedkillers during periods of active growth in damp, fairly warm and still conditions.
If moss is a problem, apply a proprietary lawn moss killer—which is often combined with a fertilizer.