Salt, sand, and snow
Every winter Kingston’s road salt & sand accumulates on your lawn damaging your soil and grass. Salt is especially bad for your lawn because it makes your soil compact easier and water more difficult for your turf to acquire. Sand is another problem, although it doesn’t compact as easy it doesn’t form soil aggregates very well or hold onto plant nutrients. Combined, sand & salt destroy soil structure, once summer comes this is where crabgrass thrives.
Remove the salt and sand each year with a soft bristle broom as soon as the snow melts, choose a cool dry day so that the soil is harder and easier to sweep.
There are a few opinions about when to start mowing if you have a healthy lawn, the sooner you mow the better. This means you can give your lawn its first cut after the last frost, remember not to cut shorter than 3″. Give your lawn a “fluff” with a leaf blower if you have one, and use a mulching blade if you can. Do this and you’ll stimulate your lawn naturally and also reduce early spring mold. If your lawn was in poor condition at the end of the last year, then consider waiting until air temperature hovers around 10 degrees for your first cut. Mowing your lawn too early can be damaging but if you maintain a healthy lawn, an early mow will be a benefit.
Fertilizing right away may seem like a great way to get ahead of the curve but there are some real precautions to doing so.
- Synthetic fertilizer will quickly deplete your turf roots if applied too early. This is because grass blades aren’t getting enough sunlight in the early spring to compensate for all the extra fertilizer pushing growth, therefore the extra energy is pulled out of the roots.
- Early spring is moist and is when a lot of lawn diseases get their start, although the symptoms won’t be visible until the hot summer, and then it’s too late. Adding too much fertilizer can exaggerate these diseases or even promote algae growth on the lawn.
- Apply a gentle dose of amino-acid based fertilizer instead with a total nitrogen application of 0.1 – 0.5 pounds per 1000 square feet. This will gently provide added growth without burdening your turf’s energy stores.
Your lawn will wake up naturally but the above tips will give you an advantage this year. Early spring maintenance will give your grass a longer period to grow strong roots which are necessary for drought resistance in the summer months. Be careful not to undermine your lawn’s natural cycle with strong chemical fertilizers, choose organic, and have a lush lawn all summer.