How to Prepare Your Yard for SpringFebruary 2, 2018
Spring brings April showers and May flowers…unless you live in Texas, when all of those things happen much sooner. Anyone who calls Texas home can attest that the Lone Star State doesn’t exactly follow the calendar when it comes to the seasons. So it’s important to be prepared to start your spring lawn preparation early, while some who live in the northern U.S. are still seeing snow. No matter when the warm temps arrive this year, here are some tips to get you started so you can have the spring green lawn that will be the envy of the neighborhood.
Before you begin: Get organized
Prior to getting started on prepping your yard for spring, make sure you have everything in order. Open your garage door to let in the fresh, warmer air and gather all your tools. Inspect yard tools and lawnmowers for any damage and buy replacement parts as needed.
Familiarize yourself with the type of grass you have, if you don’t already know. In Texas, the most common types of grasses you’ll find are St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia, and Buffalo. All of these are hardy grasses that tolerate both heat and drought well.
Finally, you will need to assess the health of your lawn to determine what your biggest issues are. Clear away old leaves and debris so you can get the full picture. Some even like to mow the grass very short by lowering the mower blade down one or two notches. This is not a necessary step, but it allows you to remove brown grass that appeared over winter and see the new green growth sooner, since you’re exposing the soil to sunlight. After all this, roll your sleeves up, and the real work can begin!
Weeds, be gone
The first step in the beautiful spring lawn process is to eliminate weeds or, more accurately, stop them before they start. Each season, weeds begin a new period of growth, and once they appear they won’t stop until the season ends. First, you will want to take care of clover, dandelions, and other non-grassy weeds using broadleaf herbicide. This is best applied as spray directly to the weed’s leaves, but take care and avoid spraying trees, shrubs, and flowers.
To prevent crabgrass and other warm-season annual grassy weeds, you will need to use a pre-emergent weed killer. If you stop the seeds from germinating, then you can stop the weeds from sprouting. Granules are a popular choice for the three most common types of grasses mentioned above. After application, water immediately to promote its effectiveness and keep it from washing away. In Texas, the prime time to put down pre-emergent weed killer is from mid-February to early March. The exact date will depend on where you live in Texas—you may need to do it a couple weeks sooner for areas further south.
Weed seeds germinate when the soil temperature reaches 55-60 degrees, so it is critical to treat grass prior to this happening. Once the plants start to grow, it will be hard to control the weeds for the entire growing season.
Finish with fertilizer
There are three basic components for a healthy, beautiful lawn: fertilizer, sun, and water. Fertilizing your lawn comes later in the process, once grass is actively growing. Early April is generally the best time. Be sure to read the ingredients on the fertilizer bag; look for ones specially formulated for Texas, if possible. Texas lawns generally need more nitrogen. For best results, do a soil test to see which type of fertilizer your lawn needs. Don’t use weed-and-feed products, which are not suitable for Texas.
Irrigation is an important part of the process for the rest of the season. Texas lawns generally need about an inch of water a week. Split this watering time up into at least two different sessions. It is best to get on a good, consistent watering schedule. This can best be accomplished with an in-ground sprinkler system that you can set on a timer.
Keeping a beautiful lawn may seem overwhelming if you’ve put in much effort before, but the results in the end are more than worth it! If you plan it out and take it step by step, you’ll be well on your way to having the greenest, most gorgeous lawn in the neighborhood.