April Lawn Care Tips
You've heard the phrase "April showers bring May flowers." Well put on your shower caps and bring out your umbrellas, because the heavens will be pouring rain which will accelerate plant growth. Also aiding in this is the warming temperatures, making an ideal environment for bluegrass. Now is the time to really begin maintaining your lawn to start it off on the right foot for the rest of the season.
It's important in the spring time to train your root system. Typically a good deep watering (about 10 inches of moist soil), once a week will be sufficient for your lawn. However, it may be necessary to water more frequently as the temperatures rise and the rain slows leaving your soil dry. Keep in mind though, if you begin watering too frequently early in the year, your roots remain shallow which makes your lawn dependent on frequent watering.
How do I know if my soil is dry?
You can test this in two different ways. First, you can probe the soil with a screwdriver or a butter knife. If it is relatively hard to push in and moist soil doesn't stick to the probe, it's too dry. The second method requires you to look at your lawn itself to determine if it is a darker hue. Also examine the individual blades. If they don't spring back quickly when stepped on, this indicates dryness.
Since April is one of the fastest growing months for blue grass, you may need to mow more frequently. To keep from mowing off too much of the green in your lawn, mow off only 1/3 of the blade at a time. Most of the green in your lawn is located in the top portion of the blade.
In April, the weeds in your lawn are mostly perennials such as Dandelions, Thistle or Mallow. The broad-leaf weeds can be sprayed with a selective herbicide. Any grassy weeds would need to be sprayed with a non-selective herbicide such as Roundup and the lawn replanted in that area.
Crabgrass can often be mistaken for Orchard grass, however, there is no crabgrass growing during this time of year. It is a summer annual weed most commonly seen during July and August and begins to die as the temperatures fall below freezing. A pre-emergence in April or May will help prevent most of last years seeds from germinating again.
While we usually don't see any insects damaging lawns during this month, we have seen a few incidents of Cranberry Girdler or White Grub in previous years.
How do I know if I have an insect problem?
As your lawn greens up you may notice some areas remaining brown. Pull on these areas with your whole hand. If insects are at fault, it will pull up like rug and you will see little white bugs on the soil.
How do I solve my insect problem?
To control the problem, apply insecticide directly to the affected areas and check back weekly for improvement. Repeat this until all signs of insect activity are gone.
With the moisture from the rain, mushrooms may begin to appear in your lawn. This is a relatively rare issue and takes care of itself as the weather drys.
Mushrooms may appear in your lawn when there has been a lot moisture in the soil for an extended period of time. You can mow the heads off to make them less noticeable and as the April showers decrease in frequency and amount, the mushrooms will be unable to survive.