Ready to get started in prepping your lawn for the summer months ahead? Below are a few tips to keep it healthy and lush as the weather warms up.
- Mow a bermudagrass or zoysiagrass lawn when it first turns green, with a rotary mower set as low as possible without scalping. Mow before the grass gets taller than 1-1/2” to 2”, and do not remove more than 1/3 of the blades’ height at a time.
- Before a St. Augustinegrass lawn greens up, mow at 2-1/2” to clear the dead tops of grass leaves.
- Three weeks after warm-season grass turns green, apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn area for bermudagrass, or 1/2 lb. N/1,000 ft2 for zoysiagrass. In the absence of a soil test, use a complete nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K) turf-grade fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio (for example, 12-4-8 or 16-4-8). Do not fertilize centipedegrass at this time.
- Proper irrigation now may help prevent or reduce pest problems and environmental stress later in the summer. Most warm-seasons grasses need a weekly application of about 1” to 1-1/4” of water per week. On sandy soils, they require more frequent watering — for example, 1/2″ of water every third day.
- If you haven’t done so already, apply preemergence herbicides to control late-germinating crabgrass, goosegrass and foxtail. Be sure the product is labeled for use on your species of lawn grass. Read the herbicide label, and follow the directions carefully.
- Apply post-emergence herbicides on cool-season broadleaf weeds, such as henbit and chickweed. Check the herbicide label carefully to make sure that it will not damage your type of lawn grass, particularly cool-season lawns. Non-selective herbicides, such as those containing glyphosate (example: Roundup) may be used on dormant warm-season grasses such as bermudagrass and zoysiagrass before they begin to green up in spring. Follow label directions carefully.