Finally, Texas, we can go outside and enjoy our beautiful lawn and garden! Spring weather is much more inviting, and offers a lot more color to our outdoor areas. It also means that there are some special considerations when we care for your lawn and garden during spring. Temperatures fluctuate, rain is more likely and storms start brewing with wicked winds and hail. Use these tips to easily manage your lawn and garden during this fresh, new season:
Before you can properly care for your lawn, you’ll want to identify or know what type of grass is used. Cool-season grass most popular in Texas is bluegrass. It has 2 growth spurts – one in the spring and one in the fall. This grass can really struggle during the summer, so spring maintenance is crucial. Warm-season grasses include Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine. These grasses love the heat and are dormant during winter months. After the spring frost, they begin growing more and really take off by the middle of summer. Note which type of grass you have, so you can better care for it, and focus on that maintenance when it’s most needed.
Watering: You’ll know your lawn is struggling and not getting enough water when they hit their “stress point.” For Bermuda and Zoysia grasses, if your footprint does not bounce back, it’s time to up your watering regiment. St. Augustine grass will begin folding slightly when it’s thirsty. A simple rule of thumb during spring is to keep your lawn hydrated, but not flooded. If your sprinklers are set for 30 minutes, and you see stress points, up the time. If you are watering for an hour a day, and the grass is moist by the next day, you’re giving it too much. Water in the morning so that the leaves will dry quickly with the sunlight, and be less prone to disease.
Cleanup: When you begin your spring lawn care, you need to clean it up. Walk around and check for plants that did not survive the winter. Prune the damaged or dead ends from bushes and trees and remove any debris and twigs you find.
Weed killers: Pesky weeds need to be stopped before they start. They thrive during the summer, which means you want to prevent them from sprouting in the spring. Pre-emergent herbicides work well, but if you want to go natural and chemical-free, cornmeal will do the trick.
Seeding: Those bare patches might not look very pretty, but it might be worth your time to skip seeding in the spring. When it starts growing in the summer, it is extremely high maintenance. You’ll also most likely have to seed again in the fall, so it might be worth your time to just wait.
Cleanup: Remove any dead leaves or petals and other debris from your garden first. Pull out the weeds, and be sure you get the roots, so they don’t grow back. Not only will you be able to see what you’re working with better, it clears the way for new plants and flowers. You’ll also need to prune the plants that survived the winter so they can start growing again in the spring. In Texas, we generally don’t see a freeze again after March, so you’re safe to begin in April. If your flowers are blooming, prune them right away to allow for healthy growth.
Moisturize: The solid is probably going to be quite packed and dried out after winter, so you’ll need to re-hydrate. Use manure, fertilizer or compost. It’s always a good idea to test your soil to see what nutrients it’s lacking. These kits are inexpensive and can be found at home supply stores.
Mulch: You may want to consider adding mulch, in addition to the fertilizers you put in your garden. Using 1-3 inches of mulch will help prevent annoying weeds and keep diseases at bay. This will also aid in keeping the moisture locked in. Add mulch a few inches from the plant stems, otherwise the roots could behind to rot.
Plant: After cleanup and moisturizing, you’re ready to add new plants! Pansies, green vegetables, lilacs, tulips, snapdragons, and redbuds are all great spring additions. If you have tomato plants inside, it’s a good time to move them outside. Plant perennials, as annuals need to be replaced each year. Perennials will live for up to 3 years and some can even survive winter freezes.
It’s time to get outside and start making your lawn and gardens beautiful again! Spring maintenance is easy, but does require a commitment. When you care for your lawn and garden during spring, you’re ensuring a good jump on the maintenance you’ll need during the blazing hot summers.