Adam Thoms, assistant professor in horticulture and turgrass extension specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, offers the following tips on how to get your lawn off to a good start this spring.
First, remove any twigs or debris from your lawn so that they don’t get stuck in the mower or dull the mower’s blade. If your grass is matted down and has a fungus on it, it is likely caused by Gray Snow Mold. The large amounts of snow Iowans received over the winter months can cause this issue.
Thoms said the first step to reviving your lawn from the mold is to rake the grass until it stands up. Fertilizer and warm weather usually do the rest. It is too late in the season for a fungicide application.
A spring fertilizer is a great way to green up the yard quickly. Typically, apply three-fourths of a pound per 1,000 square feet of nitrogen using a “slow-release” fertilizer. The slow release will help avoid burning and other injuries to the lawn.
Lingering drought conditions from last year may delay the release of your fertilizer and the lawn may take longer to grow. If you seeded your lawn last fall, it will likely need to be reseeded this spring. The fall drought may have dried out the seedlings.
If you are seeding this spring, avoid applying a crabgrass preventer. Although effective at preventing crabgrass, this product will also keep the regular grass seed from germinating.
Once the lawn starts to green up and the ground is firm, then it is time to take the mower out. If your mower still needs to be serviced, consider the lawn mower service days being offered by the Ag Systems Technology Club at Iowa State. The club offers options for both push and riding mowers, and can pick your mower up at your home for an additional fee.