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Closeup of the center and partial petals of a deep yellow sunflower.

An Early Spring?

An early spring offers fantastic opportunities for outdoor projects including spring clean ups, repairs, garden work and my favorite: lawn prep. With most New England areas having very little remaining snow, the prospect of getting outside soon seems more realistic each and every day, despite it being early March.
Warmer weather combined with reduced ice and snow helps to minimize any snow mold from developing on lawns as would be common in a “normal” winter.
To promote spring greening, raking is a great idea, especially in matted areas or those spots covered in debris. Debris left untouched such as gravel, sand and leaves can easily act as mulch and damage grass as it begins to grow again. There is no need to rake your entire lawn if it was put to bed correctly with a short cut and relatively clear of leaves.
If snow caught you by surprise or the mower retired early last fall, be sure to give your lawn a short cut now (1-2”), without scalping. This will promote faster greening by allowing warm spring sunshine to reach and warm the ground.
In the case of plow damage, seeding should wait a bit until the soil warms up, usually until mid-to-late April at the earliest. Remember, tossing seed down on compacted or bare soil is just feeding local birds, not really creating a lawn. Be sure to either work up the soil a bit – amending it where possible and or topdressing with new loam for a fresh seed bed. This will insure your efforts bear fruit as new grass versus plump sparrows!
Many dangerous insects such as adult ticks also become more active in search of a fresh meal after a restful winter’s sleep. Caution should be exercised in tall grass or when venturing into meadows or woods. Be sure to wear long sleeves, socks, and pants with insect repellent for the best protection. A quick body check for ticks before going inside is also recommended after working outdoors in the spring. Spring is an ideal time to treat for ticks. A wide variety of treatment products are available from your local lawn care professional like Chippers, ranging from organic to traditional.
If you have a professional lawn care provider, don’t forget to renew your 2017 lawn program to insure prompt service this spring. In many cases, you can earn an early bird discount for simply agreeing to your program before spring arrives. With the current weather and daylight savings about to start – spring will be here before you know it!