(c) John NybergYay, spring is finally in the air! How do we know? Besides the milder temps, there are buds on trees, daffodils blooming, and the birds are singing away. And with this season change comes a few lawn care needs.

crabgrass 1Weed control is a very important part of keeping a lawn green, lush, and healthy. Now is the perfect time to treat for some of those annoying weeds before they establish themselves in your lawn. Crabgrass is best treated with an herbicide mid-March before it starts to grow. Once the weed has developed, however, herbicide will have much less effect on it.

tea roseDo you have repeat-blooming roses such as floribunda and hybrid tea roses? This is a good time to prune them, just as the buds break dormancy. It’s best to prune once-flowering roses after the bloom.

Bermuda grassIs your lawn a warm season grass (Bermuda and Zoysia)? If you overseeded it for the winter, now is the time for an application of nitrogen. If you did not overseed your warm weather grass, or have Centipede or St. Augustine grasses, do not apply any fertilizer.

white grubIf you have found that your lawn is suffering from a white grub problem, you should start the cycle of treatment now. A good weapon against them is bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, but it does take a little time to build up in the soil.

sprinkler headBecause irrigation systems will be started up soon, now is an excellent time to inspect them for any issues and then make the appropriate repairs and upgrades. If you set your irrigation times, you may want to just go over your manual to make sure you remember how to do it. If you have your landscaping company or someone else turn your system on, give them a call to schedule a quick inspection and to discuss what your system’s clock will be set for.

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autumn landscape mainIt’s mid Fall and there is still much you can be doing for your yard. Just because it’s colder and leaves are falling doesn’t mean it’s time to ignore your landscape. By keeping up on your yard maintenance, and planning ahead for next year, your outdoor space will continue to look good year-round.

bulbsNovember is an especially good time to plant your spring bulbs. While these plants are referred to as spring-blooming, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses can actually start blooming as early as January. The plants do best where they do not get mid-day sun, making them a great plant for around the base of trees.

If you are planning a flower bed for spring, you will want to do a soil test first. It’s not an immediate turn-around, so the sooner you do it, the sooner you get the results and can prep your soil for planting.

AppleDo you have any fruit trees on your property? If you do, remove any mummified fruits then rake up and dispose of any leaves and branches. They can harbor disease over winter.

Fescue and other cool-season grass lawns should receive their third application of fertilizer. As the name indicates, cool-season grasses do the majority of their growing in the cooler weather, generally between September and June. This is why you should fertilize in the fall and winter and not in the summer. DO NOT fertilize warm-season grasses this late in the season. You can actually harm it by stimulating it to break its dormancy during a warm spell then causing it damage when the temps drop again.

PHOTO/Becky Griffin

PHOTO/Becky Griffin

If you do have warm-season grass and you noticed a fluffy, dandelion-like weed in your lawn during the spring to fall, you may need to treat your turf for trampweed. It’s a common weed in South Carolina, but it is starting to make appearances here in North Carolina according to the NC State Cooperative Extension. You can contact your local extension for advice and a plan of attack. Fescue and cool-season lawns should be treated for this weed in February.

Another lawn weed to treat for is wild garlic and onion. If your number of weeds is low, you can always pull this grass so long as you make sure to remove the bulbs and bublets, otherwise they will regrow. You can also use a trowel and hand dig them out of the turf. Regular mowing won’t kill the weed off, but can prevent it from seeding. There are no preemergence herbicides, only postemergence, and even those will need multiple applications to get the weed under control.

hansen irrig clockHave an irrigation system? Now is the time to winterize it and shut it down before the first freeze. Water will need to be drained from the pump and any water in the system will need to be removed, usually done by pumping compressed air to force all remaining water out. This is very important as any remaining water can freeze in the system causing a crack in the pump casing. Rainfall is usually plentiful for your turf’s needs this time of year, and if you water your lawn, you risk freezing it and that will cause it damage.

leavesDon’t slack on the leaf removal. There are many options for you when it comes to where to put those leaves. You can compost them, mulch them, till them into your plant beds, place them in the woody area behind your house, or bag them. Removing the leaves is crucial for your turf’s health as it deprives it from much needed sunlight, air, water, and nutrients. The leaves also become a breeding ground for fungi and insects. If you plan to mulch the leaves, don’t let the carpet of leaves become too thick or they won’t be shredded evenly.

There is no reason why your turf can’t be happy and healthy during the fall and winter as long as you take proper care of it.