We haven’t had much of a winter this year. The temperatures have been unseasonably warm (and record breaking), while the moisture has been well below average.
Hopefully you have been doing some supplemental winter watering to protect you lawn, trees, and shrubs from winter desiccation.
We checked soil temperatures last week, and it looks like we are 4-6 weeks ahead of normal—which is showing in many ornamental trees already blooming. Lawns are also getting very green where they have been watered. At this point, the most important thing you can do for you landscape is water.
Forecasted moisture towards the end of this week and early next week will help, but the ground will soak that up pretty quick. If you know how to drain your sprinkler system, it should be safe to turn on if you just watch for cold nights and drain the backflow. If not, you can always use a hose sprinkler.
If you do not have a sprinkler company lined up for irrigation turn on and/or repairs, please call our office for a recommendation.
Begin this season by mowing the lawn short and bagging the clippings. This will allow removal of dead thatch from over the winter. It will also help to get more oxygen and heat to the root zone which will help the lawn become active. Your grass can be cut a lot shorter than you would in the summer months, but make sure to not scalp the lawn.
This will allow air, water and nutrients into the root zone at a crucial time of development. You can also overseed at the time of aeration. Aeration in the spring and fall is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. If we get adequate moisture over the next week, we will be starting to schedule aerations.
We typically don’t recommend power raking but if your lawn has a lot of matted down areas, and is very thick and spongy, then it may be OK. The problem with power raking is that sometimes it does more harm than good, by mechanically tearing at the root system of the lawn and causing stress. Using a hand rake is always more beneficial for the health of the turf, rather than power raking.