It may not seem like it, but Spring is on its way to North Texas (eventually), and it’s time to start getting lawns, gardens and flowerbeds ready. Water Expert Denise Hickey and Horticulturalist Patrick Dickinson shared great information on their most recent Green Segment on WFAA.
Yard Spring Cleaning
A good start to get ready for Spring, is by giving the yard a good clean. You can prune back perennials starting at the end of February through early March to avoid cutting new growth.
Consider applying pre-emergent to yards. There are both organic and synthetic options that put a protective barrier across soil to prevent weeds. An added benefit is that it helps prevent the need for more chemicals to be used to treat for weeds in the spring and summer. It’s recommended to apply pre-emergent in February and September.
If there are still leaves on the lawn, it’s time to mulch those and give the sun some breathing room to green up your lawn. Remember, don’t put them out at the curb for pick up – add them to your beds and mulch over them. In fact, now is a great time to consider mulching while all of your plants are pruned back.
Hold the Fertilizer
Don’t fertilize just yet. Fertilizing this early will cause weeds to take hold and could burn tender new grass during a late freeze. It’s best to wait to fertilize until April. Make sure to test soil to find out what, if any, fertilizer is needed. You can test your soil for $10 through Texas A&M AgriLife.
Wait to Water Until After Last Frost
Grasses are still dormant and do NOT need watering. We’ve had plenty of natural rainfall. Grass will begin to come out of hibernation and green up after the last frost. Until then, there is no need for watering, so keep those controllers in the off position.
Once green starts showing up in lawns, water less often than you would later in the Spring and Summer. When you do water in early Spring, it’s okay to do so for longer periods of time to allow the water to go deep into the soil and allowing roots to grow deeper. A deeper root system is a more cold hardy and drought tolerant plant.
Water in the morning as this allows the grass a chance to dry out during the day. Watering at night can cause lawn disease.
Use a moisture meters. These help determine if and when you need to apply water. Remember, sprinklers supplement the lack of rainfall. Not the other way around.