What will our lawns look like this year?
Spring is coming!
It’s right around the corner, or so I’m told. Just around the corner … in the neighborhood … over the horizon …
It has to come this year, right?!? Eventually …?
Now assuming Spring does get here, you should be prepared for a few things you haven’t seen or felt in the last 6 months or so … Like the warmth of the sun, fresh air that doesn’t cause freezer burn, and green stuff growing all over the place.
I still expect these things to happen, recent weather aside. So we must be lawn-prepared for when – if – Winter decides to head towards the southern hemisphere as it usually does this time every year.
Pay attention to your Lawn and Garden equipment
Now’s a good time to drag the lawn mower out from behind the snow blower, shovels, sleds, winter storm clothing, generator, your snow shoes and the Snowcat. I wouldn’t dream of putting the Winter gear into storage just yet; but let’s be overly optimistic and assume at some point we may need a functioning lawn mower.
If you use your mower a lot (i.e. You are not a godless purveyor of lawn cutting contractors.) and value its reliability, get your machine into a reputable repair shop (or DIY it) for a tune-up and service. Regular maintenance for your mower should extend its usable life.
In my case, I will be looking for a new mower this Spring, having gotten somewhere between 7-9 seasons out of my current Toro! No doubt it could last another year or two if the power drive hadn’t started balking last year, making it more difficult to handle during lawn cutting. I cannot see the point in replacing the powerdrive on a seven year-old mower. So a new machine it will be!
Just don’t mention it to the spousal unit yet. Such a plan must be carefully prepped and sold like Obamacare. (OK … That was a painfully poor analogy …)
Make sure you also check and test grass trimmers, edgers, leaf blowers, etc. for possible maintenance issues.
What’s your Lawn Plan, Kenneth?
You should have a treatment plan in mind for your lawn each season to address known weaknesses, damage, or simply to build on efforts from the previous year. In my case, I have all three.
After a particularly bad September, where I discovered some nasty grub damage and had a disastrous encounter with a large man-eating spider, I have several areas of lawn damage to repair. I caught the grub damage early enough to make significant recovery before the seasons changed from Fall to UnEarthly Cold & Stormy Winter. On the other hand, the damage caused by the carnivorous web spinner was akin to an EPA Superfund site, requiring months and months just to disperse the chemical fallout.
One good thing about all that snow!
A good snow cover slowly soaks the soil as it melts dragging that winter feeding you applied (You did this, right? Right?!?) down to the roots where it is stored for the onset of WhereTheHeckIs Spring! In addition the snow pack will also protect the grass plants from drying out in the extreme cold and wind of NeverEnding Winter.
Long story short, I’ll be spending a lot of time nursing a man-hole cover-sized spot right in front of the house that is currently deader than Francisco Franco!
A smaller issue was minor construction on one side of the house requiring some decent grading and grass seeding. The construction resulted from the installation of an egress system for the basement, into which my father-in-law moved over the EndlessDeath Winter.
Maybe one of these for me …
Unfortunately the escape hatch wasn’t for my use. I must rely on the time-tested method of tied-together sheets tossed out the bedroom window. But I digress …
In short, I have more repair work to perform on Cranky Man’s lawn (the REAL lawn, not the blog) than in any other recent year. But the best time to address problem areas is certainly the Spring growing season. Given the normally expected level of sun, rain, and decent weather, you have to be damned with a Black Thumb if unable to make grass grow.
The key is being prepared and acting early enough in the season to wring every drop of growth from your lawn before the heat and humidity (mid-Atlantic climate here, remember) starts to retard lawn growth. The problem is not knowing when that heat and humidity will appear in sufficient strength to make growing anything a challenge.
The secret? Start E-A-R-L-Y!
If you wait until May it could be too late, unless we have a late Spring like last year. Don’t bet on that if you’re serious about making progress.
Early-to-mid April is the time to start, weather permitting. And the only weather that should stop you is a lot of rain.
Lazy lawn bioterrorist
Part Two of my plan for 2014 is the continuance of my bio-warfare campaign against the grubs. Seems I got cocky and ended up with a nasty surprise. So I decided to go all milky spore on the little bastards!
This year I want to buy the milky spore some time to develop and multiply. The spore has to be ingested by the grub, which it then devours from within and explodes with millions of additional spores that spread across the area.
Yeah, that might be too much information. Hope you’re not a grub reading this. Scary stuff … if you’re a grub …
So I’ll buy time this year by applying an anti-grub treatment in early July (along with my other routine fertilization) even though in theory the application of the milky spore should render such applications unnecessary. Since I applied the spore powder to the front yard only, I will consider the merits of sporing up the back yard as well.
So that’s my plan. What’s yours?