Frequently Asked Questions
Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for fescue lawns in RVA, so we receive many requests for spring lawn care tips from our clients and neighbors. Whether it concerns weed control, mowing, or flower bed maintenance, PPLM has the answers you need. Check out the following spring lawn care tips and let us know if you have a question that isn’t answered here.
When Should I Start Mowing My Grass?
For fescue lawns in Virginia, mowing should start and end based on the weather and turf growth patterns, not on a set schedule. When your lawn begins to look shaggy, it’s a good idea to go ahead and start cutting. Mowing too soon can be a waste of time, while mowing too late can result in clumps and a stressed lawn. Every lawn starts to grow on its own schedule, but most lawns need their first cut around late March or early April. Here are a few spring lawn care tips for starting your mowing season:
- Make sure your mower blades have been freshly sharpened- dull blades are bad for grass, especially when it’s coming out of dormancy.
- Don’t mow within 24-48 hours of spring weed control applications- this can make your grass more sensitive to the treatment.
- Don’t bag your grass clippings unless there’s a risk of leaving clumps- mulching your clippings is good for the lawn.
- Walk your property prior to mowing to assess soil saturation- spring sees a lot of rain, so try to avoid rutting the lawn when cutting the grass.
How Soon Do I Need to Start Watering?
This is another decision that depends on the weather and can change year to year, but watering in Virginia usually starts around the beginning of May. That being said, the longer you can put off starting your irrigation, the better. First, it saves you some money, and second, it trains your lawn to be a bit more hardy and independent for the summer. Remember, too much water just as bad as not enough. If we have heavy spring rains, there is less need for running your irrigation. It’s wisest to monitor when the lawn begins to look significantly dry. A fescue lawn does best when it receives an inch and a half of water per week on top of standard rainfall.
I Didn’t Sign up for Lawn Treatments Until Now and Missed the First Application for the Year. Will That be a Problem?
This topic is key for spring lawn care tips. The first turf management application of the year is usually applied around March. It is comprised of carbon based fertilizer that helps improve the health and color of the lawn for spring. This treatment also includes post-emergent herbicides to kill off winter weeds as well as pre-emergent weed control to reduce the amount of weeds, namely crabgrass, that will break through in the summer. While missing out on this round of fertilizer isn’t a huge deal, the loss of weed control is very likely to impact the state of your lawn for the rest of the year. The second application, applied around April and May, will include pre- and post-emergent weed control as well, but this is only half of the total amount of product recommended for the spring. If you’ve missed the first round, there’s no need to stress, but you should be aware that there will be a higher incidence of weed growth for the growing season.
How Do I Keep Weeds from Growing in my Flower Beds?
Weed growth in flower beds can be a nightmare for many homeowners. As soon as you think you have the weeds cleared out and under control, twice as many seem to grow back. Spring is a great opportunity to reduce the future development of weeds with a granular pre-emergent treatment. If the area is a mulch bed, it is best to put this treatment down just before installing your fresh layer of spring mulch. While pre-emergent weed control in flower beds won’t eliminate the future growth of weeds, it will reduce how many break through, making the problem easier to control. This method of prevention is especially effective if it is kept up consistently for several seasons. Granular pre-emergent weed control for flower beds is available over the counter or can be applied by a licensed professional. If a homeowner is treating weeds with any kind of herbicide, they should be sure to always follow the label’s instructions.
Is it Too Late to Prune my Flowering Plants?
Most residential properties have flowering plants like crepe myrtles, roses, hydrangeas, etc. in their landscaping to add color and interest to the property. These plants are almost always best to prune during the winter when the are fully dormant because this is the longest period of time between blooms and is safest for the plant. Many homeowners and inexperienced professionals make the mistake of grouping in these types of plants with evergreen growth like boxwoods and hollies for large scale spring clean up and pruning services. Paying attention to spring lawn care tips may save you from making this mistake. The problem is that by March, most of these plants are beginning to bud, and pruning a flowering plant after it buds will eliminate or greatly reduce the number of blooms that spring and summer. If you have missed out on pruning these plants before March, it is ideal to hold off and wait until the following winter or, depending on the plant, until they have finished their blooming cycle in the summer.