snowmowHey Homeowner: if you neglect spring lawn care you could end up paying for it the rest of the year. However spring lawn care doesn’t entail nearly the amount of work that you’ll do throughout the summer months.

I’ve put together a few tips I’ve learned as a Sprinkler professional about lawn care which could help you manage a healthier lawn this season and possibly need to see me even less.  That would be a shame, in deed.

Raking will be your first task of spring lawn care.  Thatch control is what you are after by doing this.  You’ve got to remove the dead grass and crud that sits close to the roots.

Here is another good reason for a spring raking. Take a good look at the lawn and see if there are any matted patches, in which the grass blades are all stuck together. This can be caused by a disease known as “snow mold“. New grass may have difficulty penetrating these matted patches. But a light raking will be sufficient to solve this problem. Long grass can mat down, which encourages snow mold.

A good fertilizer containing slow-release nitrogen, along with adequate levels of potassium and phosphorus are needed for a healthy soil.  You may need to run a sample of  the soil to a testing place to visualize what the strategy should be.  You may need to aerate the soil to give the yard good surface drainage.

Help the snow melt by spreading the piles of snow that you shoveled from the driveway and sidewalk onto the lawn and removing it from shady areas where it won’t melt even on sunny days.  This keeps snow molds from developing as the ground thaws. A good time to topdress with compost is right after you aerate, all soils benefit from adding organic matter.

Crabgrass prevention is a very important spring lawn care chore. A dense and vigorous lawn will not allow weeds to invade.  Spring is the time to prevent crabgrass. If your lawn is dense and vigorous, you won’t need chemical weed controls, all you’ll need are  just normal fertilizers.  By all means, over seed the patchy areas – bald spots.

Here’s what can happen if you begin watering too early in the spring: I know, it’s tempting to start watering in early spring, but there is usually plenty of rain to keep your lawn healthy. Wait to water until the weather gets warm and dry.  When the grass begins to feel a bit of drought stress, this will actually cause the roots to grow deeper in search for water.  Waiting until the weather turns hot and dry encourages deep rooting and that will prepare your lawn for the dog days of summer.

Dave Ferdon

Owner/Operator Thornton Sprinklers

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Many of the sprinkler system manufactures are very proactive about water conservation. They have been spending a lot of money on research and development to meet the new demands for water conservation. Also many cities are promoting the use of these products by giving rebates on water conserving products. Some cities will come to your home and perform a sprinkler system audit at no cost to you. Check your cities water department website for information on rebates and water conservation east inflatables blog.

You can go to thorntonwater.com to see what Thornton is doing.

Smart controllers:

What a smart controller does is monitor the weather and adjust your clock automatically to the amount of water your lawn actually needs. A smart controller can be as simple as connecting a rain sensor to your controller or as elaborate as having your clock communicate with satellites. These new features can save 20% or more in some cases it may actually water more. Most of the sprinkler controller manufactures are developing smart controllers. Many of the controllers made in the last 10 years can now be to converted to a smart controller at a low cost.

Some systems will require a yearly fee for the satellite links. However many of them do not.

MP nozzles:

These nozzles are for pop up spray heads only and turns them into a rotating nozzle. An MP nozzle can save as much as 30% in the reduction of water use. Many cities have rebate programs as an incentive for converting your spray heads to these nozzles. Some of these nozzles will require you to increase watering times due to reduced water flow. Sometimes you will actually be able to reduce watering time due to less wind loss, less run off, and more even coverage. These nozzles are not meant to be miss-matched, in order for them to work properly each nozzle on the zone or station must be MP nozzles. If you have a zone that has brown spots in the grass due to a lack of pressure, these nozzles can sometimes correct the problem. Before installing these nozzles check the zone for a leak.

Toro nozzles:

From all of the classes I took this winter I found that TORO has really focused on water efficient nozzles for your pop up spray heads. They address all of the problems and you will actually be able to reduce the run time on these zones and still have green grass. These nozzles tend to be easily installed and are designed to fit all types of heads. TORO’s precision series rotating nozzle is gear driven and will rotate with pressure as low as 20 psi., while providing a low trajectory with large water drops so your water will not blow away with the wind. Converting your system with these products will tend to pay for themselves in one season if not sooner. The Precision series nozzle by Toro, does not rotate but delivers a 30% reduction in water usage just the same.

You can find more information at these manufacturer websites:
Hunter Industries.com

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