In Ohio the last snow may appear as late as the early weeks of April. Still, a property owner may notice in February a single day earth thaws and makes it pliable. Gardeners look to this day as a reminder it is time to get lawns ready. Professional landscapers know a single day with a thaw is an ideal opportunity to begin the preliminary steps of lawn care. This assumes proper steps were taken in autumn “before” the first freeze occurred.
The Snow Melts – What Next?
Once lawns remain thawed in an Ohio spring, it is time to begin the work of preparing soil. For some property owners, this may require soil testing to understand the degree of compromise the winter had on soil pH and soil nutrients.
If the lawn was properly “winterized” in autumn, this may not be necessary. However, it is a good idea to know where the soil composition is most compromised in order to know which fertilizers may be added.
A properly prepared lawn may need only a light dusting of lime to start the season. Note that when lime is added, it is important to allow the soil to fully “ingest” lime components deeply into the earth below the grass line. This may take several days or a week.
Ohio, like many states in the region, find spring often brings a rainy season. Too much moisture can cause grass roots to rot or die. To avoid this problem, make sure the lawn has proper drainage. If yellow spots begin to appear in the lawn, this is a sign roots are receiving too much moisture. Alleviate this problem by adding a small patch of potting soil to drink up some of the moisture temporarily until the rainy season ends.
The Real Lawn “Work” Begins
Once the rainy season ends and weather is relatively stable, the real work of lawn care begins. Over winter, bits of dried leaves and twigs may become desiccated into the soil.
This debris chokes off oxygen to grass roots. Begin lawn care with a thorough raking to remove debris. Discuss with a local Ohio garden shop the best type of lawn fertilizer for your particular Ohio region. It is a good idea to become familiar with the various types of components in lawn fertilizer. For example, too much nitrogen in some fertilizers for some Ohio lawns can be as bad for the lawn as too little.
The other issue is to know the actual type of grass or grasses your lawn contains. In many areas of Ohio, lawns are composed of two or more types of grasses that create the ideal lawn structure for durability and endurance in specific regional weather patterns.
Post Fertilizer Lawn Care
Spring and fall are ideal times to add lawn fertilizer. This is because grass roots tend to slow their growth and absorb lawn fertilizers over a longer period. In spring, after a thorough raking and fertilizing, grass should have at least one inch of growth before the first time it is mowed. For those who prefer mulching mowers, lawns should still be inspected to prevent mulch buildup. In any case, lawns should be raked at least twice during the growing season to keep it healthy and vibrant.