Now that we have had some warmer temperatures the past few weeks, our lawns have come alive and taken off. Some homeowners may have already mowed their lawns once or twice. Before the first mowing it is always a good practice to sharpen our lawnmower blades or even replace them if need be. If you have already mowed take a look at the grass blades, if they are frayed that is a good indication that the lawnmower blades are dull.
When mowing it is best to set the blade at higher height at least 2.5 inches tall or even taller if you can stand it as it promotes a deeper root system. Don’t bag clippings as it conserves moisture and will give back nutrients to the soil, unless you have a thatch problem. If you let your lawn get neglected and really tall then that is another situation where you should bag the clippings so you don’t end up with a thatch problem.
With the heavy rains last fall, lawns may not have hardened off properly weakening the grass, especially in low spots. Weaker lawns may experience dead spots, again most likely in low spots. If you have dead spots in lawn, now is a good time to rake the dead grass out and reseed those spots.
Though we had plenty of rain last year, most areas could use a good shower now. Lawns require 1 inch of water per week if Mother Nature hasn’t provided it for us. It is best to irrigate once a week with a deep, thorough watering. If you are unsure of how much water the lawn is getting from a sprinkler system, set out some short, flat bottom containers (tuna cans work well) to see how much water it collects. Adjust the length of time you are watering if need be. Optimal time for irrigating is mid-morning to minimize evaporation loss and prevent the spread of possible disease.
Kelsey Deckert is the Morton County Extension agent for horticulture.
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