Spring is here, and summer is getting close, but have you noticed that your grass is still brown? If you are one of the many homeowners in Hampton Roads with warm-weather grass that looks dead in the spring despite watering it regularly, don’t worry! You’re not alone, and your grass is perfectly fine. It just hasn’t woken up yet.
Timing is Everything:
Warm-season grass does not follow a calendar. Instead, it wakes up according to increasing soil temperatures. This type of grass doesn’t thrive until the soil around it warms up, usually in mid to late spring. If the weather has been unusually cold, your grass growth could slow down even more. A good way to determine how warm the ground is getting is by using a soil thermometer. Keep an eye on the forecast and wait for consistent readings of warm soil.
Patience is Key:
A common mistake homeowners make is jumping the gun and overseeding or adding fertilizers to their dormant winter lawns. This is a bad idea, and the results aren’t pretty. Warm season grasses will only grow when they’re ready, and no amount of overseeding will stimulate growth. Conversely, adding fertilizers early could damage your lawn if it’s not yet in the active growth stage. It is important to know what sod installation and maintenance is required before possibly damaging your lawn.
Gradual Increase in Watering:
You might think watering the lawn as much as possible in an effort to bring it back to life, but this approach is ineffective. As soon as the soil temperature rises enough for the grass to begin growing, you’ll want to water it gradually. A sudden increase in water could trigger new growth too quickly, which would harm the plant. And too little water, especially during the early stages of growth, could stunt the growth of the grass.
Good Mowing Practices:
When your lawn has finally begun to show signs of life, you may have to make some changes to your mowing practices. During this period, you’ll want to cut your grass to an appropriate length, usually 1 to 1½ inches. Be sure the blade of your mower is sharp and avoid cutting the grass too short, as this could derange the leaves and damage the plant. Again, patience is key with mowing and until your grass is actively growing, there might be less mowing required.
Prevention for Next Year:
If you want to avoid this tardiness in the future, start preparing early. Perform basic maintenance tasks like pruning and weed control, raking up dead leaves and other debris in the fall, and aerating the soil. These tasks will clear your lawn from potential obstructions that may give the grass a difficult start.
Though it’s a common phenomenon, a slow start for warm-season grass should not be an issue that stresses the homeowner. Gradual growth and the natural process of awakening is when the grass is at its healthiest state. So if both the soil moisture and temperature are consistent, wait with patience, and you, too, could expect to wake up one fine morning to a flourishing lawn. Remember, always practice good lawn care habits to help the grass be at its best – now and throughout the year.
Contact us at United Turf and we will come look at your lawn with you, and determine what sod installation and maintenance is best for you. Call us at 757-376-0799 or visit our Free Quote page to get started!