With spring arriving and summer on the way, gardeners should assess their lawns. The correct lawn preparation ensures your grass grows properly this season. While watering strategies are critical to lawn health, it’s critical to fertilize and dethatch your lawn to ensure optimal growth.

Beyond Watering: When to Fertilize and Dethatch Your Lawn

When to Fertilize New lawns

When starting a new lawn from plugs, sod, or seed, you’ll need a fertilizer high in phosphorus. For the best results with new growth, apply 15 grams of phosphate fertilizer per square foot of lawn and 10 grams per square foot of 3:1:5 or 5:1:5 fertilizer. New lawns benefit most from adding phosphorous to grow deep, strong grass root systems.

When to Fertilize Established lawns

Choose a fertilizer plan for your lawn that keeps it looking great year-round. Most gardeners can fertilize in the early spring and again in the late fall if required. In many cases, especially if you live in areas with high rainfall, you might not need the second round of fertilizer later in the year.

Fertilize in late February or March when temperatures are warm, and weeds begin to germinate. This allows you to fertilize your lawn before its peak growing phase. Between April and May, the lawn is actively growing, and when the summer months end in August to late September, giving the grass a boost helps carry it through the inter.

As a rule of thumb, give your lawn six to eight weeks between fertilizing and the first expected frost date. Use a high-potassium fertilizer during this season to improve turf wear tolerance and resistance against the colder winter months.

What Is Thatch And Can It Hurt My Lawn?

Thatch refers to the layer of organic matter that accumulates on a lawn around the grass. A thick layer of thatch can prevent air, water, and nutrients from reaching the soil, and block sunlight from grass blades.

If your thatch layer reaches an inch thick, remove the thatch. Prevent thatch build-up by using the correct fertilizer, raking dead grass and leaves, and avoiding overwatering.

Thatch builds up over time, however some grass types don’t require annual dethatching to keep the lawn looking great. Some cool-season grasses, like Creeping Bentgrass and Kentucky Bluegrass, require annual dethatching. Warm-season species like Bermuda and Zoysia also benefit from yearly dethatching.

When Is the Best Time of Year to Dethatch the Lawn?

The right time to dethatch the lawn depends on the type of grass. Dethatch cool-season lawns in the early fall or spring. For warm-season grasses, dethatch during the late spring to early summer. All grass species will respond best to dethatching when the soil is moist, and the grass is growing actively, allowing it to recover fast.

While there’s a preferable time for dethatching the lawn, there’s also a time when you should avoid it. Dethatching at suboptimal times of the year can damage the grass. Avoid dethatching the lawn when it’s stressed or dormant.

Follow these Lawn Dethatching Tips

Here are a few guidelines for optimal lawn dethatching:

  • The size of the lawn determines the right tools for the project.
  • Water your lawn at least 24 hours before dethatching.
  • Mow to half the normal height before dethatching.
  • Prevent damage to the sprinkler heads by flagging them beforehand.
  • Dethatch at a 90-degree angle in two different directions.
  • Reseed the lawn if the dethatching process results in bare spots.
  • Water after dethatching assists with the recovery of the grass.
  • Aerate the lawn during the growing season to prevent the accumulation of thatch.
  • Use a convex rake when dethatching.

Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers | Sprinkler System Repairs and Maintenance Omaha, NE

Contact Pioneer Underground Lawn Sprinklers to schedule a free estimate on a system install or to find out what you can do to make your existing system more efficient. We welcome commercial and residential clients. And remember, whether you need our services now… or later in the season, Your Healthy Lawn is Our Passion and we are only a phone call away! Call 402-934-7900 to schedule your service.