Finally, it’s springtime! Time to shed the jackets, dig out the flip-flops and get ready to bask in the sun.
And this is the perfect time to spruce up your yard and outdoor living area. With the record rainfall in the Frisco area in February, you can bet those weeds are just raring to go. So, grab a few supplies and this checklist to get your yard in tip-top shape for the start of spring.
Easy-peasy checklist for a beautiful spring lawn
1. Clean away debris
First up is a little tidying up. Grab a lawn bag and rake up dead leaves, twigs and fallen branches if you haven’t already. Left on your lawn, these items can smother your lawn and prevent sunlight from getting to your yard causing brown patches. Debris can also be a haven for insects.
2. Level & aerate
Aerating your lawn helps loosen compacted soil and allows your lawn receive water and nutrients more efficiently. Aerating improves the strength and thickness of turf for a lush, healthy lawn all year long. For larger lawns, consider hiring a lawn-care service or renting a motorized aerator. For smaller lawns, simple ‘foot-powered’ aerator tools or strap-on spike shoes work just fine.
Leave the soil plugs in place after aerating as these decompose and are great
If you have digs or uneven spots on your lawn, now’s the time to even it up. Do this by shoveling soil from higher areas to cut-out areas or grab some nutrient-rich gardening soil from your local Home Depot or Lowes to fill in low spots.
3. Test the soil
To ensure your soil is ready to produce healthy, colorful grasses and vegetation, have your soil tested every 2-3 years for acid and nutrient levels. This test will also inform your decision about which fertilizer to use to ensure a healthy, vibrant lawn.
Early March to April is a good time to prune shrubs, bushes and some trees.
In March while it is still a little cooler, tackle evergreens and summer flowering trees/shrubs first and prune away dead/damaged branches. Then, move onto the spring-flowering shrubs and trees soon after they finish blooming.
Note: do not prune Live Oak or Red Oak trees after February in Texas as this can cause Oak Wilt fungus spores to spread. Deciduous trees are best pruned during winter.
Cut back and divide perennials if needed. Flowering perennials can be pruned to 4-5 inches and ornamental grasses to 2-3 inches. Thin crowded beds as needed to allow for new growth and let in sunlight.
5. Prep beds
The last freeze in Texas is usually mid-March, so you are probably safe to remove existing mulch and dead annuals without fear of another hard freeze. Remove weeds, debris and any plants that may need to be relocated or replaced.
Next, till the soil in the beds to loosen and spread a pelletized fertilizer that is appropriate for your specific bedding plants. Top off with a light layer of rich potting soil if needed for extra nutrients.
In Texas, warm-season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Fescue, and Buffalograss start to grow and green-up by late March. This is usually a good time for the lawn’s first “haircut” of the season.
Adjust your blade height to your desired level. Mowing before any visible green growth or ‘scalping’ may result in a naked yard in the beginning, but it does allow for sunlight to warm the soil and usually results in earlier green-up.
If you mow your own lawn, be sure to sharpen your lawn mower blades at the beginning of each season. Dull blades can damage your grass and make uneven cuts that are unsightly.
7. Weed Control
To attack weeds before they take over your lawn, apply broadleaf weed killers and pre-emergent herbicides early in the season. The exact formula or brand should be tailored to your grass and lawn needs but can help knock out those pesky clover, dandelions, chickweed, thistle and crabgrass weeds.
Early to mid-March is a great time for the first treatment, followed up with a booster application about 60-90 days later as needed.
Now that you’ve cleaned debris, prepped your beds and readied your lawn for growth—it’s time to plant. In Texas, there’s still time to plant seeds of your favorite annuals in pots or beds. For bedding plants and shrubs, look for specials or sales at your local gardening shop. The plants currently in stock at your local stores are selected for the growing season and climate in your area.
If you have specific critter issues such as rabbits (don’t we all?), ask your gardening center about plants that aren’t so tasty to rabbits to prevent your beautiful beds from being eaten up days after you plant. Petunias are beautiful but might be better in hanging baskets or higher pots that are more difficult for bunnies to reach. Or, use Deer Away (works great in my yard and is available at Lowe’s and other garden centers) or other like products to keep the bunnies from feasting on your flowers.
One of the most important factors to a beautiful lawn is proper hydration. In Frisco, watering and mowing usually begin in early to mid-March. Be careful not to over water and check your neighborhood’s water restrictions for the right day of the week.
Frisco is still under water restrictions with watering allowed using sprinkler systems 1x per week on your residential trash pick-up day between the hours of 10 am – 6 pm. Check your water schedule here.
The City of Frisco all provides a free sprinkler system check-up. Get more information.
Although it may be tempting to use ‘weed-and-feed’ products, Neil Sperry recommends against it. He says that while both are important, the timing of need doesn’t match up. Most warm-season grasses such as Bermuda or St. Augustine may be sprouting now but vigorous new growth is still months away. Sperry recommends waiting to fertilize until April for these grasses but fertilizing for Fescue is ok in March.
A soil test can help you decide what nutrients your lawn may need. Make sure you use a fertilizer matched to your lawn needs and be careful of using weed products that may harm trees, shrubs, or grass.
And now, it’s time to sit back, have a glass of lemonade (spiked or not), and enjoy your beautiful lawn and landscaping. For more information on lawn care and landscaping service providers, give us a call for our free Service Provider Directory.
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About the Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine twelve times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly. Judi is also a Company-Wide Top performer with Ebby Halliday and the #2 Top Group for Ebby Halliday Frisco.