As the last hints of winter recede, spring lawn care is on the minds of many Americans. You can see how much people love their yards in the amount of money spent on outdoor furniture and grills. Annual US consumer sales of those items are projected to hit $9.1 billion by 2019.
How important are our yards and lawns to us in Florida? Look no further than our state nickname, the Sunshine State, adopted officially in 1970 to celebrate the statewide average of 230 sunny and partly sunny days. Actually, St. Petersburg gets a particularly strong amount of sun with 248 days of sunshine annually.
Since the local climate in Pinellas County is so incredible, and since spring is perhaps the most important season for lawn health, many people want landscape tips for the spring. Others are looking for direct help, such as spring cleanup lawn services. Here are our ideas for spring lawn care so your yard can look its best year-round:
Part of the reason spring is such a critical time of year is that the transpiration rate peaks. Transpiration, which is the act of moisture leaving a plant, rises when the weather is hot and dry (i.e., in the absence of rain). “Typically, we are in this period of time from now until about mid-June when the summer rain patterns start,” notes AtRidge owner Joel Atkinson. “As a result, irrigation must be at its optimum.”
Here are a few basics for effective irrigation:
- Be certain that you have proper coverage – that all areas of the lawn are getting water. (One simple tactic is to clean around the heads to ensure nothing is preventing them from distributing water properly.)
- Create zones by combining heads that have similar rates of distribution. This process, called hydro-zoning, essentially means that you should group “rotor heads with rotor heads and spray heads with spray heads,” says Atkinson. “Spray heads distribute water at approximately twice the rate as a rotor head.”
- Make sure that areas with different needs don’t share the same zone (i.e., since grass and plants have different water needs, they should be places in separate zones).
Spring lawn care is critical because the plants are currently growing. They are absorbing nutrients and using them. Additionally, plants are leveraging stored nutrients for a growth flush when the weather is at its best.
Right now is when plants and grass really need fertilizer.
That’s especially true for St. Petersburg residents because of a Pinellas County law that bans nitrogen use from June 1 through September 30. “[I]t is critical to get this food out now… and then at the very end of May so it can release itself during the blackout period,” explains Atkinson.
The winter has been warm this year, and most of the plants and trees seem to have already experienced their spring flush of growth. Because the plants’ stored nutrients have been used for that growth, it’s a season to be careful with pruning. “We can still do some pruning but nothing aggressive,” advises Atkinson. “Of course, with supplemental nutrients through fertilizer, we can be more aggressive.”
Is your yard susceptible to mole crickets, or have you had them previously? Right now is when you want to think about a pesticide application. “In order to be most responsible with pesticides while having an impact on mole crickets, we must apply during the first instar of their life cycle,” notes Joel. “That is now!” There is actually a secondary benefit to this mole-cricket pesticide application: it serves as a one-time yearly ant treatment that controls for them for about 12 months.
To summarize these landscaping tips for the spring, you want to check your irrigation, fertilize, prune carefully, and apply pest treatment if you’ve had an issue in the past. Do you want assistance with spring lawn care, in the form of spring cleanup lawn services or any other landscaping & irrigation needs? At AtRidge, we would love to have an opportunity to earn your business.
Check out our many different spring lawn care services.