Albuquerque Spring Lawn Strategies

Albuquerque Spring Lawn Strategies

Albuquerque’s fickle spring weather poses challenges for homeowners wanting to revive and maintain a thriving lawn. Mild one week, frigid and windy the next—how’s a lawn supposed to thrive?

Follow our blueprint below to get your Albuquerque lawn looking freshly manicured and green again.

1. Tune Up Your Lawn Mower

Before mowing season commences, your mower needs a checkup so it’s primed and ready to churn through grass instead of sputtering to a halt.

This involves more than just sharpening the blades, although inspect them and replace any that are heavily nicked or worn down.

You’ll also need to:

  • Change oil and the oil filter
  • Swap out the air filter
  • Replace the spark plug
  • Check and inflate tires if needed
  • Tighten any loose bolts or parts
  • Fill the gas tank

With fresh fluids and sharp blades, you’ll have an easy time managing your lawn’s growth. Don’t procrastinate on this first step.

2. Remove Debris with Thorough Raking

Give your lawn a good raking to remove fallen leaves, sticks, and other debris before mowing season starts. Raking accomplishes two things:

  1. It clears away decaying matter that could smother grass.
  2. It eliminates places where pests like to hide and breed.

Always rake when the ground is dry so you don’t risk pulling up healthy grass along with everything else. Be meticulous in your raking—try to remove all visible debris scattering the lawn.

3. Rip Out Thatch for Healthier Grass

Does your lawn have a spongy layer of dead grass and debris resting on the soil? That “thatch” needs removing if thicker than 0.5 inches.

Why? Too much thatch prevents water, air, and nutrients from reaching the living grass’s roots. It also harbors disease and pests.

Use a dethatching rake to rip up excess thatch and restore proper growing conditions. For cool season grasses, now’s the perfect time to dethatch.

4. Aerate Compacted Soil

Compacted, dense soil keeps oxygen and moisture from reaching grass roots. Heavy foot traffic can cause compaction over time.

The fix? Punch holes throughout the soil with an aerator machine so water and nutrients can spread better. Ideal timing is fall but spring works too.

Aerators use spikes to poke holes, or remove plugs completely. Leaving plugs on the lawn adds nutrients as they decompose. Just don’t aerate on soggy ground.

5. Test Soil pH And Adjust as Needed

Proper pH balance is key for healthy grass. Most varieties grow best when soil pH falls between 6.0-7.0.

If you see moss in your lawn, that’s a red flag the ground is too acidic and needs amending with lime. Use a home test kit to check pH before treating anything.

Add pelletized lime with a spreader to neutralize excess acidity if your soil test confirms it. Don’t overdo the lime or you’ll swing the pH too far the other way.

6. Mow High to Encourage Deep Rooting

When mowing season arrives, set your mower high and never cut more than one-third of the total blade length. Keeping lawns too short stresses the plants out.

Instead of giving in to the urge to buzz your lawn short, allow grass to grow 3-4 inches tall before mowing. Taller grass means deeper roots, which helps it better handle drought, weeds and pests. Let your lawn grow up a little!

7. Overseed to Fill In Patchy Areas

Does your lawn look ragged and patchy after surviving the winter? Overseeding can help fill in bare or thinning areas.

This involves spreading grass seed over your existing lawn to infill gaps. Use blends made for your grass type – cool season or warm season. The seed mixes also contain starter fertilizer.

Use a hand spreader to evenly distribute seed over patchy areas. Just know pre-emergent herbicides prevent germination, so skip those if overseeding.

8. Apply Pre-Emergent and Post-Emergent Herbicides

As soon as the first weeds emerge, it’s time to act before they spread. Knock them out with a combination approach:

Pre-emergent herbicides create a barrier to stop new weeds from sprouting up. But they don’t impact existing weeds.

Post-emergent herbicides target weeds already visible and growing in your lawn, wiping them out directly.

These used together provide thorough protection against weeds. But don’t use pre-emergents if overseeding, since they prevent grass seed from germinating too.

9. Fertilize Lawns With A Slow-Release Nitrogen Product

Spring fertilizing fuels strong lawn growth to keep it looking vibrant once summer sets in. Skip this step if you recently applied weed control though.

Look for slow-release nitrogen fertilizers that nourish grass steadily over many weeks or months. Quick-release types can burn grass with overexposure.

Always choose products ideal for your grass species and be mindful of the NPK ratios they contain. Nitrogen aids growth, phosphorus supports roots, and potassium enhances flowering.

Let your soil test guide you, but typically a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer benefits lawns in the spring. Spread evenly according to package directions for luscious results.

10. Eliminate Lawn-Damaging Grubs

Finally, inspect your lawn for signs of grubs – those pesky beetle larvae that feed on grass roots.

Left alone, they’ll devour roots and leave unsightly brown dead patches come summer. You have a few options for grub control:

  • Insecticides: Traditional chemical products that poison grubs dwelling in your lawn. Quick and effective.
  • Milky Spore: This organic powder contains deadly bacteria that kill grubs from the inside out when ingested. A natural alternative.
  • Nematodes: Beneficial microscopic worms that seek out and kill grubs. A non-toxic biological pest control.
  • Neem Oil: Organic pesticide spray that repels grubs, and stops beetles from laying eggs in your lawn.

Apply a grub killer over damage areas or as a preventive measure. With grubs taken care of, your spring lawn prep is complete!

Final Thoughts

There you have it – a simple 10-step game plan to whip that wimpy winter lawn back into prime condition. No need to stress. Just tackle one task each weekend and you’ll start seeing green in no time.

We hope this blog post helps you revitalize lawns each spring in Albuquerque.