Turf & Rec

Features Agronomy
Keys to strong spring startup

Three practices will set landscapers up for a strong season


May 8, 2019
By Craig Ransavage

Topics
Overseeding will help customers get a jump on summer turf renovation.

May 8, 2019 – While spring signifies endless opportunity for many, in the landscape business, many don’t know how to get up to full speed. Many turf managers and lawn care operators wait all winter for the spring green-up, but when it’s “game time,” what’s the best way to get out of the gate strong?

And if you already feel like you’re behind, how do you catch up? After all, spring is a time to kick start profitability, as well as get ahead of your competition.

Consider using these three turf care practices on your (or your customers’) properties to set yourself up for a successful season.

Dethatching
Dethatching removes layers of dead grass, roots and debris that can build up over the winter between the soil and the growing grass. This removal keeps the grass greener and healthier while minimizing the chance of disease.

Especially if you didn’t dethatch in the fall, spring is an ideal time to clear out the clutter and give the turf some room to work and grow. As far as timing goes, it’s best to dethatch when your turf has started to green up a little bit, so you don’t tear up dormant turf.

Aerating
Regardless of whether you have warm or cool season grasses in your area, spring aeration is beneficial to your turf. After harsh winters in the north or stress in the south, soil can get compacted, stunting root growth and not allowing nutrients to get down into the soil. Aerating your customers’ lawns loosens up the soil, letting the turf breath and get access to what it needs. That extra wiggle room lets air get into the soil, as well as fertilizer and water, and it provides more room for the roots to grow deeper and stronger.

As a business, aeration is an excellent way for you to set yourself apart from the competition and get more work during early spring. For different properties, there are different kinds of aerators, including walk-behind, tow-behind and stand-on models.

For best results for spring aeration, there are ideal times to aerate different grasses. For cool season grasses, the best time is between March and May, but you should wait a little longer for warm season grasses. Avoid aerating warm season grasses during spring green-up, and not until after they have undergone their first spring mowing.

Overseeding
While spring may not be the ideal time to overseed, you can still do it successfully, especially if your customers are looking to get a jump on summer turf renovation. If you do decide to overseed in the spring, be sure to coordinate your efforts with your fertilizer and herbicide programs. Concurrent application of seed and herbicides is generally not recommended because the herbicides may cause poor seedling establishment. It is best to delay herbicide treatment four to six weeks after new grass seed germinates. If you choose to overseed in the spring, be sure to follow proper seeding and treatment practices.

These services not only get your turf in mid-season form, they keep your business moving and set you apart from the competition. And healthy turf makes you look good, building a foundation for success for years to come.