Spring is well on its way – the month of May seems to belong as much to summer as it does to spring. With temperatures rising, your yard is ready for some preemptive care before the real heat of summer arrives. Not sure what May lawn care tips you should follow to ensure a healthy, green lawn throughout the dog days of summer? Here’s what Louisiana homeowners should know.
Contrary to what happens in other areas, Louisiana homeowners should NOT apply fertilizer during the early weeks of spring. That’s because the grasses that grow here are warm-season, permanent grasses, and they need warm soil conditions before they’ll start growing again. Applying fertilizer before the soil hits 65+ degrees at a depth of 2 inches for several days in a row (a full week would be best). In other words, don’t apply fertilizer until you see your lawn start greening up on its own.
Once you see your lawn starting to perk up, test the soil to determine exactly what mixture needs to be applied. If you don’t test the soil, use a general turf-builder, but leave out the lime. This type of mix includes a high level of nitrogen, medium potassium levels and low levels of phosphorus.
You’ll likely make your first cut in April (or even earlier depending on the type of grass you have growing and other environmental factors that can vary from year to year). Mow your grass when it starts looking “shaggy” but make sure you don’t remove more than one-third of its height. You should set your mowing height based on the type of grass you have in your yard. For instance, centipede will do best with a height of about one to two inches, while St. Augustine grass does better up to about three and a half inches in height.
May sees a considerable amount of rain for most of Louisiana (one of the triggers for those Mother’s Day termite swarms that plague us). That means you probably don’t need any additional watering. Hold off on watering as long as possible, as overwatering will actually do more harm than if your grass gets a little less water than is ideal. Overwatering makes your grass more susceptible to diseases, and it also encourages mold and mildew growth throughout your yard. Overwatering also discourages root growth, leaving you with a shallow root system that makes your grass more susceptible to drying out and dying when hotter, drier weather hits.
May is the time to engage in a little preemptive weed control. It’s still early enough in the year that the grass hasn’t caught up with the growth of early weeds, and other weeds haven’t started sprouting just yet. Applying a weed-specific herbicide now can have yearlong effects on your yard and will have less of an impact on your grass than waiting until warmer months. If possible, you should actually begin your weed combat in April, and carry through the end of May. The heat of July and the rest of the summer is just too much for most weed control options to work effectively.
Call the Pros
Whether you’re struggling with grass that just won’t grow no matter what you do, mold and moss growth, mildew or some other problem, Fischer Environmental is here to help. We can handle any of your May lawn care needs , as well as taking care of your yard throughout the rest of the year. Call us today at 800-391-2565 for a free consultation on your yard maintenance needs.
Filed in: Lawn Care