When to start–and how to mow the lawn in spring

For some reason, you guys get super concerned about mowing the lawn in the spring. I get emails all the time asking me when to start mowing, should you mulch or catch the first cut and whether to mow tall or short for the first time in the spring.

Don’t get me wrong, I am super happy that you care so much. This article will answer those questions so you can mow with a clear head and an untroubled soul.

  1. When shoud I start mowing in spring? The key here is to make sure the ground is no longer frozen. We don’t want to be walking on frozen turf, because that will crush the crowns and cause dead spots. In addition, frozen turf is not actively growing, and cutting it can cause damage to the shoots. I usually tell folks that when the magnolia trees begin to bloom, that is a good sign that it is also time to start cutting.
  2. Should I mulch or catch on the first cut? Judging by the way my lawn looks right now, I’d say it’s a good idea to go ahead and catch the clippings and debris on the first cut this season. I have leaves, sticks and other junk laying all over the place, and I’d rather just get that sucked up and discarded at this point. I can bet this is a good idea for you as well.
  3. Should I mow tall or short? For this first cut of the season, I actually recommend you mow at around two inches. That is quite a bit shorter than the normal three-to-three-and-a-half I recommend as the norm. Again, this is to get things stimulated for the season.

I hope you guys feel better now. I sure do! Are you ready for the lawn care season?

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How to repair your lawn from salt damage

It has been a long winter. In fact, it still isn’t over because I just got 3 inches dumped on my lawn yesterday! What that means is that more salt has had to be dumped on roads than I have seen in many years. More salt on the roads means more salt pushed into your lawn leading to damage in the spring.

You’ll notice the damage sometime in early April when your lawn starts to green up from the heat and rain of the spring. The areas that have been hit hard just won’t change. I mostly see this type of damage occuring in parkways (the areas between the street and sidewalk) and around the edges of driveways (if you used salt after you shoveled).

The reasons these areas have been “browned out” is because the salt has thrown the pH of the soil off to the point that the root system of the grass has been literally stopped. The good news is, if the crown of the grass plants still has some life in it and you act quickly enough, these areas will recover.

Repairing salt damage to your lawn

The first thing you should do is heavily aerate the areas that are affected. It’s a good idea to aerate the lawn in the spring anyway, but you should double pass aerate the areas we are concerned with here.

Next, apply a top dressing of Ringer Lawn Restore fertilizer. This organic lawn fertilizer will fall down into the holes from the aeration and start the microbial action we want down in the root zone.

The final step is to keep an eye on the area and watch for flattened turf areas that do not recover. These need to be lightly raked out to make room for the parts of the grass that are recovering to spread out more.

It sounds complicated, but this is the simplest and most effective way to repair lawn salt damage in the spring.

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