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Spring Lawn Greening Up
Spring Lawn Greening Up

Lawn care technicians will be on your lawns soon.

Finally took a photo of a small clump of grass that I noticed while emptying our kitchen compost container into the garden compost bin.

Just beside the bin, I noticed a single clump of grass that was so green. We have had a few days when the thermometer hit 15 degrees Celsius. Not normal temperatures for February here in Hamilton, Ontario. This turf plant was just at the edge of our vegetable garden. So it is in a very sunny spot, and the dark soil nearby will warm up quicker than the soil that is insulated by a cover of grass plants.

Today, there were a few snowflakes - as the temperature has dropped to -5. But the grass plant doesn't mind a little snow or cool temperatures.

In the spring, lawns turn green as the soil warms up.

In the summer we continually admonish everyone to mow their lawns at a 3 inch mowing height. (During warm weather- a higher mowing height means the grass blade are longer and provide more shade to the soil. This keeps the soil temperatures lower and reduces moisture loss.)

In the spring, however, your lawn will shed its winter colour and turn green faster if the soil is warmer. It will turn green as the sap starts to flow but the signal to start the sap flowing is dependent on soil temperature.  

What can you do to get your lawn to green up faster and shed the winter "blah" of brown and yellow?

If you had mowed the grass shorter at the last fall cut, you may have already done the first step. If the grass blades are shorter going through the winter, you will reduce some winter lawn diseases. And you will have less insulation in the spring- thus allowing the soil to warm up a bit faster.

So if you did not cut the lawn shorter last fall- as soon as you are able to mow- set the mower to about 2" instead of 3" and give the lawn a quick haircut. This removes some of the grass that is shading the soil. As the soil warms, the grass will turn green.

You can also give the lawn a good raking. Here instead of just removing the height of the grass blades, the raking will remove some of the dead grass blades (and maybe some of the green ones too.) This will thin the density and again allow the soil to warm quicker.

The raking will also stimulate some growth. It's like pruning a shrub. Pruning will stimulate the plant to produce side shoots and to thicken up. 

Of course- there will be folks who wonder if the raking is a necessity or not.

I always say when asked- "the benefits of raking include fresh air, exercise and maybe even some sunshine." See this article "Do I need to rake my lawn in the spring?"

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