NDSU Extension - Burke County


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Spring Lawn and Garden Care

County Agent News
Dan Folske
April 1, 2019

Spring Lawn and Garden Care

            The snow is mostly gone and yards are drying up. Everyone will soon be anxious to get their yard looking better than the neighbors’ does! 

What should I do first?  Getting trash and leaves picked up is good way to start. Any flower beds or other areas where leaves accumulated and then compacted from snow need to be raked and cleaned up so they can dry out. Compacted leaves are not a good mulch. They compact tightly and do not allow air and water movement. Don’t be in a hurry to dethatch your lawn and or fertilize. Healthy lawns seldom need dethatching and dethatching usually just damages the crowns of the desirable grass plants and opens the soil for weed germination. If your lawn is severely compacted from large snow banks or driving and parking on it you may want to consider renting a plug type aerator.

Do you want your lawn to green up a day or two earlier so you can mow more often? Then consider fertilizing right as soon as possible but if you want your lawn to be healthier and better able to withstand some summer drought periods wait until memorial day to fertilize. By then the grasses will be ready to put that fertilizer into healthier roots instead of just top growth.

Are you ready to get serious about your dandelions? If you really want to control them instead of just making them mad or making them hide for a few days, then don’t get out the sprayer! Instead get out a pen and calendar or put a reminder in your phone app to spray them in September when the herbicide will translocate into their roots.

If you are planning on some new trees or shrubs this spring you may want to prepare your ground and get them ordered if you have not yet done that. Watching for bud break in similar trees and shrubs is a good guide for when to plant new ones. Keep new shrubs and trees in a dark cool location prior to transplanting so they don’t break dormancy too soon.

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