NDSU Extension Service - Stark & Billings County

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Spring Lawn Care Tips

When buying a lawn fertilizer, look carefully to see how much slow-release nitrogen is in it. Cheaper, fast-release fertilizers (urea and ammonium nitrate) give us a sense of pride when we see the grass quickly green up and start aggressively growing in spring. But this aggressive growth only means that you have to mow more often. A quick spurt of grass growth provides minimal long-term benefit to the lawn. Slow-release fertilizers will gradually feed the lawn and support good healthy growth. If you fertilized in fall, we generally recommend the next fertilizer treatment to be done around Memorial Day.

Weed-and-feed fertilizers that kill dandelions and other broadleaf weeds should not be applied this early in the season. These chemicals must be absorbed by the weed leaves when the weeds are actively growing.

Crabgrass preventers should be applied before the crabgrass germinates. The first blooms of forsythia are a good sign it is time to put down crabgrass preventer on the lawn, if needed. This often occurs toward the end of April. Keep in mind the most common crabgrass preventer (pendimethalin) will prevent all grass seeds from emerging, so do not sow lawn grass seed this spring if you use pendimethalin. Read the directions on the label carefully.

Spring is a good time to pull out dandelions. Their roots are smaller this time of year. Their roots will get much longer and sturdier later this summer.

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