Tips for Spring Green Up

Most grasses turn off color in the winter months here in the Mid-Atlantic.  Zoysia and Bermuda turn completely straw brown in late October, while DuraBlend Tall Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass will only brown slightly starting in December.
Everyone wants their lawn to look super green as soon as possible each Spring (preferably before your neighbors' lawns).  Here are some tips to encourage green up each year:
  1.  Mow the grass very short.  Its important to wait until temperatures warm up a little from winter.  The best time to do this is late March or early April in the Maryland area.  Mow Tall Fescue and Kentucky bluegrass down to about an inch and a half.  Zoysia and Bermuda can be mowed as low as one inch in late April.  This will do 2 things:  it trims off the yellow dormant grass blade leaving the new green growth exposed, and also allows more sunlight to reach the soil.  Soil temperature is a major driver for green up and new growth.
  2.   Fertilize your lawn.  Wait until the grass has naturally started to green up (late March or Early April for cool season grasses, and late April for Zoysia and Bermuda). Fertilizer provides much needed nutrients that encourage healthy growth.
  3.   Be patient.  Grass turns dormant each year to protect itself from cold winters and reduce its energy use when photosynthesis is happening at a reduced rate. 
 Dormant and Green Tall Fescue Sod
On left is partially dormant DuraBlend Tall Fescue in February. The picture on right was taken late March after mowing short and fertilizing.
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