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Contact: Cassie Carver , (651) 633-4987

Lawn Work is the First Task of Spring

The beginning of spring means warmer weather and a greater opportunity to refresh your lawn and garden. The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association offers the following advice for maintaining a healthy lawn and garden.

If you didn't rake your lawn last fall, wait until the lawn is dry this spring. If you kneel on the lawn and your knees get damp, it is still too wet to be raking.

If you applied fertilizer last fall, you can make your first application this spring. For best control of crabgrass, wait until the soil temperature is about 50 degrees. You can check soil temperature two ways: use a soil thermometer, or watch for the appearance of flower buds on lilacs. Once the buds appear, the soil is ready for fertilizer.

Be careful with product selection for crabgrass prevention. Some chemicals can also prevent desirable grass seed from growing. Consult the professionals at your local garden center about products that are safe to use. If you have spot-seeded your lawn, you can cover those areas with a pail or tarp and still apply chemicals to other parts of the lawn.

Three or four fertilizer applications per year are sufficient for most lawns. The first application should occur between May 15-31, the second around Labor Day, and the third around Halloween. If you choose to do a fourth application, wait until six weeks after the first use.

Environmentally friendly low phosphorous or no phosphorous fertilizers are now widely available. Be sure to follow all label directions in applying fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. To keep a lawn growing actively, it needs about one inch of water per week. Put a rain gauge on the lawn to determine how much water your sprinkler is releasing.

Homeowners may want to consider hiring a landscape management company to apply fertilizers and herbicides. The people who work for these companies have been trained to know when and how much chemical to apply and, consequently, to provide more protection for the environment than many do-it-yourselfers.

To find a garden center or landscape professional in your area, visit Minnesota's on-line gardening resource, GardenMinnesota.com.

The Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association is the state's largest green industry trade association with more than 1,500 member businesses including garden centers; landscape contractors and designers; tree and flower growers; irrigation contractors; and lawn, tree, and garden services.

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