Are you wondering how to get your lawn ready for spring in the Tulsa area?
The vernal equinox is March 20 this year, so spring is 5 days away! Yay! Oh, wait! Hold on, there!
With these lovely warmer temperatures we’ve been having, and the occasional spring shower, everyone is itching to get outside. Spring fever has struck, the trees are budding out, and many people I’ve talked to are excited! “I can’t wait to get out in the garden!” is a phrase I’ve heard many times this week.
But remember where we live…in the Tulsa area, spring can be very fickle!
I went outside to take a picture of my dormant bermuda, and noticed that it is beginning to come out of dormancy! See the little green shoots?
If you’re dying to mow your bermuda lawn, go ahead. But DO NOT scalp it yet. If we have a freeze, those little green shoots would be vulnerable without all that dead junk around it.
Every Bermuda lawn should be scalped every year in the spring, but not until mid-April or when all chance of frost is past. Scalping is simply setting your mower on its lowest setting, mowing the bermuda, and bagging the clippings. This removes all the dead, brown grass that has been insulating the lawn all winter. Please remember that scalping is for bermuda grass and zoysia grass only, NOT fescue.
What you DO need to do now is be sure you apply a crabgrass pre-emergent, and a broadleaf weed post-emergent, or have a lawn care company apply them. A pre-emergent is highly recommended, as crabgrass is very difficult to eradicate once it has germinated. The post-emergent is for henbit (those purple flowers you’re seeing everywhere) and clover and dandelions and other broadleaf weeds.
Important: At this time of year, when the weather is still cool, those broadleaf weeds will die after the post-emergent is applied, but they will not turn brown. They will remain in the lawn until you mow it. It’s also important to know that post-emergents work on the weeds in your lawn now.
“Post-emergent” means the material kills the weeds that have already emerged and are present at the time of the application. Weed seeds are everywhere, carried by wind, water, birds and squirrels If you’re on our program and have some more broadleaf weeds pop up before it’s time for your next application, and after you’ve mowed, just call us for a free service call and we will spot treat them. The next application contains another crabgrass pre-emergent and another post-emergent, so it should take care of any stragglers.
How to Get Your Yard Ready for Spring, Beyond Lawn Care
And that part about getting out in the garden? We can all see the daffodils blooming, and the tulips pushing up…but bear in mind that these are early bloomers. Also be aware that the nurseries and your neighborhood lawn and garden center might start displaying plants that should not be planted yet. Caladiums are one example. Soil temperatures must be 65 to 70 degrees before you plant them, which generally means the overnight low temperatures need to be in the 60’s, consistently.
Caladiums! Image: Wikipedia
Pansies are cool-weather flowers, so feel free to plant them now, if you didn’t last fall. They will only last into May, dependent on temperatures, as they don’t like the hot weather.
Some vegetables can be planted now, like kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, beets and carrots. But be sure to check out specific planting schedules for your planting zone (in the Tulsa area we are in zone 7.) Check good websites like VeggieHarvest.com or the VegetableGarden.info or The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
I hope this clear up any questions about how to get your lawn ready for spring in the Tulsa area. So enjoy the outdoors, but don’t go all gung ho until we know we’re not going to have any more frost! April 15 is the average last day for frost in the Tulsa area!