Spring Lawn Care Advice…

UMaine Scientist Offers Spring Lanw Care Advice Video

Laura Wilson, UMaine Cooperative Extension water quality scientist and expert on pollutants threatening Maine’s water bodies, is available to discuss some important springtime lawn care tips for homeowners.

The best time to apply fertilizers, Wilson says, is Labor Day weekend, not early spring, since freshly applied fertilizers can be carried off by rain into rivers and streams. In addition, well-established lawns — at least 10 years old — do not need much in the way of supplemental nutrients. Simply cutting the grass at the 2-3-inch level and leaving clippings to decompose provides adequate natural fertilization in most cases.

Newer lawns sometimes do need a nutrient boost, but not more than 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn per year. Wilson recommends doing a soil test before adding phosphorous because most Maine soils have adequate phosphorous naturally. Phosphorous that washes into the environment causes serious pollution and algae problems in lakes, rivers and streams, she says. Consider phosphorous-free fertilizers, which are readily available in local stores.

Wilson also notes that Cooperative Extension specialists recommend against using commercially available combination fertilizers, weed- and pest-killing applications, because the application rate is based on the weed killer, not the nutrient rate, so it’s easy to over-apply fertilizers.

For further information, see Wilson’s lawn fertilizer website at http://umaine.edu/waterquality/lid/lawns/fertilizerhomeowners/, or contact a county Cooperative Extension office. The Extension website (http://extension.umaine.edu) also has information on lawn care, gardening and other outdoor activities.

Contact: George Manlove, 581-3756

Article posted on:  http://umaine.edu/news/blog/2011/05/18/umaine-scientist-offers-spring-lawn-care-advice/

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