April 2021 Lawn Care Schedule

The first day of spring is March 30, 2021. That’s a little over a month from today. It’s hard to believe here in New England as we look out the window to still a foot of snow covering our lawns. But have no fear! Spring will be here before you know it, so it’s time to start preparing for your April lawn care program.

This how-to lawn care calendar was set-up for cool season grasses – Turf Type Tall Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass. This lawn care guide will help you kickstart your turf health, vigor, and color this spring, and set your lawn up for success this growing season.

Ready to Spring Ahead? Check out our updated May Lawn Care Schedule!

Lawn Care Maintenance Schedule

Soil Test:

If you haven’t done so, get a soil test to check you N-P-K and pH levels. Soil Savvy and thinkSOIL are two at-home, DIY soil test kit for around $30 through Amazon. Though it’s never too late to send in your soil sample to your local University such as Umass Amherst. Just be sure to add on $8 for the Nitrogen sample, as UMass does not include that in their basic lawn/turf soil tests.

Clean-up:

If you haven’t done so, give the lawn a good rake. It will remove any debris and dead grass that didn’t survive the winter; help stand the grass stand upwards which allows for more air circulation, and expose the blades to sunlight.

And if you have one, a leaf blower works great, too. I use a RedMax which is very powerful, essentially dethatching the lawn when I let it rip on full blast. 

You can also use a simple, inexpensive machine like the Sun Joe dethatcher. I used that this year and am absolutely blown away with the amount of thatch and dead grass and debris it picked up. And for around $120, the paid for itself after one use. 

Tune-up: The single-most important factor to a nice lawn, next to irrigation, is regular mowing. Make sure your blade is sharp. I recommend using the Oregon Gator (G3), especially if you decide to mulch your clippings (which I also suggest). The soil is still cool and the grass probably won’t be growing much, but it’s great to be prepared. 

Weed Prevention

Crabgrass. No one likes it. This grassy weed sticks out like a sore thumb and can take over a lawn in no time if you’re not prepared. That’s why it’s important to control crabgrass by getting down a good pre emergent before this grassy weed gets a chance to fully germinate.

Note: Pre emergents do not kill weeds. They help stop the root development during and after the germination process. So this application is for those weed seeds that have overwintered and ready to sprout.

The 5 Best Crabgrass Preventers

The 5 Best Crabgrass Killers

I recommend using prodiamine in the early spring. Crabgrass germinates when the soil temps hit right around 55 degrees, so it’s important that this product is applied and watered in before soil temps reach 55. 

A good rule of thumb is when you start to see forsythia bloom, so aren’t the crabgrass – so stay ahead here. Get yourself an inexpensive digital meat thermometer so you know exactly what your soil temps are.

You can also check Greencast Online for daily soil temps, as well as 5-year and 10-year averages. Looking at Bellingham, MA for Saturday April 14, 2018, the soil temps are perfect for pre emergent application. The soil temps for that day was 50 degrees, and 53 degrees for the 5-year average. 

For a detailed post about weed control, read How To Get Rid of and Control Weeds in Your Lawn.

Jumping ahead:

Since we’re on the subject, very quickly since this is not an April stepDithiopyr has some post emergent herbicides that will kill crabgrass and dandelions up to the three leaf stage. If you’re not infested with weeds, you should use a product like Bayer All In One Weed Killer for spot spraying. But this, again, is for next month (May and June, actually).

View and make a copy of my 2020-21 lawn care calendar on Google Sheets – and download a free copy of my cool season lawn care guide here.

Fertilization

Don’t jump the gun here. It’s been many months since we were able to throw down fertilizer, push growth, and watch the grass turn a deep dark green. But we can virtually skip any fertilizers at this stage of the game until the soil temps start are consistently in the 50s. 

This is especially true if you winterized in the late fall. I used Jonathan Green 10-0-20 Winter Fertilizer (twice actually) so there’s plenty of stored food for the grass to use here in the early stages.

If you skipped winter fertilization you can apply a spring fertilizer. To calculate the amount of nitrogen per 1,000 ft2, be sure to be sure to use my free nitrogen calculator. Adding too much nitrogen too early will force top growth in less than ideal condition.

Four Step Plan:

I understand that some may not have the time to first throw down pre emergent, then wait a few weeks to then throw fertilizer down. If you’re looking to put down less for convenience or timesake and want to go the traditional 4 Step route, Lesco’s 19-0-7 with Dimension is a solid choice if you wanted to go the All-in-One route.

Or even better, go with Jonathan Green’s 22-0-3 Green Up + Crabgrass Preventer. Their 4-Step plan is foolproof and I feel it’s much safer for your lawns – especially during the summer months – than say a Scott’s 4 Step. They really focus on feeding the soil first, which really is the name of the game here.  [quads id=1]

April Spring Lawn Care Summary

  • Rake or dethatch your lawn and clean all debris (leaves, twigs etc.)
  • Prep your mower: sharpen those blades!
  • Put down a pre-emergent before the soil temps hit 55 degrees
  • If you fertilized your lawn in late fall/early winter, you won’t need to pound the soil with heavy nitrogen
    • Wait until soil temps approach 60 degrees
  • Use a slow release organic like Milorganite to wake up and activate the soil microbes 
  • Check out our Month-to-Month Lawn Care Calendar 

Recommended Fertilizers & Spring Lawn Care Products

Liquid

Granular

[quads id=2]

References:

 

Ready to Spring Ahead? Check out our updated May Lawn Care Schedule!

And as always, please comment below if you have any questions or feedback. 

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April 2021 Lawn Care Schedule

The first day of spring is March 30, 2021. That’s a little over a month from today. It’s hard to believe here in New England as we look out the window to still a foot of snow covering our lawns. But have no fear! Spring will be here before you know it, so it’s time to start preparing for your April lawn care program.

This how-to lawn care calendar was set-up for cool season grasses – Turf Type Tall Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass. This lawn care guide will help you kickstart your turf health, vigor, and color this spring, and set your lawn up for success this growing season.

Ready to Spring Ahead? Check out our updated May Lawn Care Schedule!

Lawn Care Maintenance Schedule

Soil Test:

If you haven’t done so, get a soil test to check you N-P-K and pH levels. Soil Savvy and thinkSOIL are two at-home, DIY soil test kit for around $30 through Amazon. Though it’s never too late to send in your soil sample to your local University such as Umass Amherst. Just be sure to add on $8 for the Nitrogen sample, as UMass does not include that in their basic lawn/turf soil tests.

Clean-up:

If you haven’t done so, give the lawn a good rake. It will remove any debris and dead grass that didn’t survive the winter; help stand the grass stand upwards which allows for more air circulation, and expose the blades to sunlight.

And if you have one, a leaf blower works great, too. I use a RedMax which is very powerful, essentially dethatching the lawn when I let it rip on full blast. 

You can also use a simple, inexpensive machine like the Sun Joe dethatcher. I used that this year and am absolutely blown away with the amount of thatch and dead grass and debris it picked up. And for around $120, the paid for itself after one use. 

Tune-up: The single-most important factor to a nice lawn, next to irrigation, is regular mowing. Make sure your blade is sharp. I recommend using the Oregon Gator (G3), especially if you decide to mulch your clippings (which I also suggest). The soil is still cool and the grass probably won’t be growing much, but it’s great to be prepared. 

Weed Prevention

Crabgrass. No one likes it. This grassy weed sticks out like a sore thumb and can take over a lawn in no time if you’re not prepared. That’s why it’s important to control crabgrass by getting down a good pre emergent before this grassy weed gets a chance to fully germinate.

Note: Pre emergents do not kill weeds. They help stop the root development during and after the germination process. So this application is for those weed seeds that have overwintered and ready to sprout.

The 5 Best Crabgrass Preventers

The 5 Best Crabgrass Killers

I recommend using prodiamine in the early spring. Crabgrass germinates when the soil temps hit right around 55 degrees, so it’s important that this product is applied and watered in before soil temps reach 55. 

A good rule of thumb is when you start to see forsythia bloom, so aren’t the crabgrass – so stay ahead here. Get yourself an inexpensive digital meat thermometer so you know exactly what your soil temps are.

You can also check Greencast Online for daily soil temps, as well as 5-year and 10-year averages. Looking at Bellingham, MA for Saturday April 14, 2018, the soil temps are perfect for pre emergent application. The soil temps for that day was 50 degrees, and 53 degrees for the 5-year average. 

For a detailed post about weed control, read How To Get Rid of and Control Weeds in Your Lawn.

Jumping ahead:

Since we’re on the subject, very quickly since this is not an April stepDithiopyr has some post emergent herbicides that will kill crabgrass and dandelions up to the three leaf stage. If you’re not infested with weeds, you should use a product like Bayer All In One Weed Killer for spot spraying. But this, again, is for next month (May and June, actually).

View and make a copy of my 2020-21 lawn care calendar on Google Sheets – and download a free copy of my cool season lawn care guide here.

Fertilization

Don’t jump the gun here. It’s been many months since we were able to throw down fertilizer, push growth, and watch the grass turn a deep dark green. But we can virtually skip any fertilizers at this stage of the game until the soil temps start are consistently in the 50s. 

This is especially true if you winterized in the late fall. I used Jonathan Green 10-0-20 Winter Fertilizer (twice actually) so there’s plenty of stored food for the grass to use here in the early stages.

If you skipped winter fertilization you can apply a spring fertilizer. To calculate the amount of nitrogen per 1,000 ft2, be sure to be sure to use my free nitrogen calculator. Adding too much nitrogen too early will force top growth in less than ideal condition.

Four Step Plan:

I understand that some may not have the time to first throw down pre emergent, then wait a few weeks to then throw fertilizer down. If you’re looking to put down less for convenience or timesake and want to go the traditional 4 Step route, Lesco’s 19-0-7 with Dimension is a solid choice if you wanted to go the All-in-One route.

Or even better, go with Jonathan Green’s 22-0-3 Green Up + Crabgrass Preventer. Their 4-Step plan is foolproof and I feel it’s much safer for your lawns – especially during the summer months – than say a Scott’s 4 Step. They really focus on feeding the soil first, which really is the name of the game here.  [quads id=1]

April Spring Lawn Care Summary

  • Rake or dethatch your lawn and clean all debris (leaves, twigs etc.)
  • Prep your mower: sharpen those blades!
  • Put down a pre-emergent before the soil temps hit 55 degrees
  • If you fertilized your lawn in late fall/early winter, you won’t need to pound the soil with heavy nitrogen
    • Wait until soil temps approach 60 degrees
  • Use a slow release organic like Milorganite to wake up and activate the soil microbes 
  • Check out our Month-to-Month Lawn Care Calendar 

Recommended Fertilizers & Spring Lawn Care Products

Liquid

Granular

[quads id=2]

References:

 

Ready to Spring Ahead? Check out our updated May Lawn Care Schedule!

And as always, please comment below if you have any questions or feedback.