Lawn Care and Pruning for Spring in St. Louis
Landscaping in St. Louis, your tips for mid April
Spring is a sensitive time for your yard – the soil is spongy, the plants are tender, and the weather is unpredictable – especially when talking about lawn care and landscaping in the St. Louis metro area.
Your lawn will thank you for being gentle this time of year, but it will also appreciate you for addressing a few important spring tasks too.
We’ve talked about raking your lawn and other clean up in your lawn in the spring. But be sure to avoid particularly heavy yard work until the soil dries out – foot traffic and hard raking can compact or disturb soggy soil and damage tender, new grass shoots.
Once your grass starts growing, you’ll need to make sure your lawn gets at least 1” of water per week. Until then, you can water less frequently but remember that cold air is very drying to plants and lawns.
Types of Grass
Lawn care in the Spring depends on what type of grass you are growing. Understanding the type of grass and its peak growing season will help you address lawn care tasks at the correct time.
There are two types:
Cool-season grasses include fescue, bluegrass, and rye. They have two growth spurts – a moderate one in the spring, and a big one in the fall. They go dormant and can struggle in hot summer months, so the focus of spring care is strengthening the plants for summer.
Warm-season grasses—such as Zoysia, St. Augustine, centipede, and Bermuda—thrive in the heat and go dormant during winter. They begin growing after the last spring frost and really get going by midsummer.
We have talked about both in our St. Louis landscaping tips, but we’d like to mention once again that in the spring gardeners have to choose between weed control and lawn seeding. The application of pre-emergent herbicides that stop weeds also prevent grass seed from sprouting too, so you can’t do both – the herbicide will be active for up to 12 weeks, which means you’ll miss the spring planting season.
Remember that one method to do both is using the crabgrass weed control herbicides in areas that are well-established, and then seeding bare spots or other areas which need to be thickened up.
Mid-April is also the best time to either plant or prune back late flowering shrubs like Hydrangeas. Many can live for years without never needing to be pruned, but if your shrubs grow out of bounds or lose flowering vigor then there are different guidelines for different varieties of the shrub. When you have questions, call your St. Louis landscaping experts at Environmental Landscaping and we can help you with the tips that are right for your variety.
Summer flowering shrubs such as Anthony Spirea Waterer can be moderately pruned to remove dead, diseased or damaged branches, or simply unsightly ones. Every few years they may also require rejuvenation pruning, which becomes necessary when the shrub has grown out of bounds or has many old and tangled stems that have become woody. You want to do this pruning while the plant is still dormant. This type of pruning is usually only done once every 3 or 4 years. In this pruning, you cut all of the shrub’s branches to within a few inches off the ground. Annabelle Hydrangea is another planting that may be cut back all the way to the ground right now.
Speaking of pruning, this is also the perfect time to cut away any dead wood from your other plantings. Dead branches may be cut at any time of the year, but performing this now when there are a bit fewer tasks in your outdoor spaces (though activity is really starting to heat up, just like the weather!) is a good way to approach this.
Environmental is one of the top landscape consultants in Kirkwood, Manchester, Ballwin, Clayton and every other place you can name in between! We specialize in the entire St. Louis metro area. Questions about our service area? Give us a call at (636) 225-3848 or contact us online! We can usually find a way to accommodate you on many types of projects.