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It's just about time to do some needed spring yard work. Gary Crawford springs into action with this report.

Audio file

PARTICIPANTS: Gary Crawford and Kansas State University Extension yard and garden expert, Dennis Patton.


Yes, some folks up near the Great Lakes may still be shoveling snow, but for many parts of the country...

Each nest is twittering, their old beds is settering, it's spring, spring, spring.

Ah, at last.

And with spring's arrival, many of us were inspired to get out in the yard and do something.

And definitely...

There's always a lot of chores to be done in the spring in the lawn and the garden.

Kansas State University Extension lawn and garden expert Dennis Patton, now he does say that many of the things we do in the yard in the spring are actually things we probably should have done in the fall.

Things like planting grass seed, most of the fertilization, and spraying for weeds.

But yes, there's still a lot to do in the spring.

First, we need to redo some of the raking of the leaves we did back in the fall.

Winter does have a way of...

[Wind blowing] Blowing more leaves around and into the yard and piling them up in places.

And we want to make sure that those leaves do not pile up and bury the turf grass.

Because it will shade and kill out the grass.

Dennis Patton says even though we may have done some of these next things he's going to talk about last fall...

In the spring is when we start thinking about, depending on the part of the country we're in, doing a little bit of fertilization to perk the grass up.

It's also a time we look for some weed control activity too, because we have a lot of spring blooming weeds like dandelion, tinbit, chickweed throughout the country.

And then we also need to think about preparing our lawn for the weeds of summer that will be coming later.

But really, Dennis says it would have been better to take care of the broadleaf weeds back in the fall.

Why not use those sprays in the spring?


Because they drift really easily into the breeze and they can damage non-target plants.

So it affects the redbud trees, the tomatoes that got planted in the spring, grapevines.

Any of the trees will see a lot of curling and puckering to the foliage because of the drift of the herbicide in the atmosphere.

So in the spring, he says it's better to do spot spraying of weeds, very targeted, and use as little as possible.

Treat on a calm day, not a windy day, to prevent the blowing in the wind.

And then also large water droplets close to the soil surface so we don't get a lot of that drift and cause damage to our non-target plants.

And finally, Dennis says when you go to cut the grass the first time, fight the urge to cut it really low.

He says it hurts the grass by scalping it.

The other thing is when you mow so short like that early spring, all you do is open that soil up for more sunshine and weed seeds love nothing more than spring sunshine and warm soil to start to grow.

Yes, those weeds also love spring.

Spring, spring, spring.

Oh yes, in Washington where it's sort of springy, Gary Crawford reporting for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.