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Late Winter Tasks for Missouri Lawns

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

With heavy rains on the way and temperatures still in the high 40s, it may seem a poor time to consider lawn care in Missouri. While temperatures and growing seasons can vary slightly across the state, many homeowners consider early March the best time to begin simple tasks for establishing a lawn. If you have cool season grasses like perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, or tall and fine fescue, a two-month schedule that will nurture lawns into optimal condition in time for summer barbecues may be the answer.
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Lawn Care When March Comes in Like a Lion

It may be very cold outside, but beneath a slight dusting of snow or wet ground, your grass roots are stirring. In central Missouri, March is a good time to apply broadleaf herbicides to fight winter and leftover perennial weeds that cling to life.

It's also time to get a soil test if you haven't had one in a while. De-thatch or power-rake your lawn now to help warm up the soil for spring sprouting. If you have thin spots left over from last year, this can be a good time to overseed those areas.

April is the Cruelest Month for Grass Mildew

Once April comes, be on the lookout for mildew. A fungus that commonly affects Kentucky bluegrass and fescues causes powdery mildew. It lies dormant through the winter and begins producing spores in the spring. The fungus, Erysiphe graminis, loves wet, cool spring temperatures. If your grass looks like it's been dusted with flour, it may be suffering from this fungus. Cut back on watering immediately and take a sample of the grass into your local lawn care shop or nursery.

If your soil is compacted, April is the time to aerate it and remove thatch if you didn't get around to it in March. By mid-April you may want to get your pre-emergent crabgrass control on the ground.

It's not an overwhelming amount of work, but the preparation work you do now can make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood come the muggy, hot Missouri summer.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys,, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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