University of Maryland Extension

March Lawn Tips

home lawn

 (More tips from HGIC)

  • Late winter-early spring is considered the second best time (the best time is late August through mid-October) to seed your lawn make repairs, or to cover bare areas. Read (PDF) HG 102, Lawn Establishment, Renovation and Overseeding.
  • Soil testing can be done now.  For grass keep the soil pH in the 6.0 - 7.0 range to help maintain, vigorously growing healthy turf. Although tall fescue is a little more forgiving of an acidic soil, it will still grow much better at the proper pH. Not sure how to take a soil sample? Watch our video on collecting a soil sample!
  • A soil test will determine soil pH and if needed, will provide a liming recommendation. Agricultural limestone (ground or dolomitic) can be applied to raise soil pH. Pelletized lime is slightly more expensive than ground limestone but is easier to apply.
  • Fertilizing in the spring is not recommended for older established lawns. When selecting a crabgrass pre-emergent look for one that does not contain fertilizer. Although convenient weed and feed products lead to over-fertilization and applying fertilizer at the wrong time of the year. 
  • If a ‘weed and feed ‘product is applied the amount of fertilizer in the product needs to be included in the total amount of nitrogen that you apply to your lawn for the year.
  • Consider applying a crabgrass pre-emergent if your lawn has a history of crabgrass problems. Depending on the weather begin applying in mid-March through early April in Central and Southern Maryland. In Northern and Western Maryland apply in mid-April through the end of the month.
  • Crabgrass begins to germinate when soil temperatures in the upper inch of soil reach 55°F to 60°F for 7-10 consecutive days. Forsythia in full bloom can be a simple reminder that it is time for homeowners to apply a preemergent but it is not always 100% dependable.
  • For season-long crabgrass a second application 6 weeks later may be necessary; check the product label.
  • If you are re-seeding, be sure to select a crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide labeled for use on new lawns, it can be found under the trade name Tupersan® or the chemical name, siduron.
  • Chickweed, dead nettle, henbit, and other broadleaf winter annual weeds are starting to grow again at this time. Actually seeds sprouted last fall and were dormant throughout the winter. Handpull or when temperatures are consistently in the 60°F temperature range and the weeds are actively growing spot treat with a labeled broadleaf weed herbicide.
  • Hold off until the fall to core aerate.  Digging or disturbing wet soil results in more compaction and spring aeration opens up the soil for weed seeds to germinate.
  • This is the time to sharpen your lawn mower blades and service your mower. Dull blades tear turfgrass and can lead to damage and disease problems. Remember to sharpen your mower blade a few times throughout the mowing season.
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