Spring green-up is the most anticipated time of year for turf managers. Some years, it happens easily, others – not so quickly. Spring green-up is dependent on many factors, but the two most important things you have control over are irrigation and nutrition.
Irrigation plays a role in quick green-up
Have you ever seen how good grass looks surrounding downspouts in the spring and how that grass greens up before the rest of your lawn? That stresses the importance of irrigation in both the winter and early in the spring. As turf is slowly coming out of dormancy, there is more happening under the ground than we give plants credit for. Usually, we just assume that once new green tissue appears that it’s time to start fertilizing and watering the system. Turf roots and crowns are both very active before new green tissue is developed and it’s important to supply the right moisture and nutrients to speed things along as much as possible.
Fertility is key to quick green-up
Good fertility is paramount to quick green-up. A final ‘winterizing’ application in the fall of a well-rounded nutrient program will set things up right for spring, but don’t assume that application will carry you through the early part of spring. Turf needs ample nitrogen to push vegetative growth, so be sure to start early with your fertilizer applications to ensure the quickest possible spring green-up.
What other factors affect a quick green-up?
There are certain conditions that result in green-up taking longer such as which species, and especially cultivar, you are growing. Kentucky bluegrass may seem to take longer to green up as its growth can appear slower if there are still bare areas from the previous season. Certain cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass also are slower to green-up than others, so make sure you are planting one that exhibits quicker green-up if it’s an important attribute for your setting.
Regardless of the factors involved, following a good irrigation and nutrient management program will help speed things along in the spring and get your turf back in play-ready condition as soon as possible.