Spring Lawncare in the Transition Zone

R. L. Rhodes
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Starting midway down the Atlantic seaboard and extending across the country to Kansas and Oklahoma runs a belt of territory known in the turf industry as the “transition zone.” Temperatures there fall low enough to cause trouble for warm-season grasses in the winter, then rise high enough in the winter to make cool-season grasses equally difficult to maintain. As the joke goes, if you live in the transition zone, you can grow any grass you’d like—just none of them particularly well. That’s not entirely true, of course, but living in the overlap between warmer and cooler zones means you have to pay closer attention.

Identification

If you’re not sure to what season the grass in your lawn is best adapted, now’s a good time to find out. For a solid start, check out our articles on identifying warm- and cool-season grasses. Once you know what grasses you’re dealing with, you can work on tailoring your lawn care.

Weed control

With spring starting in earnest, you’ll want to get a jump on weed control, but different season grasses respond to treatment differently. Image makes a range of post-emergent weed-killers for warm-season lawns. For cool-season lawns, try Ortho Weed-B-Gon. Mowing cool-season grasses a little taller in the spring can also help your grass compete more effectively against emerging weeds.

Fertilizers and amendments

Warm-season grasses can be fertilized after their initial green-up in the early spring. Use a fertilizer formulated for early spring, like Scotts Turf Builder with Crabgrass Preventer. A soil test will also help you understand what your lawn needs in order to thrive. If the pH level in your soil is low, adding lime in the cool, early days of spring may help to bring it back to the optimal range of between 6.0 and 7.0.

(Not sure if the transition zone is the right zone for you? See our zone map for more.)

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