Lawns awakening in the spring are similar to people waking up in the morning – some are “early risers” and some are “late risers.” Your lawn’s path out of winter dormancy may be faster or slower than your neighbor’s lawns.

Most people would understand different waking patterns on lawns with different grass types – a Kentucky Blue Grass (KBG) vs. a turf-type fescue vs a fine fescue lawn. Surprisingly, though, even lawns of the same grass type can show up differently in the spring due to differentiation of varieties within the same grass seed type. The picture below was taken May 18th at the Purdue Turf Plot in West Lafayette, Indiana. This turf plot is all KBG grasses – just different squares of different varietals. You can see not only the difference in the color between the squares, you see the variation in their “waking up” speed.

So, be patient with your lawn if it happens to wake up slower than other lawns – eventually it will find it’s seasonal rhythm and vigor. The entire plot above gets the same fertilization nutrition and care. If you do have a late-waking lawn, there is one nutrition habit which could make a difference the following spring – a late fall Winterizer application. Nutrients are held in the roots and ground over the winter. Roots awaken before you see top growth on the plant. As the ground begins to warm in the very early spring, the roots will be working and using stored nutrients. This can translate into a lawn waking up earlier in the spring.

May your lawn bring you joy!

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