Chicago's February 2017 has rewritten the record book. In a month that failed to produce measurable snow (only five of those dating back to 1884), February 2017 will certainly rank as one of the warmest in recorded history! And the warm weather trend continues. This provides us the opportunity to get a "jump" on spring. Here are a few ideas for you to consider regarding your turf...
Get rid of anything that is matting down the turf. This year we are primarily concerned with leftover fall leaves. In a normal early spring we would also be concerned with snow piles (i.e. at the corners of the driveway where shoveling/plowing has left large piles that melt slower). These are areas that are ripe for fungal infections that could spread throughout your turf. Clean these areas up! Rake up and dispose of leaves/debris. Spread out those snow piles so they can melt in the sun. Your turf will appreciate the fresh air and ability to feel the sun's warmth.
Get that first round of fertilizer down. More importantly, get that first round of weed control down. Any fertilizer put down now will dissolve into the soil with the next rainfall/snowfall (?) and be available to turf as it wakes up from winter dormancy. We believe the more important aspect of this first application of fertilizer is to include a pre-emergent weed control. Given the unusually mild temperatures this winter, we expect an early germination of the broadleaf weed species.
Getting your turf off to a good start in the spring is more common sense and timing than it is rocket science! Good luck in your efforts. Let us know if we can help.