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COLUMBIA – As unusually warm weather brings a feeling of early spring across Missouri, it also speeds up the lawn care treatment process for businesses and those striving for the best yard on the block.

Garry Burry, general manager of the lawn care company TruGreen, said his staff actually started production Monday.

“If you want a good, healthy green lawn, one that makes the neighbors envious, you would start today,” Burry said. “We need to get out and get fertilization and pre-emergent down to keep the crab grass from popping up early. Warmer winters definitely speeds things up.”

With mid-Missouri reaching temperatures in the 70s over President’s Day weekend, this brings an increased sense of urgency when treating lawns.

“If you don’t get a good weed control down, right from the start with that pre-em, you could be fighting crab grass all year long, not quite getting the results you want,” Burry said. “So the quicker you start on a program, the better the results will be and the faster the results will be.”

Burry said this year’s weather is actually more in line with the past three years but is still a far cry from previous years that brought 16-inch snows in March.

Dense, freezing winters actually serve lawns better, as it gives fertilizer more time to work and delays the weeds and crab grass from emerging.

“In colder winters, the grass would stay dormant longer under heavy snow pack or frost that prevents it from coming up,” Burry said. “When we get warmer weather like this, you start to see the grass start to green up a lot faster and accelerate weeds. It’s good to get the fertilizer down cause that grass is starved right now. That fertilizer gives it a boost to get a good healthy lawn.”

This means people may have to start mowing earlier than in previous years, along with watering more often earlier in the season.

Columbia resident Conner Devlin said he started watering his yard late last week.

“The grass and shrubs don’t know that it’s just February, so you have to help them grow, even if it’s early, or else they won’t get to full strength later on in the spring,” Devlin said.

For those who haven’t started pre-treating their lawn, Burry said it’s not too late to start the process now in hopes of a greater payoff later this year.

“You want to fertilize, you want to get a good pre-emergent down to prevent weeds from coming up and watering your lawn is extremely essential,” Burry said. “You want to water at least three times a week with an inch to inch and a half.”

Burry said he recommends his customers use a tuna can to measure how much water a certain spot of lawn receives. If it fills up the can, then that part is more than watered.

Even if we get hit with more seasonal winter weather, Burry said it won't hinder the overall lawn care process. Instead, it will delay the emergence of weeds a couple more weeks while still allowing the fertilizer to work.

However, another cold front would have more of a negative impact on the contraction of roots with trees and shrubs.

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