You’ve probably seen it: Nature’s Yellow Flag.

When the yellow Forsythia bush blooms you’ve been given the best indicator that it’s time to get out and get working in the yard. The soil temperature is now warm enough that things are actively starting to grow.

The blooming of the yellow forsythia can vary from town to town, but if you see it starting to bloom in your neighborhood, it’s time for you to do your first really good lawn application of fertilizer and crabgrass control. Crabgrass control, in particular, has to be well-timed, so this sign from nature is helpful.

At Van Wilgen’s, we offer both a synthetic and an organic choice – GreenView Crabgrass Control Plus Lawn Food and Espoma Organic Weed Preventer, respectively. Try to apply this application a little before it rains or instead you can water it in for best results.

This is also a good time to put down Preen – a granular weed control for flower gardens that can be put around your plants. This product will suppress weed germination and keep them under control a bit more.

Ideally, when your plants are three inches up above the ground is a good time to mulch and put Preen on top of the mulch. If you’re not mulching, put Preen right on the soil. The sooner you get a jump on weeds the better off you’ll be. Those weeds are busy germinating so don’t delay.

For people who are focusing this season, not on weed control but on seeding the lawn, the blooming yellow Forsythia is also a sign that it is warm enough for grass seed to germinate.

We do a lot with lawns here at Van Wilgen’s and offer our own custom Van Wilgen’s grass seed, which is locally sourced in small batches. The ideal course of action to grow the best lawn is to put down Van Wilgen’s grass seed, starter fertilizer, and then put down a straw cover.

Although the window is a bit forgiving, the few-week period when Nature’s Yellow Flag is in bloom – roughly a solid three weeks – is the best window to get started. Seeding can continue long afterward, but crabgrass pre-emergent is best to get down from when the yellow forsythia blooms to when the lilac blooms.

The yellow Forsythia will wave that yellow flag for several weeks, giving you plenty of time to get outside, get some fresh air, and get started!