Spring Lawn Maintenance Advice

Growing a great lawn is very easy–not as complicated as you think. This spring has been perfect for working out in your garden. Start now to get the thick lush lawn you have always dreamed of.

A Lush Lawn in 8 Steps

Step 1: Thatch -You need to de-thatch your lawn. Thatch is a layer of decaying organic matter between the grass plant and soil surface. It is made up of mostly dead grass blades and grass roots. If it is over 1/2 inch thick, it can create a favorable environment for disease and insects. It can also interfere with your fertilizer and any remedies you apply to your lawn. A thatch rake will clean out the problem, or you can rent a power rake. After de-thatching, rake up all the dead grass and leaves or debris. Then give your lawn a quick close mow.
Step 2: Aerate Your Soil – Aeration is the next step in good lawn maintenance. Most people don’t realize this but plants roots need air in the soil just as much as they need water. Lawns that have heavy traffic or pets can get soil that is compacted. When your soil is too compact, there is less room for air, and water cannot get down to the root zone easily. You can correct this problem by using a lawn core aerator twice a year or use lawn aerating shoes (cleats on steroids). Wear the lawn aerating shoes every time you cut your grass.
Step 3: Apply Lime to the Soil – Lime balances your pH and makes your fertilizer work better. Check out this link for more information on why lime is so important for a great lawn.
Step 4: Apply Fertilizer – Fertilizing is essential in maintaining a thick green lawn. You should feed early spring, late spring, summer, and fall. We recommend 4-Step Fertilizer programs because they not only provide you with the feed, but also each step usually contains one problem solver such as weed prevention, weed control, and insect control. Purchasing a 4-Step program is the most economical way to have a great lawn.
Step 5: Watering – Watering is a critical step in having a great lawn. During the spring, watering every 3 days should be enough. In the hot summer months of late June through August, it may be necessary to water every day to every other day. Depending on how much direct sun each zone gets, you should water 30 to 60 minutes per zone. This will saturate the soil down to about 6 inches, which is the root zone of the grass. Watering in the morning is the best time, as this will cut down on evaporation that can occur during mid-day and maximize water penetration.
Step 6: Disease & Insect Control – Occasionally your lawn may be the victim of a fungus or insect problem. Fungus normally happens in the hot humid months. Applying a disease preventer in May should help you in warding off common diseases such as dollar spot, powdery mildew, red thread, or fusarium. Grubs are the most common insect and can damage your grass in mid spring to late summer into the fall. As long as you catch either problem in time, you can minimize the damage with proper insect or disease control.
Step 7: Common Weeds – Even though you are using a 4-Step Lawn Care Program, it is possible to still get weeds in your grass. Walk your lawn once a week and spot kill any that may pop up with a Ready-To-Use lawn weed killer. This is the best and easiest way to keep weeds in check before they become a real nuisance and start to take over.
Step 8: Mowing Your Lawn – Keeping your grass at the proper height is essential to lawn health and appearance. Turf cut too short has a shallow root system and requires more weed control. The ideal height for grass is 2-3 inches. Mow your lawn at least once a week. If you mow frequently–such as twice a week–you can let the clippings drop back onto the lawn. If you mow less frequently, then you should consider bagging your clippings.

Having the perfect lawn is not as complicated as you think. Following these basic steps will assure you of a better lawn this year, and you will be the envy of your neighborhood. If any of you want to take the “Pepsi challenge” against my lawn, send some pictures. We can call it The Dees’ Lawn Idol contest. My lawn will be tough to beat.

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