Simple Lawn Care Tips

Choices:Due to busy work schedules, some people chose to hire a lawn service to fertilize and seed their lawns at different points throughout the year.  You can choose to cut your own lawn or hire a lawn cutting service.   Choose according to your budget and time availability.  In late spring and summer, you will be committed to weekly lawn mowing.

Spring and Fall Clean-up:
Although many people rake their lawns in late fall and early spring, it is hard work.  Blowers can help, but the kind most people buy at home centers are slow and not very powerful compared to the industrial gas powered behemoths the lawn people use.  And then, you still have to bag and cart away the debris from your garden beds and lawn.

If I could only afford one lawn and garden luxury, it would be having my spring and fall clean-ups done by a professional.  Once this backbreaking work is completed, I can dive into enriching the soil in my beds, fertilizing, planting, and mulching.  Be careful to do your spring clean-up early enough — the workmen you hire will inevitably stomp on young perennials beginning to sprout.   The professionals who cut my lawn each week also do the spring and fall clean-up and help me to install oversized trees and shrubs.  Finding a reliable and reasonably priced service can take some time.  Hint:  schedule your fall clean-up late in the season (early December) to avoid late falling leaves from covering your lawn.

Do-It-Yourself Lawn Fertilizing:
You find yourself at the garden center or at Home Depot and you know nothing about where to start.  Scott’s 4-step program makes it easy and you is available everywhere.  You will need a spreader to begin.

STEP 1:  Early Spring
Crabgrass preventer plus fertilizer starts the process off right. Nothing is more annoying than crabgrass overtaking a lawn.

STEP 2:  Late Spring
Weed control plus fertilizer controls dandelion and other broadleaf weeds.

STEP 3:  Summer
Insect control with fertilizer controls common pests such as chinch bugs and lawn moths.  For grubs, the manufacturer recommends Scotts GrubEx any time from April to mid-August.  Check for grubs by lifting up a piece of sod and looking underneath.  Those little white rascals are easy to see.

STEP 4:  Fall
Fertilizer for strong roots to take you through the winter.

Your local nursery may have their own brands of lawn care products and are often competitively priced.  This option will allow you to talk to a professional if you have specific or unusual lawn problems.  Apply lime in early winter every other year.

Before seeding, mow lawn, remove debris, and scratch the top å_ inch of soil with a metal rake.  A light seeding once a year is all that is needed depending on the thickness and quality of your lawn.  Seed heavier in bare areas.  Know how much sun your lawn gets and buy the appropriate seed such as full sun, part sun, part shade and shade.  If you have children and pets, I recommend a good sturdy mix that will stand up to traffic.  Most seeds are classified by the level of traffic the grass can support. I usually spread my seed by hand to avoid getting any seeds in my garden beds.  For large swaths of land, use a spreader.  Use a starter fertilizer and water twice daily until seedling start to come up.  Water daily for the next few weeks.  I recommend seeding in late summer or early fall because you can avoid using weed killer more easily at that time of year.  Do not apply weed control to a newly seeded lawn until well established.

Many late summer discolorations in your lawn are often caused by a disease or fungus such as dollar spot which looks like small tan colored patches with brown in the middle of the blades.  This can be treated by increasing nitrogen and with a fungicide available at your garden center.  Leaf spot are brown circles in the lawn which are darker at the edges.  This can be treated by watering early in the day, minimal nitrogen in the spring and a good fungicide.  Another is summer patch which turns grass light green and then yellowish.  These spots grow larger with normal green grass centers.  Treat by aerating the lawn, fertilizing lightly with nitrogen and using an appropriate fungicide.  For these problems, take the time to go to an excellent nursery and wait to speak to their lawn expert.  Don’t improvise if you are unsure.

A lush green lawn is difficult to sustain through the summer without sufficient watering.  If your lawn and gardens are becoming your passion, it is time to install a sprinkler system.  They can be set to water early in the morning(the best time of day) for varying periods of time.  If you will be doing any amount of seeding, will you really have time to water your lawn twice a day?  What about those summers when it doesn’t rain for weeks?   Devastating on your lawn.

For people who love to garden, but have full-time jobs, a watering system is essential.  Your lawn, shrubs, perennials and annuals all reap the benefits.  Underground drip lines can be attached to the system and woven around shrubs and into flower beds where you may not want a spray of water, i.e. roses.   I love my watering system because it frees up my limited time to design, arrange, plant, prune and otherwise care for my plants and lawn.

If you are buying a new home and starting your lawn and garden from scratch, or ripping up an old lawn and beds and starting anew, plan to install a sprinkler system.  Use the following sequence:  Define and lay out flower beds, plant all trees and shrubs, have watering system installed using a combination of drip lines and sprinkler heads, plant as many perennials as possible and mulch the beds, plant the lawn.  Sprinkle away.  It makes sense because you won’t be able to stomp around a newly seeded lawn in order to water shrubs and perennials by hand.  New planted trees, shrubs, flowers and grass all need daily watering.  And always get at least 3 quotes for your system.  Most companies will advise where to place sprinkler heads and drip lines.

And there you have it.