All Types of Lawn Care, Mow the Right Way
Mowing is key to any
kind of lawn. Make sure you set your mower high. This helps your
grass grow strong roots and crowd out weeds. Also, always make
sure your blade is sharp. Dull blades shred the grass, leaving
it open to disease and moisture loss.
For the Minimalist Lawn-Owner
If you don't devote
too much time to your lawn, no problem. As long as it's green
and growing, it's all good. Even so, at a minimum, you need to
do a few things to keep your lawn from turning brown and bare.
Here's a simple program you may want to follow:
Basic winter cleanup. Rake up old leaves, remove debris and sticks.
Fertilize and then water. Mow regularly.
Mow regularly as necessary.
Feed your lawn, and mow as necessary until it goes dormant.
TOOLS AND MATERIALS:
A basic or mulching mower, spreader lawn food (with weed control,
if necessary), hose and sprinkler.
the Average Lawn-Owner
For you, a nice lawn
is a good asset, but who has the time and money to make it look
like a golf course? Still, with a small investment in time, you
can make your lawn look very pleasant. Here's an easy program
you may want to follow that brings good results.
Do basic cleanup, like raking and picking up sticks. Tune up your
lawn mower and sharpen the blades. Feed your lawn (early spring
for cool-season grasses, and mid-spring for warm-season grasses).
Mow regularly when the growing season begins.
Mow regularly as necessary. Trim around edges and landscaping.
Feed your lawn in early and late fall for cool-season grasses
and early and mid-fall for warm-season grasses. Mow as necessary
while the grass still grows. Clean off your equipment for winter
TOOLS AND MATERIALS:
Rake, trimmer, mulching mower, spreader, lawn food (or a weed-and-feed
product as necessary), hose and sprinkler.
Bare Spots and Thin Areas In Your Lawn
No lawn is perfect.
Along with weeds, the most common issue in lawns is bare spots
and thin areas. Often, fixing bare spots and thin areas is simply
a matter of adjusting the watering and feeding schedule. If the
lawn only has a few bare spots, then a few simple repairs will
patch it up.
Out What's Causing the Problem
a reason for bare or thin spots. The trouble is, it's not always
obvious. You may need to do a little detective work. Does the
soil drain well in the bare spot? Do dogs leave their calling
cards there? Maybe you have an insect problem, lawn disease, or
too much shade. Is the grass you're planting suited to your conditions?
Your lawnmower could be "scalping" your lawn with a
low setting. Bare spots could be the result of any of these, but
the first thing to check is how you feed and water your lawn.
Fortunately, it's easy
to fix most bare spots. Spread a little soil, Turf Builder Seeding
Soil® over the area. Then apply quality grass seed, such as
Turf Builder Grass Seed, and feed with Starter Fertilizer. Keep
the area moist until the grass matures, then you're set. Just
resume regular watering.
It's Too Far Gone, Consider Renovating
If a patch of your
lawn only grows weeds or unsightly grass, you may want to start
over from scratch. Spray the area with RoundUp® Weed and Grass
Killer. After 7 days, rake out the dead plants and add an inch
of Turf Builder Seeding Soil evenly over the area. Level out any
low and high spots. Next, spread top-quality seed, such Turf Builder
Grass Seed, and give them a head start with Starter Fertilizer.
If you keep your patch moist until the seeds grow into mature
grass, your bare spot should disappear.
Your Bare Spot Is the Entire Lawn, Overseed
It happens: your nice,
green lawn looks a little threadbare all over. Take a look to
see what's causing the problem. If your lawn has more than half
an inch of thatch, you may need to rent a de-thatching machine.
Going over your lawn with one of those gives new seeds a chance
to take root, and it helps the grass you have get more water and
nutrients. You also may need to add a thin layer of topsoil where
your soil looks thin under your trees and shrubs. Using a drop
spreader or a rotary spreader, apply a layer of quality seed,
such as Scotts® Turf Builder® Grass Seed, then follow
up with an application of Scotts® Starter® Fertilizer.
Now, all you have to do is keep the lawn moist, and it will look
a lot better in a few short weeks.
It Routine: Feed and Water Regularly
Giving grass the nutrients
it needs helps it grow thick and full. Deep watering once a week
(or more when it's really hot) allows for deeper root growth.
If you make these two steps a habit, your lawn will look great,
with fewer bare and thin spots.
Trees and Shrubs
When your trees and
shrubs start to look scraggly, you may want to give them a haircut.
Pruning gives healthy branches room to grow. The plant's roots
can nourish them better, since there's less to feed. A little
pruning also helps keep diseases at bay. If in doubt, hire a professional
to do the work for you.
When your trees are
dormant and new buds haven't formed yet, get out your pruning
sheers. The idea is to cut back growth that looks weak, ill formed,
or overcrowded. Your healthy branches will be even healthier when
they have more room and nutrients to grow.
not to prune trees
If you want strong,
healthy trees, don't prune them after their leaves have sprouted.
Your trees have used up a lot of stored energy to push those leaves
out, and they're too young to start replenishing the tree through
photosynthesis. Pruning at this point will starve your trees.
However, you can remove any sucker growth that you see around
the base at any time.
If you have a shrub
that blooms in the spring, prune it after the blooms have completely
faded. If your shrubs bloom in the summer, do your pruning in
late winter or early spring.
- Fall offers
the best growing conditions for lawns, with moisture, cool weather,
and just the right amount of sunshine. If you feed your lawn
only once a year, do it in the fall
- Fix any
bare, brown, or thin spots in your lawn by planting grass seed
now through October. Use a brand name Lawn Repair Mix to repair
bare spots quickly and easily.
- Fall also
presents a great opportunity to eliminate weeds in your lawn.
Spot-treat weeds with a treament product that can be found in
your home improvement garden section.
- If you
have crabgrass in your lawn, control it now with a Crabgrass
Controler Ready-To-Use. You should also plan to apply a pre-emergent
next spring to prevent crabgrass from growing when the weather
of bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass - especially ones that get
heavy foot traffic - should be aerated now.
- Be sure
to keep up with mowing, as the grass is growing at a rapid pace
this time of year. Mow often enough to avoid cutting more than
1/3 of the grass blade in one mowing. Continue to mow your lawn
at the highest setting recommended for your lawn.
As winter approaches, gradually lower the mowing height of your
mower. Winter should begin without any young, tender growth that
makes your lawn more appealing to winter diseases.
growth on the lawn is vulnerable to dry out after the first winter
winds come through, which will give you a brown winter lawn. So
for the sake of lawn maintenance, as winter approaches, begin
to gradually reduce the cutting height on your mower, until you
are almost, but not quite, shaving the lawn. However, be sure
to do this in several steps to avoid suddenly removing all the
green leaf tissue and damaging the turf.
Winter Lawn Maintenance Tip #2
In late fall, be sure to give your lawn a final fertilization.
Inactive during winter, your lawn won't use the fertilizers immediately.
Much like mammals bulking up for the cold, your lawn will store
these nutrients in its root system and take full advantage of
them at the first signs of spring.
Winter Lawn Maintenance Tip #3
Clear your lawn of any debris like logs, toys, or gardening equipment.
Once snow comes, these objects can smother your grass, damage
your turf, and leave your lawn more vulnerable to diseases.
Winter Lawn Maintenance Tip #4
Be sure to aerate your lawn before the first freeze. Thatch will
only get worse with the affects of winter. A good aeration, along
with a round of fertilization, will set the stage for bountiful
Winter Lawn Maintenance Tip #5
Winter is a great time to learn more about your garden and your
lawn in particular. Take this time to buy some lawn maintenance
books and research the Internet for tips on how to keep a beautiful
lawn and garden.