Spring Garden Tips

Lawn Recovery

For 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:

SPRING: Basic winter cleanup. Rake up old leaves, remove debris and sticks. Fertilize and then water. Mow regularly.

SUMMER: Mow regularly as necessary.

FALL: 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.

For 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.

SPRING: 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.

SUMMER: Mow regularly as necessary. Trim around edges and landscaping.

FALL: 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 storage.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS: Rake, trimmer, mulching mower, spreader, lawn food (or a weed-and-feed product as necessary), hose and sprinkler.

Seeding 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.

Find Out What's Causing the Problem

There's always 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.

If 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.

If 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.

Make 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.

Pruning 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.

Pruning trees

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.

When 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.

Pruning shrubs

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 Lawn Tips

  • 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 warms up.
  • Lawns 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.

Maintenance Tip #1
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.

Besides, new 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 spring growth.

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.