-by Lou Manfredini, Ace’s Home Expert Ace Hardware Tips & Advice
Your lawn can look “professionally kept” without your checkbook looking like you professionally keep it. Follow these steps for a greener lawn .
- Clear away dead grass and debris. You can do this with a leaf rake or by renting a power rake if you have a rather large yard. When you’re done with this step, your shoulders will ache and your lawn will actually look worse. But don’t worry – it’s all part of the plan.
- Choose some grass seed. Be sure to get a high-quality weed-free seed blend. Choose the best one for your yard based on how much sunlight and traffic your lawn gets.
- Overseed the lawn. Most of this project will require the use of a spreader. A broadcast spreader throws the seed from the hopper in a circular pattern. A drop spreader works just as it sounds. A 20-inch drop spreader will drop a 20-inch wide path. You generally have more control of where the contents goes when using a drop spreader, but for covering rather large areas, a broadcast spreader makes the most sense. Cover the thinned-out lawn with the seed mix you chose.
- A starter fertilizer can help new seed grow healthy. Check the label to apply at the recommended timing after overseeding. After the fertilizer has been spread, sprinkling peat moss over the lawn can help keep the seed moist and also keep the birds from eating all the seed. Spread it by hand or use the spreader.
- Try to keep new seed moist to help it germinate. As the new grass takes hold, deep, infrequent waterings are more effective than short, daily sprinklings. That’s because the roots of weeds grow only in the first two to three inches of soil.
Within about two weeks, you’ll begin to see the new grass coming up. You’ll also see some bare spots, which you’ll want to add seed to by hand and cover with some peat moss to fill in. After about a month the new grass will be able to stand up to mowing. Set your mower to a higher setting, leaving about 2 to 3-inches of blade height on the grass. After this initial cut, you can go back to your usual mowing height.
To maintain your healthy lawn, follow a typical four step fertilization schedule:
- Early Spring (Feb.-April) – Use a “Step 1” product or fertilizer with crabgrass preventer. You’ll help your lawn with early growth and root development.
- Late Spring (April-June) – Weeds are most actively growing around this time. A weed and feed fertilizer helps prevent weeds off your turf.
- Summer (June-Aug.) – Lawn food helps your grass stand up to drought, traffic, heat stress and disease.
- Fall (Oct.-Nov.) – A winterizing fertilizer helps grass store up nutrients and gives roots a little boost. So your lawn will be even healthier and easier to care for the next spring.