Back to Basics: Getting Your Lawn in Tip-Top Shape

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

If you’re like me, lawn care involves three things: Mowing, trimming, and weeding. Unfortunately, to get your lawn in tip-top shape, there are several other things that need to be done. Earlier this month, Dean Fosdick of the Associated Press, put together a short list of guidelines for folks to follow if they want to keep their lawn looking nice without forking over a lot of money.

Here are his tips:

  1. Know what your grass needs. Use the right turf in the right place at the right time. Consider climate when choosing seed mixtures and try to hold off until the fall to seed your lawn.
  2. Don’t cut it too short. Take just a 1/3 of an inch off the top to allow some of the natural nitrogen to make its way back into the soil. Longer clippings can cause stress on the grass.
  3. Aerate. By removing plugs of soil and thatch you are encouraging deep rooting, improving water, air and nutrient penetration and promoting the growth of healthy organisms.
  4. Don’t ignore our equipment. Keep the blades on your mower sharp and balanced.
  5. Avoid mowing in the same direction all the time to “prevent matting down the turf and inhibiting growth.”
  6. Fertilize in the fall if you live in northern cities. Doing so “gives grass an early push after the snow melts in the spring. If you live in the south, apply fertilizer before rain rolls in. Also, regardless of where you live, avoid high-nitrogen products.
  7. Irrigate frequently but not too heavily each time. Set the timer for three days per week at a quarter of an inch each time starting after Memorial Day.

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