Following are some steps any of us can take to help ensure a good quality lawn as part of your home and garden.
We believe in natural solutions to lawn care as we do for all gardening. Natural solutions are best for our planet, our homes and our gardens.
Lawn care is relatively easy to do and does not cost a great deal of time and money. Let us go over some steps through the year that YOU CAN DO!
*Late March, early April--give your lawn a good vigorous raking. As soon as the snow has retreated and your lawn is dry, rake the old debris, sand, twigs and other foreign matter off. This will help remove thatch and debris that might restrain grass growth as well as aerate the lawn. Air and light will also trigger lush growth. All of this helps to get your lawn greening and growing.
*Concerned about crabgrass? Had dandelion issues in the past? Apply corn gluten based natural fertilizers to your lawn when the forsythia is ablaze in yellow. This often occurs in mid April. Corn gluten will work for a few weeks to smother weed seed that has wintered over between your blades of grass. Crabgrass and early dandelion seeds are some of the more well known weeds that germinate from seed. Not concerned about such weeds? Go to the next step!
*Apply zero phosphorus Espoma Lawn Food (18-0-3) or Organic Espoma Lawn Food (7-2-2) to your lawn using a broadcast spreader. This can be done in April if you do not apply corn gluten products as described above. If you do apply corn gluten then plan on applying the Espoma product in May. We recommend twice yearly applications of this product. This Lawn Food has many natural ingredients that if it is consistently applied twice per year the soil in your lawn will show good steady improvement each year. Better quality soil means the roots of your lawn will grow deeper and stronger. Roots that are "deeper and stronger" will help your lawn to much better survive our cold winters and dry summers. Stronger healthier lawns will also help crowd out weeds. In place of this product we often recommend Plant Booster Plus by Organica, Kelp Booster by Organica, Nature's Turf by North Country Organics or Pro Gro by North Country Organics.
*Mow properly. Recycling your grass clippings by leaving them on the lawn will provide a great deal of your lawn's nutrient needs for the season. Keep your mower blades sharp. In most cases, lawns should be mowed no lower than 2.5 inches and even higher in the summer. The last mowing or two of the season should be short as better air circulation in colder and wetter weather is a good thing.
*Summer weeds bugging you badly? Let us help you with some good common sense solutions to your situation. In most cases weeds can be controlled sensibly and this does not have to take much time or money.
*Time for that second application of zero phosphorus Espoma Lawn Food (18-0-3) or Espoma Organic Lawn Food (7-2-2) to your lawn using a broadcast spreader around Labor Day. Some years the time really flies by and it has been Thanksgiving before I get that second application down. That is okay! To repeat: We recommend twice yearly applications of this product. This Lawn Food has many natural ingredients that if consistently applied twice per year the soil in your lawn will show good steady improvement each year. Better quality soil means the roots of your lawn will grow deeper and stronger. Roots that are "deeper and stronger" will help your lawn to much better survive our cold winters and dry summers. Stronger healthier lawns will also help crowd out weeds.
Many experts advocate applying Corn Gluten for a second time around Labor Day as this time of year brings much weed seed. If you are greatly concerned about crabgrass and dandelions then Labor Day indeed is a good time to apply Corn Gluten. We then recommend your second application of Espoma Lawn Food later in September.
*Lawns do best with a neutral pH. Most of our soils tend to be acidic. We do recommend you conduct a pH test of your lawn at least every other year. If lime is needed to "sweeten the soil" or raise the pH then we recommend a calcium based lime such as Fast Acting Lime by Encap. Let us help you with your soil test and the proper amount of lime. Again lime can be easily spread with a broadcast spreader.
*Grow the Right Grass! We offer the Bonide grass seed series as a good balanced offering for northeastern lawns. More and more of us have tried and really like Bonide's Heat and Drough Tall Fescue grass seed mix. 'Heat and Drought" contains 3 very hardy blends of Tall Fescue and has a rich green look. Tall Fescue roots grow very deep which means your lawn will look great with less water, show more insect and disease resistance, and endure the cold winter temperatures better.
I often over seed parts of my lawn that are getting a little thin. This is easily accomplished by scratching the soil, laying the seed down, scratching the seed in and covering the seed with compressed paper pellets such as Grass Seed Accelerator or Penn Mulch. These pellets expand and provide a nice thin cover to the seed. Water daily and you will have thick grass soon!
April 6, 2010