Yes, we’re stuck at home during this trying time. So, why not be productive with your time?
If you’re like me, you appreciate the look of a nicely manicured lawn. Few weeds, an even cut, and pretty stripes from the mower make me smile with satisfaction.
So how do you get from a patchy, crab-grassy lawn to baseball-field quality? Here are a few things you can do this spring that have helped me be successful with mine.
/1/ Aerate your lawn
It’s easy to rent a gas-powered plug aerator, or you can purchase a pull-behind unit for under $200 you can use in the future. Aerating accomplishes a few things: it allows oxygen and water to penetrate the surface, it creates holes for new seed to fall into, and gaps for roots to spread, and it softens the soil, improving its quality for growing new grass.
This is one that’s easy to screw up. You do not need to purchase a ton of seed, or seed with all kinds of special additives. Go to the local farm/country store and get a bag of sun and shade mix. Use a spreader to distribute it evenly across the lawn. The seed will fall into the holes from the aeration, and the dirt clods will dissolve in the rain to cover them up so they will grow.
/3/ Apply a starter fertilizer
The key here is to follow the instructions on the bag. Use a quality starter fertilizer and do not apply too much. Do not use any fertilizer that also has a weed-killer or weed-preventer, because that will harm the new grass or prevent it from sprouting altogether.
/4/ Wait and watch
Be patient. After a few weeks, apply a first cutting at the highest setting. Cutting too low too quickly will kill the new grass and the roots will stop developing (photosynthesis 101).
/5/ Kill the weeds
Weeds will start to invade the lawn at this point, and now is the time to kill them. But instead of applying a weed & feed granular product, buy a liquid chemical called Tenacity. It seems expensive at first but it is highly concentrated and will last several seasons. Make sure you purchase a surfactant to help it stick to the weeds and a dye so you know where you’ve sprayed. This product will kill the weeds only and not the grass. Spread it with a pump sprayer and focus on areas where the weeds are, not the entire lawn. Repeat the process as necessary.
/6/ Apply a Humic Acid
Instead of applying more fertilizer, purchase the granular form of humic acid to spread on the lawn. The good news is you can’t put too much of this on the lawn and it won’t burn the grass, even though it’s labeled as an acid. This stuff is like black gold. It will green up your lawn and help the soil retain the nutrients it needs so the lawn can absorb them.
/7/ Use Kelp Seaweed Extract
Lastly, purchase a gallon of organic liquid kelp seaweed extract. Mix it properly and apply it to the entire lawn. Do this before the weather gets hot and it will protect your lawn from getting burned by the sun. Your neighbor’s lawn will be yellow in late July and yours will still be a bright green.
/8/ Aerate & Overseed Again
In the fall, aerate and overseed again. In the spring next year, you’ll have a lush green lawn with very few weeds, but be ready to spray some Tenacity and that’s really all you’ll need to do.
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