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Bringing Up Baby
Keeping Your Lawn in the Pink

Green lawnAs spring arrives, the days get longer and the chill leaves the air -- and that's your signal that it's time to help your lawn transition to spring.

Spring is often thought of as a time of new birth, and in fact, taking care of your lawn is a lot like taking care of a baby ... you spend hours on care, and countless dollars.

But after all, you'll do anything for your “beautiful baby.” So as spring arrives, do your yard a favor and “baby” it.

When your lawn wakes, feed and treat. In the winter, your lawn goes dormant. So how do you know when your lawn wakes up? The grass will change from brown to green and start growing again. This spring growth spurt draws on the lawn's nutrient reserves of the winter. Feeding your lawn with a slow-release fertilizer replenishes those nutrients. Also, give your lawn a treat -- or rather pre-treat with a pre-emergence herbicide to conquer weeds before they start.

Say “ah!” Check-up time. As the lawn breaks dormancy, examine it for signs of disease and garden insects. The faster you identify and correct problems, the less stress on the lawn. If there is any damage, such as bare spots, now is a good time to patch the lawn by replacing the sod and soil in the affected areas.

Time for a haircut. When the lawn first wakes in spring, mow at minimum height to enhance turf density. But as it grows, keep your grass type in mind: Different types of grass require different cutting heights. Cool-season grasses should be cut at 3 1/2 inches, while warm-season grasses are cut at 2 inches. St. Augustine grass does best when cut at 3 inches. Also, check your thatch layer -- a little thatch prevents ground compaction and holds moisture in the soil. But if thatch is deeper than 1/2 inch, dethatch and aerate.

Safety first! With a new lawn, you're always on the move, but take a break to make sure your new environment is safe. After all, the world can be a dangerous place if you aren't prepared. So when you pull your tools out of the storage shed, make sure they're in good working order. Replace fluids and spark plugs. Take your lawn mower into the dealer for an annual tune-up. And John Deere recommends checking all safety guards and shields.

Hiring professional lawn care. If you're short on time, hire a lawn care service. Before choosing, investigate a company's track record by calling references or the Better Business Bureau. Make sure the company is licensed -- most states require it. Also, ask if the company is affiliated with a professional lawn care association. These groups help members stay current on new lawn care developments. And you and your professional should agree on your lawn care goals. The company should tell you how it plans to take care of your lawn and what you can do to help.

So pamper your lawn this spring. With a little love and care, the result will be one beautiful baby.


Courtesy of ARA Content

More about lawn care around the Web:

Love the Garden - Lawn Care

This Old House - Lawn Care

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