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Springtime Lawn Care

by Francine Huff, All About Lawns Columnist

Good lawn care should be practiced year round. But if you're just getting started cultivating your own field of green, here are some tips to help with your springtime lawn care.
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  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Planting Grass Seed

Doing lawn maintenance in the spring gives your grass time to grow before the hot summer months begin. If you're planting grass seed, you'll want to complete that by mid-April. Planting Grass Seed much later than that may not get you the results you want.  Once you're done with grass seeding, you'll need to gently rake the seed into the soil. It's also important when Planting Grass Seed to keep the soil moist so that the seed doesn't dry out.

Filling in Your Lawn

If you have bare patches on your lawn, grass seeding in early April can help fill them in. You can also use sod to fill in bare patches. Sodding can be done any time of the year as long as the ground is not frozen. You'll need to prepare the soil ahead of time and water the sod regularly to keep the roots from drying out. Heavy activity should be avoided on sod, but as it grows it will need to be mowed.

When to Fertilize Lawn

Generally, you should avoid fertilizing your lawn during the spring because using nitrogen fertilizers tends to stimulate development of the shoots more than growth of roots. But if you believe it's necessary, be sure that you know how to fertilize your lawn. If you use fertilizer, apply only a quarter of what the instructions on the bag say you should use. "This means that if the fertilizer bag says it will cover 5,000 square feet, it should cover 20,000 square feet," according to the University of Illinois Extension. Save the full application of fertilizer for mid-May if you plan to water your lawn during the summer months.

Fighting Lawn Weeds

Chemicals to fight crabgrass can be applied during the early spring. You may need to make a second application in mid-May to control late germinating crabgrass and other lawn weeds. Using crabgrass-fertilizer products should be avoided since they can stimulate the shoots instead of allowing roots to grow to their full potential.

Take time to properly prepare and maintain your lawn. Once your lawn begins to grow, make sure you mow it regularly with sharp blades to get a clean cut. Grass should be mowed once it has grown to 3 to 4 inches--that way you won't have to cut off too much and will have a lush field of green to enjoy.

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About the Author
Francine L. Huff is a freelance journalist and the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows.



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