I can’t believe it. I have already mowed the lawn thrice (always wanted to say that) and it’s going to be ready for a trim again before the weekend.
Honestly, I love mowing the lawn. I like the satisfaction of a trim front yard and always enjoy making designs with the mower. Unfortunately, I can never seem to get the Red Sox logo to come out right. Those guys are professionals.
Today, I’d like to ponder a bit about what you can be doing now (though some of you got a touch of snow last week) to ensure your lawn is in tip-top shape for the summer.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t toss this comment out there. I’m really not that big a fan of expansive lawns. Honestly, I think it is one of the more short-sighted (dumb?) things we do as Americans (humans?).
We spend all this time and effort creating a lovely, manicured lawn around our homes, only to then be forced to waste precious water (and time) caring for it. All for the purpose of generating something that came out of some silly magazine trying to sell us fertilizer. Consider hardscaping or generally eliminating lots and lots of your lawn and replace it with other more intelligent (easier to care for) plants. If you’re really feeling enlightened, plant a garden, silly!
Moving on from my little soap-box, the reality is many of you simply love the look of a lawn and want to ensure that yours is the greenest and lushest on the block. The first thing you should do this spring is rake.
I worked for a landscaping company down in Portsmouth for a couple of years and Mike, the owner, taught me countless lessons. One of them was to imagine you just woke up from a six-month nap and you were wearing a wet towel on your head the whole time.
You can imagine how amazing it would feel to have a course brush run through your hair and massaging your scalp. Treat your lawn to the same spa experience. Just don’t be too rough — it just woke up.
Since I don’t really care too much about how our lawn looks, I’m not all that concerned about dandelions and other weeds. I think they’re kind of pretty and read once that bees like them as well. If you aren’t aware of the critical importance of bees, do a little Googling.
If you want to rid yourself of these weeds, make sure you get the whole plant. I saw a neighbor using a hammer (no, really) to cut into the soil behind the dandelion and then push it forward (as though he were pulling a nail) to extract the roots and all. It is effective, albeit a little caveman-like. Of course, there are harsh chemicals that you can use as well, but just be careful. There are countless articles about the dangers of those toxic materials, for other plants, animals and you.
I was never exposed to aerating until I worked at the Owl’s Nest over in Thornton. They aerate at least once a year and if it’s good enough for a golf course, it is going to be good for your lawn as well. By poking small holes in the soil, it allows air, water and nutrients to reach down to the roots of the lawn more easily. This promotes healthier growth and a stronger plant.
“Aerating also spreads bits of soil around the lawn allowing those nutrients to find new homes,” Badger Realty agent Tara Peirce said. “Those bits are spread out and worked into the rest of the lawn within a couple mowings and showers.”
Speaking of the golf course, I was the irrigation “tech” when I was there. This meant ridiculously early mornings as well as countless hours of digging holes and repairing broken water lines across all 18 holes.
Watering your lawn can be a little tricky. Most of the articles out there tell you to water “deeply,” less frequently. This promotes stronger and deeper roots. The reason for the early morning watering is to minimize the evaporation during the heat of the day.
I also notice that whenever we get a good, solid rain followed by a bright, sunshiny day, my lawn seems to explode. Of course, in the early season at the golf course, we watered in the morning to melt the frozen dew on the greens.
The last thing you can do to spruce up your lawn is repair those dead or bare patches. Since I’m not excited about a faster growing lawn, I have only used this “seeding repair” technique once and it was last summer.
A friend of a friend purchased the bag, otherwise it would never have happened. I’m honestly amazed at how thick the lawn has come in after a full year and with literally no special care (or knowledge) by yours truly.
I spread out the seed mixture on the troubled area and watered the snot out of it for about three weeks. This year, somewhat comically, it is the greenest and thickest patch of the whole lawn. It honestly looks a little silly. But I can tell you, it works.
Use your “global” head when it comes to lawn care. Eliminate what you can and focus on a more sustainable yard (especially if you don’t have kids). If you still have a hankering for a lawn (or you’re selling and don’t have the budget or time to hardscape) some of the tips above might get you to that green oasis you’re after. Happy mowing.