At last spring has arrived in east central Iowa! A lot of folks can't wait to get out and start working in their yards but we should proceed with caution. After the rough winter lawns are looking pretty beat up. Kimberly Janeway, Consumer Reports (CRs) writer, details 5 steps to help you in your spring clean-up:
1. Stay off wet grass: Serious damage can occur when we walk on our lawns after the spring melt. Our footsteps can damage the grass allowing weeds to grow. Wait until the ground is dry before walking across the yard to pick up sticks and trash.
2. Keep an eye on the trees in your yard: If a tree seems to be leaning to the side beware and in the summer, if you find off-colored leaves, leaves that are falling off, little bark and dead limbs are all signs of a sick tree. Since most tree roots are within a foot of the surface it's critical that you contract an expert to determine action steps to protect your home and your neighbors' property. To learn whether your trees are at risk of failing, find a certified arborist at the site of the International Society of Arboriculture, stated Janeway.
3. Sharpen those blades. Dull mower or tractor blades stress the grass, making it more prone to disease. Sharpen them and they’ll cut cleaner and faster. Our experts suggest having the blades sharpened and balanced three times during the growing season. Need a new mower or tractor? Consumer Reports have tested the newest mowers and lawn tractors. According to Janeway, CRs found that the Honda HRR2169VKA is among the top self-propelled gas mowers and at $400, it’s a CR Best Buy. The Husqvarna YT46LS, $2,300, lawn tractor is among the top picks and also a CR Best Buy.
4. Test your soil. Before you start spreading fertilizer on your lawn a soil test can tell you what might be lacking so you end up using the right amounts. A soil test, done by your local extension cooperative, for as little as 10 dollars. The test analyzes nutrients and offers a fix for your lawn, sated Janeway.
5. Find out which weeds are trouble. Weeds like dandelions, creeping charlie, among others are invasive and will replace grasses if left unattended. Creeping charlie grows underground and is difficult to kill. Clover is a beneficial plant that captures nitrogen from the air and stores it underground.
As a side note, keep the mower blade set a little higher to help protect your lawn. The shorter the grass, the more damage occurs. The longer blades protect the roots of the grass.
These 5 steps will help you create a beautiful, well nourished lawn!