Tuesday, May 3, 2011

5 Tips for a greener lawn

Summer time is just around the corner!  It’s time to get your yard ready for the weekend BBQ’s.  We all want a yard that all the neighbors envy.  So unless you are going the easy route and having a yard of astro turf, here are 5 tips to a greener lawn.

1 -   Mix up a secret tonic: Mix one can of soda, one can of beer, ½ cup of dishwashing liquid (not the antibacterial brands), ½ cup of household ammonia and ½ cup of mouthwash, pours the mixture into a 10-gallon sprayer and apply it to the lawn twice a month. How does it work?  The ammonia promotes growth and greens the lawn and the mouthwash kills bugs and grubs.

2 -   Aerate the lawn: Aerating is an often-overlooked aspect of lawn care. It does take a bit of extra time but it's worth the effort.  The soil beneath the lawn becomes compacted, making it more difficult for water and fertilizer to reach the roots of the grass. Aerating also lets oxygen into the soil, which can improve root growth. Not sure if the lawn needs aerating? Insert a screwdriver into a small area of the lawn, if it's difficult to penetrate, you need to aerate.  Pay special attention to high traffic areas like where soil tends to be more compacted.  You can find manual aerating tools at home improvement centers that are perfect for small lawns. If your lawn is too big to aerate manually, consider renting a power aerator or hiring a lawn-care firm to tackle the task.

3 -   Patch damaged spots: If you've got kids or pets then you've probably also got a few damaged spots in the lawn. In order for the new grass to blend with the existing lawn, it's important to patch the damaged spots as soon as possible. Start by removing the dead patches, loosening the existing soil and adding compost. Patch the damaged spot with grass seed or a fresh piece of sod.

4 -   Mow at the right height: Your lawnmower blade has different settings. Avoid the lowest setting, which keeps the grass looking like a military-issued crewcut. Instead, set the blade to 3 inches (the highest setting) to promote deep root growth. The deeper the roots, the thicker and healthier the grass and a taller lawn helps shade the soil and slows the water from evaporating. 

5 -   Sprinkle Epsom salts: Epsom salts help seeds germinate, increase chlorophyll production, deters slugs and other pests and helps supplement regular fertilizer by providing micronutrients to the lawn. The Epsom Salt Council recommends applying 3 pounds for every 1,250 square feet of lawn area using a spreader.

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