Also check the soil's acidity, or pH, and adjust it as needed. Aerating “fluffs up” the soil that’s already there. Power raking will remove excess organic material and aerate the soil to allow your new lawn to take root, so you want to leave just the barest layer (about 1/4 inch) of thatch on the … If you can’t see them and they’re not going to take over, do they bother you? Small brown spots surrounded by dark green grass is a telltale sign of dog urine. Don't bother with animal repellents; they're of little or no use, according to the experts we interviewed. The amount of seed you should use varies based on the size of your lawn … Contains only SAFE and NATURAL ingredients -- NO manures or chemicals! One folk remedy is to kill ivy with a borax solution, but it is more harmful to desirable grasses and less effective than herbicides. What's more, that patch of dead grass is likelier to have been caused by your neighbor's dog than by fungus. It’s necessary to contact the company, let them know what you want, and await instructions. If you use either herbicide, be sure to wear rubber gloves, eye protection, long pants, closed shoes, and a long-sleeved shirt. You can kill moss with a spray, but unless you change the conditions that encourage it, back it will come. Maintain a healthy and vigorous lawn so that ground ivy has less chance of gaining a foothold. Watering too much or too little directly or indirectly causes most lawn problems in the region. Problem: Persistently thin, patchy grass Solution: Get a soil test. They’ll have moved out to more appealing quarters, deeper down or under a tree. And follow the directions precisely. These ground covers will also make mowing easier and protect trees from the occasional nicks that can allow disease to take hold. If it comes up easily, like rolling up carpet, you've got grubs. Not only will it be more functional, it may look better, too. Soil pH, measured on a scale from 0 to 14, is a measure of soil acidity, with 7 being neutral. The small, fuzzy flowers confirm its identification. Thatch is a … Turn the sprinklers off at the point of runoff, wait a half-hour for the water to soak in, and then run the sprinklers again. Milky Spore is safe, effective and easy to use. Then we spoke with lawn-care experts to learn which practices work best and why. Contains 20% acetic acid and includes yucca extract to work fast -- within a few hours! Most lawn grasses don't like shade, even "shade-tolerant" varieties. Odds are, you'll see those milky-white, worm-like creatures with brown heads and three pairs of legs curled into a C shape. Products with dithiopyr, prodiamine, or pendimethalin are typical chemical alternatives. Finally, and this one may come as a surprise, walking on the lawn when it is frozen or snowy will lead to compaction. It’s best to perform this test a day or so after a rain (or watering), depending of course on temperature, shade and so on. The EPA considers the latter two as possible human carcinogens, however. Teufel’s Compost provides a microbially active source of organic matter, humus and other important soil builders required by turf to thrive. Spots of dead grass will often repair themselves eventually. If you can squash but not break it, it has very poor structure. Teufel’s Compost provides a microbially active source of organic matter, humus and other important soil builders required by turf to thrive. Building new topsoil on an old lawn requires a more gradual approach, a combination of aeration, topdressing, and amending the soil. Compaction is so common that some parts of your yard probably have compacted earth unless you aerate and add organic matter regularly. If you don’t, you need to add compost, worm food. Even if your lawn already makes the neighbors green with envy, you're likely to face a few of those common lawn problems. Spread by spores, moss is an attractive ground cover that many homeowners cultivate. If your poor drainage area is a relatively small one and not too severe, you can lighten the soil by working in lots of organic matter. And we even checked up on the neighbors. Those professionals use piston-driven aerators with tines that move straight up and down, rather than the lightweight, less-effective aerators you'll find at many rental yards. When it comes to the lawn, less can be more (see Less Lawn More Life). The more you walk on the lawn, the faster the soil compacts. Well, it takes a little planning and patience! Aerate your lawn. Instead, look for typical causes such as too much water, improper mowing, and fertilizing at the wrong time of year. A few grubs aren't a big deal. Both will help minimize fertilizer in the runoff. Raise the pH of acidic soil with limestone, and lower the pH of soil that is too alkaline with sulfur, though the latter is a much slower process. This will protect the soil from erosion (from heavy rain) and compaction. Complete instructions are included, plus a chart of pH and NPK levels on over 100 plants. Roots should extend through all six inches of the core. To perform an easy, time-honored test for soil texture, you’ll need to dig about five inches of loose dirt from under your grass (and it’s important to dig, as what’s right on top may not resemble what’s three inches down) and put it in a quart-sized jar. Night watering promotes mold and fungus. Too Much Shade . A better way to do it and improve your lawn is to cut the grass and leave the clippings on the surface of the lawn… First, digging in bone-dry dirt is really really difficult. Now we get to the highly technical part of this test: scoop up a handful of dirt and feel it. Avoid spreading fertilizer before a heavy rain, and sweep any fertilizer that ends up on driveways and walkways back into the lawn. Sink the prongs of an aerator or garden fork into the soil about 5cm … How often do you mow? But you can test your soil's pH yourself using an inexpensive kit or meter. (For instance, if you picked the one spot where the neighbor’s dog peed yesterday.) Use granular products on wet grass, liquids on dry (but not droughty) grass. Fertilize southern grasses in the spring after dormant lawns are revived and green, then again in July or August. Over-seeding a grass lawn with clover seeds will help improve the existing grass and can be carried out from spring through until September, the warmer and wetter the quicker the seeds will germinate. Give your lawn its first cut as the weather starts to warm. That means you should probably cut your grass every 5 to 10 days on average, as 76 percent of you do. Answers to these questions will help you determine your lawn needs. How much time do you spend caring for your lawn and how do you spend it? While selective herbicides with a combination of 2,4-D, MCPP, and dicamba are effective chemical alternatives, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considers 2,4-D and MCPP possible human carcinogens. Organic content: worms and humus. If you like to barbecue, it may make sense to have a special outdoor cooking area that features brick, gravel, or something else that is fire resistant and can handle plenty of foot traffic. If the dirt runs loosely through your fingers, like sand, it has poor soil structure. The library and the internet can help you, but landscapers, bookstores, nurseries, neighbors, and local organizations can be great resources as well. Contains NO sewage sludge or bio-solids. If you’ve got twenty-five worms or more, you soil qualifies as “rich.” Congratulations! Silt will feel powdery when dry, and will hold together somewhat if you squeeze a lump or roll it out. A SAFE alternative to RoundUp® that's trusted by cities and municipalities. While you'll find a plethora of chemical herbicides and pesticides, the healthiest lawns resist weeds and pests without them. "Soil analysis is a small investment that pays big dividends; it doesn't take much work," explains Peg Hoovler of Lynchburg, Va., a Consumer Reports online subscriber who was recently certified as a master gardener by her local cooperative extension service. One of the simplest (though not necessarily easiest!) "By the time most fungus disease is obvious, the conditions that caused it have passed. How do you repair a crappy, scrappy, weed-infested lawn? Most grasses are best mowed to 2½ to 3½ inches high. How big is the lawn? If more than three-quarters is sand, you’re looking at very sandy soil. Then use shade-tolerant grasses at the edges of the area. 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