Garden Spot – Healthy Lawn

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Perfect Healthy Lawn

Did you know the perfect healthy lawn can also help the environment? Healthy lawns do indeed provide feeding ground for birds that find it a rich source of insects, worms, and other food.  Thick grass prevents weed seeds from finding dirt to root, prevents soil erosion, filters contaminants and absorbs many types of airborne pollutants. Grass is also highly efficient at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, a process that helps clean the air.

If we care for our lawns in an environmentally sensible way we can make a bigger impact than you might think. Just imagine your lawn is only a small piece of land when compared to all the lawns across the USA.  Because there are variations of grass and diseases I would recommend that you contact your local Cooperative Extension Service or Master Gardener organization. These experts are familiar with your climate, growing conditions, plant and animal life in your area, and will be better able to answer your specific questions. To find the ones nearest you, please follow these links:

Cooperative Extension Services

Master Gardeners

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Good soil is the foundation of a healthy lawn. To grow well, your lawn needs soil with good texture, some key nutrients, and the right pH, or acidity/alkalinity balance.

Since it’s not realistic to dig out enough dirt to bring the ideal soil in for that perfect lawn you can improve it by periodically adding organic matter like compost tea compost, manure or grass clippings. Organic matter helps to lighten a predominantly clay soil and it helps sandy soil retain water and nutrients.  If you have clay soil that makes it harder for air and water to penetrate the grass roots, loosen compacted soil by aerating it several times a year. This process involves pulling out plugs of soil to create air spaces, so water and nutrients can again penetrate to the grass roots.  This is easily done by wearing spiked aerator shoes or a walk behind aerator.

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Yellow Thatched Yard

 De-thatching Your Lawn

In the picture to the right while playing with the dog he is all over the yard kicking up the lawn to show the the need to dethatch.  If you don’t have dogs and kids playing in the yard kicking it up you can run your fingers through the grass and grabbing it gently, if a yellowish, dead looking grass comes up you need to thatch your grass before reseeding. De-thatching will increase availability of nutrients in your grass, as well as enhance oxygen levels in the soil.  You can either purchase a thatching rake for a small yard, purchase a dethatcher  for larger area or compare the cost of renting one.  After you have completed the thatching, re-seed your lawn with local well performed grass seed as not everyone can grow Kentucky Blue grass.  Re-seeding is best done in the fall month.

Note:  Some tools are necessary tools to own whereas others you just need once in awhile and can rent.  Watch sales as this time of year gardening supplies are on clearance.

If all else fails:

Did you know that a lawn with 15 percent weeds could look practically weed-free to the average observer? Even a healthy lawn is likely to have some weeds or insect pests. Captain Jacks DeadbugBut it will also have beneficial insects and other organisms that help keep pests under control so spraying insect killer is not always the right answer.  However, if you cannot control the bad insects any other way I personally use an organic pesticide like Captain Jacks Deadbug.  Captain Jack foots Deadbug Brew contains Spinosad (spin-OH-sid), a naturally occurring soil dwelling bacterium that was collected on a Caribbean island from an abandoned rum distillery in 1982.

Sometimes no matter what you do there is a patch of grass that just won’t grow, rather than fight a loosing battle get creative using birdbaths or other yard sculptures.  Grass does not do well under pine trees, so plant acid loving plants such as azaleas, or add a bird bath and garden art.


Happy Gardening ~


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