Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lawn Doctor Offers Top Five Tips for Do-It-Yourself Spring Lawn Care

/24-7/ -- Last year, 33 million American households took care of their own lawns rather than hiring a service. This year, according to a January poll conducted by the National Gardening Association, home gardening is expected to increase by 20 percent. Lawn Doctor, the nation's leading expert in lawn care since 1967, has compiled a Top Five list help new do-it-yourselfers achieve beautiful results.

"Many homeowners try to save money and tend to lawn care themselves, but end up skipping crucial steps that are routine for us to keep a lawn lush and healthy," said Lawn Doctor Director of Technical Services, John Buechner. "Spring lawns require extra care following harsh winter temperatures and dormant growth." Here are the Top Five Little Known Spring Lawn Maintenance Tips:

1. Grass-cycle: Simply allow grass clippings to remain on the lawn after mowing. It saves time on clean-up and allows for nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to return to the soil as clippings decompose. This can be done easily by removing the lawn mower bag and is the ultimate organic solution in lawn care.
2. Check thatch levels: This is the layer of dead plant material tightly interwoven between the roots and the tops of living grass. Excessive thatch is caused by too much fertilization and over-watering. Use a soil probe or hand shovel to loosen and remove any thatch more than one-half inch thick.
3. Apply pre-emergents: Spring is the ideal time to control undesirable grasses like crabgrass, goosegrass and foxtail before they start to grow and cause problems. Common pre-emergents are available at home repair and hardware stores; be careful to apply as instructed.
4. Optimize pH levels in soil: Soil pH levels reflect nutrients available in the soil to promote healthy lawn growth. A pH level of 6.5 is ideal for most turfgrasses, where readings under 6.0 indicate additional lime is needed and a reading above 7.0 indicates the soil lacks sulfur. Tests can be conducted by services like Lawn Doctor or by homeowners using kits available at most garden centers.
5. Check for diseases and bugs: Following a winter thaw, a grub-damaged lawn will show large, irregular sections of brown turf that will easily detach from the soil. Replace and re-establish the turf in those areas and then treat with a grub prevention product. Disease can be more difficult to diagnose; professionals should evaluate questionable areas to determine proper treatment.

Prevention is always less expensive than treatment when it comes to lawn care. For homeowners not comfortable or familiar with DIY lawn projects, professionals like Lawn Doctor can treat and maintain a lush green lawn for about the cost of a monthly cable bill.

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