Cleaning Up Your Yard

Posted by on May 16, 2014

mowingWith spring in full swing and summer right around the corner, it’s time to give your yard the care and attention it didn’t get during the winter. Where should you start?

The first thing you should do is look for any spots of unmelted snow on the grass of your yard, if you live in a region that has had snow recently. Spread the snow out so the snow melts faster. Allaboutlawns.com says it’s important to do this to avoid snow mold, which causes patches of dead and matted grass. The mold occurs when parts of your lawn are thawed but still buried by snow, often from drifts or piles of shoveled snow.

Then wait until your lawn has completely dried. It’s not good to work on your yard if it’s still soggy from melted snow, so wait until it starts to look dry, and it feels sturdy and dry when you walk on it. If it feels damp, wait a few days, then walk on it again to check if it’s dry.

Rake the yard and remove as many of the dead leaves, sticks, pine needles, bits of trash and any other debris you see. Collect them in garbage bags or a yard waste bag, if you want to invest in a reusable yard receptacle for the warmer months. If there are leaves all over your walkway and driveway, take a leaf blower and clear them. If you don’t want to throw away leaves and would rather put them to good use, consider purchasing a leaf mulcher. It turns leaf yard waste into rich mulch that you can use to fertilize a garden, flowerbed or other plants you may have.

If you have a dog that relieves himself on your lawn, scan your grass for any dead spots caused by urine or feces. They usually look like yellowy-brown patches. Remove those dead grass patches, then cover them with dirt and apply seed. To prevent additional waste stains in your yard, designate a separate area on your lawn for your dog to use. This minimizes the area that you have to pick up after. To keep more dead spots from forming, immediately clean up the waste and urine after your dog uses the bathroom, and use a hose to thoroughly rinse the spot. You could also train him to go on the dirt or the sidewalk instead, then clean it up immediately.

Aerate your lawn. It helps improve air circulation and increases the amount of water your lawn can retain. The best way to do this is with a lawn cultivator or aerator.

For lush and healthy-looking grass, don’t forget to apply fertilizer. The easiest way to do this is with a lawn spreader. There are a variety of types and sizes available, depending on the size of your lawn. You can purchase a smaller one if you live in a regular-size residential area or a larger one if you are on a large plot of land.

After your yard has had time to grow a bit, mow it. You could also do some trimming along the sides of your yard, with either an edge or string trimmer, to ensure that the length of your grass is uniform. If you have hedges, bushes and trees that are overgrown or need a routine cutting,  trim them as well.

As mentioned above, dead grass can be an annoying problem for any homeowner who strives to take good care of their lawn. But there are some simple and easy things you can do to get rid of the those pesky spots. Follow these simple steps:

1. Locate all the areas of dead grass in your yard. Walk through your lawn and do a thorough scan of the grass so you can find all brown/yellow spots.

2. Pull all weeds. Weeds can easily overrun your yard and kill your grass if you don’t contain them. It’s tough work, but worthwhile if you want to preserve your yard. So take the time and get rid of any weeds you notice.

3. Mow your grass. Lawn mowers, like this and this are great models to use for almost any small to mid-sized yard. Before you work directly on those dead spots, trim the lawn and any grass surrounding those dead patches. That way the new grass seeds can reach the soil once you plant them.

4. Remove the dead grass by raking it away. Loosen the soil under the dead grass, then smooth it.

5. Plant grass seed. Depending on how big the area of dead grass is, you can either distribute the fertilizer by hand or with a lawn spreader. An area of dead grass that measures several feet or larger would probably need a lawn spreader, that way the seed spreads evenly. If the patches are only a few inches in size, you can do it by hand.

6. Loosely cover the seeds with soil. Remember to water the newly planted patch carefully. Start with watering it three times a day, then when grass begins to sprout, cut down to once a day. Give it a few weeks, and your grass will start to fill out, and look healthier and more uniform with the new grass.

A number of things can cause grass to die, so it’s important that you pay attention to how you care for your lawn. Over-fertilizing and over-watering your grass can damage and possibly kill it. Be mindful of the amount of fertilizer you use, and only use the recommended amount. Likewise, it’s also important that you don’t water your lawn too much. As harmful as it is to not water your grass enough, it’s just as detrimental if you flood it, so be sure to only give your lawn as much water as it needs, never more.

Be sure to remove all grass clippings when you mow. The excess grass can smother freshly sprouting grass. A good idea would be to attach a bag to your mower or use a mower with a rear bag for easy clean-up of the trimmed grass.

Employing all of these tips will help ensure you have a presentable and tidy-looking yard for spring and summer.

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