Now that spring has officially arrived, many residents are faced with an uninviting sight of a ghastly lawn. Many different services and drastic measures can be taken, but repairing it can be easy, and within a budget. This is a guide to anyone who wants to repair a patchy or possibly dead lawn. This seemingly mammoth project can be simple or really difficult depending on the way the task is approached. This guide will cover basic, beginner questions, as well as tips and advice for success. Hopefully, the result will be a thick, lush lawn that will bring pride in any homeowner to create lasting memories for a lifetime.
Step One: Testing your Soil
The absolute first step in creating a lawn to be proud of is to start with a solid foundation. According to Consumer Reports (2008), the most important task in growing a healthy lawn is to first test the soil it is going to grow in. Soil tests are essential to healthy lawns.” Do one at least every three years to see if the soil has gone sweet or sour.” There are several ways to do this, one is by buying a test from the local hardware center, but according to Consumer Reports (2008), this can be unreliable, and the results are never as accurate as they should be. “Private labs and local cooperative extensions are often a better choice; the latter charge as little as $15…they will measure pH levels, as well as the presence of nutrients such as phosphorus and potassium. They’ll also provide specific instructions for treatment.” With that kind of direction and advice, paying the $15 fee is well worth the time and trouble to mend common mistakes. Find a local lab or cooperative extension in your area by going to www.extension.org
Step Three: Chemical Treatments
The next step of treatment can be as easy or hard as you make it. It may be that your soil is labeled acidic, in which case according to Consumer Reports (2008), this soil type is common throughout the Northeast and Midwest. This can be fixed by adding lime, and it is recommended to find lime in the pelletized form due to its ease to spread and not blow away on windy days (Consumer Reports, 2008). If the soil happens to be alkaline soaked, as in many Southern states, putting down sulfur will balance the soil levels back to normal ranges (Consumer Reports, 2008). In any case the important thing is that the lawn needs nutrient enriched soil, and in most cases typical soil does not have an unlimited supply of nutrients. It may be that there were never enough nutrients in your soil to promote a healthy lawn to begin with.
Step Four: Fertilize
Fertilization is as important to a growing lawn, as water is to a growing body. An article published by Consumer Reports (2006), concludes that the most important step in fertilization is doing it at the correct time. “Poor timing with fertilizer can make any lawn more susceptible to disease instead of feeding and fortifying it” (Consumer Reports, 2006). The advice given in this article is to fertilize northern lawns primarily in the fall and southern lawns primarily in the spring to sustain vigorous growth. This direction does not mean only fertilize during directed times of the year, but to also do so according to brand packaging, as well as individual lawn needs. According to Consumer Reports (2008), “Soil test results also indicate the mix of fertilizer you’ll need to boost the soil’s nutrients.” This information is just a guide, not a must follow. Fertilizing will be a trial and error process, but once the correct combination is found it will be as simple as watering. A piece of priceless advice would be to never over fertilize. Results of this will set back the health of any lawn for an entire season. If any questions should arise, the local do-it-yourself centers will be familiar with the soil and grass located in the area. They receive a report from a local source that details specific soil conditions so that the correct products for that area