Every year I engage in lawn warfare against Crabgrass, Dandelions and other weeds that want to ruin my dreams of owning a tiny golf course. But this year I spent hours and hours of research learning from the best lawn and garden experts in America. Finally I have the knowledge to create the perfect lawn and help others do the same using this Expert Guide to Lawn Care made possible by all the pro’s who posted their lawn secrets all over the internet.
Background On My Weed Situation
I bought a house from someone that never used a single bag of weed killer, fertilizer, or a herbicide of any type. And I’m pretty sure my lawn never experienced the rejuvenation a lawn detacher and a core aeration tool can provide. My horrible patches of crabgrass, grassless dirt patches, and unruly growth of dandelions are the results of an uncared lawn. But I finally understand what to do, and now you will to, so keep reading!
I’ve got really great news for anyone who wants to solve their lawn and garden weed problem and limit their research. You and I are going to make our lawns great again, and we’re going to do it the same way the best lawn care professionals in the industry do it, minus the small fortune you have to pay good companies for.
If you don’t know me yet, let me just give you a quick introduction. I have a small problem that I refer to as OCD research. In short I solve my problems by spending hours and hours at the computer until I ocme up with the holey grail plan, and this time I need to nip my weed problem in the bud and I’m not referring to Snoop Doggs or Snoop Lions weed problem, I’m talking about Crabgrass and Broadleaf scum nicknamed dandelion.
How-to Prevent Weeds from Growing On Bare Soil?
You can apply a weed-suppressing membrane which is a covering that prevents weeds from germinating. This method only works for areas where you don’t want any growth, because it prevents any sunlight from reaching the ground.
Can You Use A Torch to Burn Weeds?
Did you know that you can use weed torches to burnout large patches of weeds? Most weed torches use Propane, Mapp, or Map-Pro gas as the fuel.
USES: Sidewalks, driveways, walkways, large patches of weeds. Gravel driveways, Cracks in concrete or pavements where weeds are coming through.
Lawn Weed Burning Tips: You mighty want to use a weed whacker first to remove the large leafy part of the weed. Then you’ll go back with the weed torch and burn the stem and the root of the weed. This will give you the same effect as using Roundup chemical weed killer.
A few days later is when you’ll really see the effect of the burning you did. For best results you will need to burn the root out, which is why I recommend that you use a weed whacker first.
Lawn Program Recommended by Professional Landscapers
This will take a lawn that’s in really rough shape to a lawn that’s in fairly good shape by the end of the year. If you keep up with the program, your lawn is going to look like a mini gold course in no time!
How To Startup a Lawn In Spring
Step One (April 6th)
First thing you want to do is get some grass seed like the one linked below and just spread it out on the bare spots and generally sprinkle it all around. Since your lawn is already started this is the first step most commercial landscapers do during their spring visit for their customers.
Grass Seed in Thin Spots
Scotts Turb Builder Sun and Shade Mix Grass Seed $66.98 for 20 lb.
Use Starter Fertilizer even though your lawn is already started. Think of starter lawn fertilizer as your early spring turf starter.
Lesco Starter Fertilizer 50 lb. $38.98 HD (18-24-12)
The reason it’s recommended for early spring lawn tune-ups is because it has a lot of nitrogen in it, which is really good for the soil. Also it has Potassium and Phosphorus which are 2 other elements that are vital for your lawn to grow, even if you don’t use any grass seed.
Hybrid Organic Program https://youtu.be/Ttwtb54LOrY by The Lawn Care Nut
Smartly use synthetic fertilziers and some chemicals like week killers to get the lawn in shape. The idea is to get the lawn thick and healthy. The end goals is to get it to be 100% organic.
Step Two: April 26th Lawn should look a lot greener by now.
Most labor intensive of entire year/
- John Deer Landscapes – Dimension .10% Fertilizer using broadcast spreader/ You don not apply it in shaded areas because it doesn’t get crabgrass there. The Dimension will be activated once we get some moisture from rain to washing to create that barrier to prevent crabgrass.
Organic Lawn Fertilizer
Ringer Organic Lawn Fertilizer by Safer Brand – 10 – 0 -6: $75.99 for 2 bags covers 10,000 sq.ft.= .25 acre.
Pellet size is consistent so that it works in a homeowner spreader very well. Organics are going to build the soil. Healthy soil equals healthy support of healthy lawn. Fertilizer is not lawn food, plants make their own food through photosynthesis. The best way to support it is to get healthy soil. Organics work because microorganisms in the soil break down organic fertilizers (like earthworms) and their waste helps create healthy soil that helps to increase plant health and vigor overall.
Ringer can be purchased in stores now like Walmart, but if you can’t find it near you, you can order it online with free shipping.
Step Three: Weed Control
Use a pump sprayer and follow the instructions on your weed control liquid. Spray the weeds where they are and turn it off where they aren’t. Walk the lawn in a grid pattern and keep the nozzle at knee height. Then spray fine mist onto the weeds but don’t lower the nozzle to drench the weeds, what you want instead is to mist the area. Also it’s important to keep walking in straight lines and don’t get distracted by surrounding areas, only spray the area your walking. You’ll eventually get to those other areas.
Since these are harsh chemicals, make sure you use protective gear such as rubber gloves, rubber boots, safety glasses, long sleeved shirt and long pants. Don’t be one of those people who has to go through something horrible before they learn to use protective gear.
Weed and Feed Products
Just say no because you won’t have weeds everywhere so it’s best to spray the areas that do get weeds. Weed and feed products will not have an organic fertilizer in it.
Integrated Pest Management is when you only spray for weeds where you have to and not where they aren’t growing.
Step Three Continue June 8th
All About Organic Fertilizer like Milorganite
4% Iron. Iron is what gives bluegrasses that blueish tint. We want the organic materials to get into the soil and increase soil biotic activity. At this point you’re not looking to boost your nitrogen levels because by this point your soil will have plenty of nitrogen.
They want 14 – 15 pound of Milorganite for every 1000 square feet of lawn space. You won’t need to do that because we have already established good nitrogen levels so 5 pound per 1000 sq. ft. is a good ratio. This will boost iron and the organics in the soil during this time of year.
If you had a lot of weeds that were killed that left your lawn with lots of bare spots, you should put down the starter fertilizer from step one again as long as you plan to irrigate regularly once it gets dry in the summer. Put down at 3 lbs. per 1000 square feet right on top of the Milorganite.
With irrigation you will want to do it at least 2 to 3 times per week with a half inch of water each time. This will help you with the thickening process. Remember this is for people who killed so many weeds that they retained a lot of bare spots. If you don’t have a lot of bare spots, you will skip this step.
Dealing with Grubs:
Always try to put down the least amount of chemicals on a property but if you do need to control grubs, buy products that have MERIT as the active ingredient.
CrabGrass – There’s two ways to control weeds in your lawn.
Pre-Emergent Control: Is the healthiest option and generally thought to be the best option. It involves spreading a chemical with a broadcast spreader prior to germination each year. Usually this is early spring or first weeks in March for those living in southern states.
Post-Emergent Control: If you missed the original opportunity to apply pre-emergent in early spring you can use a selective or non-selective herbicide. A selective herbicide will list all the weeds that it will kill, while a non-selective Herbicide will kill everything it comes into contact with.
Most professionals would recommend a selective herbicide because they generally have better formals to treat your lawn for weeds. You can think of non-selective herbicide as a plant poison that will not discriminate what it kills. It has its uses, but generally not on a lawn you’re trying to turn into a mini golf course.
Liquid Weed Control
Timing: Wait till temperatures at night are above 45 degrees and dandelions and other weeds are at their main blooming period.
Lawn Core Aeration
The number one thing to do to your lawn in the fall is to core aerate it. A lawn core aeration machine goes all over your lawn and removed cores 2 to 3” deep. Core aeration reliefs compaction, allows water and nutrients to get down into the soil. While you have the holes there, it’s a great time to broadcast compost across the top, because it will go down into the holes and improve the soil. Experts say its best to do a lawn core aeration in the Fall because if you do it in the Spring you’ll have nothing but a lawn full of weeds.
As lawns age or undergo heavy traffic the soil will become compacted. This will prevent water, nutrients and oxygen which will prevent healthy growth. Make sure your lawn is mowed and remove any loose clippings beforehand.
Lawn Dethatching Step 1 Early Spring
Dethatching your lawn is a great way to wake up your lawn in early spring. Use a power rake or a power lawn dethatcher to pull up all the dead grass that can choke your lawn from growing. These machines don’t know what’s new growth and what’s dead, that’s why it is important to dethatch your lawn before your grass begins to grow again. You can rent a detaching machine from your local Home Depot or tool rental store.
Once you’re done with the machine you’re going to have to rake up all the thatch and get rid of it. Most people will use a wheelbarrow during the cleanup process and add the thatch to their compost pile.
After you have dethatched your yard, it the best time to use lime, fertilizer, and grass seed.
The Importance of Adding Lime to Your Soil
Lime is used to treat the acidity of the soil. In areas like New England the acidity level of the soil is traditionally high (acid soil), that’s why lime application is recommended in early spring right after you dethatched your lawn. This will make your soil more neutral, which will allow the grass to properly absorb the nutrients in the soil.
You have to do a soil test on your lawn to find out the actual ph levels of your soil. Once you have your ph, you’ll know exactly home much lime to put down as well as fertilizer.
Mowing Your Lawn by Grass Type
I have to admit that when it came time to identify my grass type, I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t be able to figure it out.
Every different grass type has a specific cutting height, so you will have to adjust your lawn mower. This is why it’s super important to buy either a self-propelled lawn mower or riding mower with an adjustable deck height. Stay away from any mower that doesn’t allow you to make height adjustments.
it needs to be cut to, so that it grows healthy, green and drought resistant. The general rule of thumb is that you should cut 1/3 of the total height if you have a mixed grass lawn.
Cutting your grass to short will cause it to yellow and burn from the sun. Cutting your grass with a dull mower blade will cause your grass to be infected with a disease. If you’re going through a heatwave, leave your grass taller so that it can better resist the drought period.
This Old House Video – How to Maintain a Lawn Episode
- Lawn Core Aerating
- Lawn Dethatching
- Soil Testing
- Lime Application
- Fertilizing & Seeding
Lawn Plug/Core Aerator Tool for Riding Lawn Mowers Available at Home Depot Demonstration Video