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Four Steps to a Green Lawn, All Summer Long
By: Jaci Buscher | Date July 28, 2014
Despite getting much more rainfall than expected this summer and managing to steer clear of the ever
existent drought, many Colorado homeowners are still struggling to keep their lawns lush and green.
Our intense sun, dry heat, and not to mention busy lives make it difficult to give our lawns all the
attention it truly requires. However, if you can manage to work these four maintenance routines into
your schedule, your lawn will be sure to reward you.
1. Fertilize your lawn twice a year, in the spring and midsummer. If you want to use a
pre-emergent herbicide to keep weed seeds from germinating, you are best off applying the
pre-emergent separate from the fertilizer instead of using a mixed fertilizer/pre-emergent. Apply
fertilizer to the ground right after mowing and when the grass is dry. For equal distribution, use a
spreader set at a low setting and go over the area several times instead of only doing one pass on a
high setting. Once done, water your lawn to get the fertilizer to soak in.
2. Take care of your most important tool: your lawnmower. Summer after summer we use and
abuse our lawnmowers yet get angry at the slightest delay when we try to start it. Proper cleaning
and maintenance is especially important at the end of summer when you are putting your mower
away for winter. To begin with, anytime you work on your lawnmower, disengage the spark plug.
Next, drain the gasoline and oil into separate containers using a turkey baster and dispose of them
properly (contact your local auto maintenance shop for instructions). This drainage should be done
to prevent the fluids from thickening during the winter and clogging your carburetor. Finally, if you
notice that you are having difficulty starting your mower, replace the spark plug and, if you have
never done so, take your mower to a professional to get your blade sharpened. A sharp blade will
allow the motor to run more smoothly and work more efficiently.
3. Water in the early morning for best results. The morning is best because it gives the ground time
to dry out before nightfall, thus making it less likely that your lawn will grow fungus. Experts also say
that it is better to water for a longer period of time only a couple times per week than to lightly water
every day because deep soaking loosens the soil and allows roots to grow more deeply rather than
being restricted to growing only at the surface. In general, an actively growing lawn requires 1 to 1.5
inches of water per week, but that might be a little low for us considering the clay we have for dirt.
4. Get rid of those pesky brown spots! It's no secret that most brown spots are caused by dog urine,
unless your lawn really has just been fried by the sun. The reason dog urine turns your yard brown is
that it is high in nitrogen content, the same chemical found in fertilizer. More or less, your dog is
over-fertilizing and burning your yard. To counteract this reaction, water down the area within eight
hours to dilute the high nitrogen level. Spots that have already turned brown can be revitalized using
a grass repair kit.
Professional gardener, P. Allen Smith, was recently featured on the Today show and says that he uses
these tips to keep his yard green all summer long. We can't guarantee that these tips will work just as
well on your lawn, but we do know that it is surprising how far a little extra tender, loving care can go
with a yard!