Basic Lawn Care Tips

A lush, green lawn is one of the pleasures of summer. Soft under foot and soothing to the eye, healthy grass can stand up to a surprising about of warm weather abuse from kids, pets, sun and drought. Fortunately, basic lawn care tips can keep your grass strong and resilient all season long.

Seeding and Patching

If your lawn is thin or patchy, use a high quality seed to restore thickness. For small bare spots, there are combination seed, fertilizer and mulch kits available. These all-in-one products can be used on small bare at any time during the growing season. Larger areas can be overseeded using a broadcast spreader during cooler weather in early spring or fall. Overseeding is used to fill in thin spots and improve the overall vitality and thickness of the lawn. Thicker lawns hold moisture and crowd out weeds. To prevent dog urine spots, flush the area with water each time your dog urinates. This is a more effective--and cheaper--alternative to urine acidifiers.


The best time of day to mow is late afternoon or early evening. This gives the grass blades time to recover from the trauma of cutting. recommends that "most grasses should be maintained at a height of about 2 inches during the spring and fall and at 2½ to 3 ½ inches during the hot summer months." Longer grass blades shade the soil to reduce water loss and weed growth. Cut no more than one-third of the grass blade length to prevent thatch buildup and protect the tender undergrowth from the scorching sun.


Early morning watering discourages fungal diseases and conserves water. Deep, infrequent watering discourages shallow root growth and improve the plants' drought resistance. Apply 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water once a week. Grass can survive during periods of drought with very little water. The blades will turn brown the the crown and roots will survive with only 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water every two weeks. When cooler, wetter weather returns, the grass will regrow.


Fertilize your lawn during its active growing periods in spring and fall. In the spring, do not apply fertilizers before the grass has broken dormancy and begun to green. If you have a crabgrass problem, use a corn gluten-based pre-emergence weed control. This non-toxic "weed and feed" product give spring grass a needed nitrogen boost while preventing the germination of annual crabgrass seeds.