The Q&A Archives: What should I be doing to my lawn?

Question: I need to get my yard up to par, and I have a few places that have no grass. What should I be doing this time of year? Plus I just bought a Crab Apple tree and need to know the best way to plant it and where would be the best place to put it? Thank you for your help.

Answer: Depending on the present condition of your lawn you can chose one of two methods of renovating. If your lawn is in pretty good shape but you would like to introduce some new varieties of grass, the procedure is quite simple and should be done in the fall.

The first step is to cut your lawn very short, absolutely no longer than one inch, and a little shorter if possible.

Step two is to aerate your lawn with a commercial aerator. You want the soil to be loose, not compacted. Aeration will accomplish this. You can rent an aerator from an equipment rental shop.

The next step is to run over your lawn with a de-thatcher. Even if you do not have a heavy thatch build up, de-thatching is necessary to disturb the roots of the existing grass just a little bit. This will stimulate new root growth, and loosen the soil to prepare a seed bed for the new seed you are about to apply.

The next step is to over seed with a high quality grass seed.

The final step is to apply a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous. Ask for a recommendation at the garden store. Consider an organic fertilizer such as Milorganite.

If your existing lawn is not so nice and is full of invasive weeds, then you need to deal with that problem before starting the renovation. One technique that is often used is to spray the entire lawn with a post emergent herbicide to kill both weeds and grass. Once all vegetation has turned brown and is crispy, follow the procedures outlined above.

Crabapple trees grow best in full sunshine, in average but well draining soil. Choose a sunny site for your tree and then dig a hole just as deep but a little wider than the container. Unpot your tree, spread the roots slightly, and set in the planting hole. The tree should be at the same soil level in the ground as it was planted in the container. After installing your tree be sure to water well and then water deeply once each week during the entire growing season to help the roots become established.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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