The Q&A Archives: Lawn

Question: My grass is not growing in certain spots, and other spots are nice and green, and then the dreaded dandelions, what can I do to help with these problems? I put soil down last year that did not seem to help.

Answer: There are a couple of reasons for brown spots in lawns; dog urine is the most common, compacted soil, or sprinklers that are missing those spots. To have the healthiest, greenest lawn possible, water deeply once a week (twice if the weather is really hot) to force the roots to penetrate deeply. Deep rooted grasses don't need as much water as those that are shallow rooted, and won't turn brown as easily. (Frequent, light watering will keep the roots close to the surface, making them dry out faster in warm weather and require even more frequent watering.) It's best to measure the amount of water your sprinkler puts out so you'll know how long to keep the water running. Put some tuna cans out on the lawn and turn on the sprinkler. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then check the water level in the cans. If there's not an inch of water in the cans, turn the water on again and continue to time how long it takes to get one inch of water in the cans. This will let your know how long you'll need to water to supply one-inch of water per week to your lawn. Put your lawn on a regular feeding and mowing schedule, too. Feed in April, June, September and December with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium. Mow when blades are 1 1/2" to 2" high. Don't let the grass grow really tall and then mow or you'll take off too much of the living tissue and scalp the lawn. I'd rake the dead grass out and reseed those areas, and use a broadleaf weed killer (one containing 2,4-D) on the dandilions. Once your lawn is lush and thick, it should crowd out any weeds that try to take root. Hope following the above guidelines will give you the greenest lawn on the block!

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