Lawn Care/Gardening Novice - Knowledgebase Question

Mesquite, Te
Question by laqbrw18
April 17, 2010
We just purchased our 1st home, we live in the Dallas, TX area. I know nothing about lawns or gardening except that water is needed & sun. The house has been vacant for some time and the lawn neglected. I'm told that the grass is St. Augustine, but it needs help, how do I get the lawn in shape? Start over? Also, any books, classes that you recommend so I'm not so in over my head?

Answer from NGA
April 17, 2010


I wouldn't give up on the lawn just yet. With proper care it should recover and grow lush and green. Good lawn care includes regular feeding, watering and mowing. A thick, healthy lawn will crowd out most weeds so here's how to get the upper hand: Turfgrass needs to be watered once or twice a week, depending upon weather. Deep soakings are preferable to daily sprinklings. Plan on applying one inch of water per week to your lawn. You can measure how much water your sprinklers put out by setting some empty cat food or tuna cans on the lawn and running the sprinklers. Start with running them for 15 mintues and then checking to see how much water has collected in the can. Your goal is a half inch if you water twice a week or one inch if you water once a week. The time it takes to deliver the proper amount of water is the length of time you should run your sprinklers. If water begins to run off the lawn before you get the required amount of water in the cans, plan on running for a while, turning the water off to allow it to soak in, then turning the water back on until the sprinklers have run for the correct amount of time. You can use Scotts Bonus S for Southern Lawns to control most of the weeds in your lawn now. Plan on feeding your lawn in April, June, September and late November or early December. Mow as often as necessary to keep your lawn at 1 1/2 to 2 inches in height. The general rule of thumb is to remove no more than one third of the grass blade when you mow. So, mow when it is 3 inches high and take off no more than one inch of grass.

You can check out the book Gardening for Dummies at your local library. It's loaded with all kinds of friendly advice for new gardeners.

Best wishes with your lawn!

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