There are many obstacles when you want to keep your yard in tip-top shape. The top five are listed below with common solutions.
Every year a constant battle is waged between lawn caregivers and weeds. The top two problem plants are dandelions and crabgrass.
Crabgrass grows quickly and is very adaptable. It thrives in lawns that are under fertilized and mowed too low. The worst thing about it is that it looks horrible, especially in an otherwise great lawn. These weeds are easy to control, but you’ve got to do it in the spring, before they get a good hold. Late spring and summer are too late to do anything. If you are going to apply an herbicide, early to mid-spring is the best time.
Dandelions grow well under the same conditions as crabgrass, under fertilized, thin and low mown lawns. This weed is a little harder to deal with than crabgrass, however. With dandelions, you need to pull out the entire root or it will spread and it is best to do this before the plant flowers and spreads its seeds. If you don’t feel like killing you back pulling out all the roots, you can use a broad-leaf herbicide, which is probably going to work best in the fall. Make sure to follow all of the directions on the container and pay particular attention to safety procedures.
Insects are a normal part of every lawn and are often very good for your grass. However, too much of anything can be bad. Not only can they hurt your lawn, they can also become a nuisance in you home. There are many pesticides on the market that are very good at controlling the populations of many common insects. If you decide to use one, make sure, as above, that you follow the directions carefully. Many of these products are bad for humans and animals, as well as insects.
Grubs, in particular, are very bad for lawns in large numbers. If you have more than ten grubs per square foot in your lawn, and there are several ways to check that, they will start killing large sections of grass by munching on the roots. Pesticides will work on them, too, especially when used in late July or August. One natural way to get rid of them, or at least lower the population, is to introduce nematodes into your yard. These are natural parasites that feed on grubs. Check with your local lawn and garden center to find a product with nematodes that will work for you.
Animals can be hard a yard, too. Moles in particular can undermine the soil and leave trenches through your yard, especially in the spring when soil is softer. Most often, they dig through your yard to find grubs and earthworms to eat. Decreasing the grub population, and the populations of other insects, may make your yard less attractive to them. You can also try to barricade your yard by burying chicken wire about a foot down. This isn’t always effective as it is possible for them to dig deeper than that. Catching them in a trap or calling a professional exterminator are the surest ways to get rid of them.
Even species of grass that claim to be shade tolerant don’t like too much shade. Sunlight is crucial for the growth and development of grasses. Make sure to trim back your shade trees every three to five years. This will make sure that the grass under the tree will at least get some sun. You may also want to consider replacing grasses in these areas with some other sort of shade tolerant ground cover, which may hold up better, and then planting your shade tolerant grasses on the outer edges of the shaded area.
Heavily Compacted Soil
As your lawn sees more and more traffic, it gets packed down. One of the best things you can do is aerate your soil every year. You can generally rent light weight aerators at most lawn and garden centers and hook them to the back of your riding mower. This will help loosen up the soils and make it easier for water and nutrients to enter and get to the grass’ roots. If your soil has become too heavy, you may want to hire a professional to come out and aerate your yard using a piston driven aerator. This doesn’t have to be done every year, but can help when things become desperate.