Spring lawn care with mower in landscape

Our fool spring has many itching to get out in the yard and get to work sprucing up the lawn; however, it is important to consider that it could still be too early. To properly take care of problems in the lawn, it is important to fully understand what we are trying to control.

Spring lawn maintenance often includes a combination of the following: a pre- or post-emergence herbicide, overseeding, aerification, dethatching, fertilization, or an insecticide. When making these applications, it is important to apply maintenance practices at the right time.

fall colored leaves

As leaves fall from the trees each year, some may find beauty in the reds, yellows, and orange as they blanket the ground, while others may see hours of work ahead of them as they rake or mow the leaves to remove them. Regardless, leaves provide many benefits in the yard and garden other than just beauty. So what all can we do with all those leaves.

dry soil in the fall

Small farms and local foods educator and fellow contributor to the Good Growing column, Katie Parker, was kind enough to let me borrow her hollow-core aerator, to give my compacted lawn some much needed relief.

As Katie wrote in a previous column this year, core aerating your lawn is a great practice to help relieve soil compaction and introduce air and water deeper into the soil. It can even help to reduce thatch issues.

holes in lawn due to core aeration

We recently bought a home at the end of May with a lawn in need of assistance. When we moved in, we quickly tackled the mole problem by trapping five moles, and one vole! Next, we moved onto the damage done by the moles; we leveled out the mole hills and seeded those areas; however, in the end, we were defeated by the summer heat and our outrageous water bill. For the last 3 months, we have had a partially dead lawn with some smaller bare spots. We have been anxiously awaiting fall in hopes of making our lawn look not so much like a train wreck.

mole peeking head out of soil

Now that we are spending more time outside, you might be noticing more and more mounds or ridges of soil popping up in your lawn. There are a few different animals that like to make these mounds, but often times the main culprit is the mole.

hand sewing grass seeds

Picture this: It's the middle of summer, and you've noticed your lawn is in bad shape. You go to the garden center and see shelves full of grass seed. The store is carrying seed, so that must mean it's okay to sow your new lawn at this time, right? You purchase a bag or two, but what type of grass did you get?

Cool-season or warm-season grass - what's the difference? 

Here in Central Illinois, you will most commonly find cool-season types of turf for sale. In fact, you will likely be hard-pressed to find any warm-season grass seed.

It's March and now is the time that everyone starts thinking about lawn care. The grass is greening up and plants are starting to grow again, daffodils are blooming, and garden work has started.

You may be looking at your lawn and wondering where to start, maybe you have a few bare patches or the entire lawn is thinning out. I often receive questions about when to reseed or seed new lawns, when to apply crabgrass preventer and when to start fertilizing lawns and there is still time to do all of them.