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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin George

How to make your lawn look like a golf course.

Spring has us all looking outdoors for the long awaited sunshine, the fun-filled outdoor activities and festivities. Our vitamin D deficient bodies long to feel the warmth and crave time spent outside. For many of us it turns our minds to improving or creating a place in our gardens that would inspire outdoor living or raise the curb appeal of our homes.  Let’s look at a few of the common issues that homeowners encounter in Washington County when trying to have a lush, green lawn. Iowa's heather can wreak havoc on the lawn of your dreams. Things like weeds and thatch can take over your property and make it difficult for your visions to materialize.  Fortunately with a little knowledge and effort these problem areas can be overcome. CORE AERATION Core Aeration is when lipstick-tube sized plugs of soil are removed from your lawn surface.  This will allow improved air exchange between soil and atmosphere and enhance water uptake, to create a healthier root system for your grass. If you look in the core holes 1-2 weeks after aeration treatment, you will see dozens of little white roots hairs extending from the core perimeters... those are little grass roots growing deeper, aided by the additional nutrient supply. DANDELIONS AND BROADLEAF WEEDS Another aggressive enemy to having the lawn of your dreams is the dreaded variety of weeds. It is important to stop dandelions, clover, and other broadleaf weeds early to stop them from multiplying in your grass. Applying Nitrogen-based fertilizers and keeping your lawn from going dormant in Summer, will keep the pesky weeds out of your lawn. DE-THATCHING   Another element that will help you to achieve the lush healthy grass of your dreams is thorough dethatching.   Thatch is an organic layer of dead and living shoots, stems and roots, which includes small pieces of dead grass. Usually this decomposing organic material is nutrient-rich and beneficial for the grass but if the turf produces debris faster than it can be broken down, this can weaken your lawn greatly and is important to take care of it by dethatching. Often a lawn that feels spongy is in need of dethatching. In doing this, you get rid of the physical barrier that is blocking sunlight and water from getting to the suffocated grass roots. MAKE YOUR LANDSCAPE LOW-MAINTENANCE

Here are a few tips to reduce the amount of time and water it takes to maintain your lawn and landscaping.  As previously mentioned, core aeration allows the grass roots to grow deeper and thus makes your lawn more drought-tolerant. Less water will be needed to keep it green during the Summer.   Having plants that require an endless balance of care can get irritating.  Making the switch to low-maintenance plants can help with the stress of making sure your property looks tip-top shape.  The Mid West offers a variety of beautiful, native, low-maintenance plants that can transform your garden. When it comes to water consumption, we all want that water bill to be as low as possible.  There are ways of helping your garden and your check book this season by maximizing water savings.  Rain catchment systems are a great alternative to the ever increasing water bill that we have to pay to accomplish the desire of our property.  Rain catchment systems channel water from your roof and gutters and stores it in a reservoir.

Consider refreshing your flower beds with a layer of landscape bark mulch or compost this year, doing so can increase the efficiency of the water used by retaining the moisture of the soil below.  Refreshing the beauty bark or compost in your gardens also serves as a way to combat weed growth and minimizes time rquired to pull weeds.             If you are tired of watering, fertilizing, and mowing your lawn, you might want to consider xeriscaping.  Xeriscaping, which became popular in drought afflicted areas, is a style of landscaping that requires very little watering or maintenance.  If you are replacing your lawn with xeriscaping there are cost effective ways to make the transfer.  Instead of excavating your existing turf, you can just cover the lawn with road fabric, which is a water-permeable material that doesn’t allow vegetation to grow through.  This in turn eliminates the cost of having to haul your excavated lawn off-site and allows you to spend money focused on the xeriscaping itself.  There are creative and visually-appealing ways to install a low-maintenance landscape. Creating a dry riverbed with cobblestones is charming and has great curb appeal; a flagstone patio instead of a lawn might make your backyard more functional for activities and get-togethers.


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