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The Grass Can Be Greener on the Other Side of the Year

 

The end of summer doesn’t mean you can stop worrying about your lawn. In fact, now’s the time to take steps to give yourself a chance to have the best yard in the neighborhood next year.

One warning: It’s going to take some work on your part. A lush green yard with beautiful trees, flowers and shrubs doesn’t just happen because you wish it would. You’ll have to skip a football game or two to make it a reality.

Mow, mow, mow

You might think you’re done mowing now that the grass isn’t growing as fast. Sorry, you still need to mow.  Otherwise, your grass is at risk for mold and disease. The shorter the grass, the more water and sunlight will reach the roots. Speaking of which, you should continue to water the grass, too, though you can reduce your efforts.

The hole process

The next step is to aerate your entire lawn. Why? It allows nutrients, water and even air to get to the roots of your yard. How? You’ll need an aerator – you can rent one from the local home improvement or garden store. Find a few neighbors to go in on the rental and you can cut the cost substantially.

The downside is that it’s hard work, especially if you’re not used to it. The machine will pierce the lawn and pull up wine-cork-shaped plugs of earth, leaving shallow holes behind. Remember to move any hoses and mark any sprinkler heads before you start.

Seed it, and feed it

Soon after you’ve aerated – really soon – you should reseed bare patches or possibly overseed the entire yard. Also apply fertilizer. (Some experts advise fertilizing before seeding, so you’ll have to ask an expert who’s familiar with soil in your area to get a definitive answer on the proper order.) If you seeded bare spots, cover them with compost, peat moss or straw to help keep moisture on the seeds.

Water your lawn two or three times a week. Six to eight weeks after sowing the seed, fertilize the lawn again. You’ll also need to rake the leaves often so that your yard can get the sunlight it needs to foster growth. Wet leaves also can become a breeding ground for mold and disease.

Don’t forget the trees

Many experts will tell you not to prune trees, shrubs, and flowers in the fall. But before winter, you should prune diseased, dead, or broken branches from shrubs and trees in the yard. You don’t want snow to cause limbs to break and fall on the house. It’s a good idea to get advice from an expert on how to prove specific trees.

Your yard may never be featured in Better Homes and Gardens. But by following these tips, you should be able to keep it green and blooming next year.

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