best grass seed

The BEST Grass Seed for Your Lawn

See Which is the Best Lawn Seed for Where You Live

If you choose to seed your lawn, the first decision will be to choose the right seed mix for your climate. Grasses are usually described as cool-season and warm season grasses and clearly understanding the differences will help you choose the best grass seed for you actual weather conditions.

The cool season grasses grow best in the spring and fall months and can withstand cold northern winters, whereas the warm-season types grow fastest in the summer and are not winter hardy.

Most cool season grasses will not grow once the ground temperatures reach 85 to 90 degrees.

Grass Seed & Planting Categories

It’s possible to purchase grass mixes, which helps ensure your entire lawn will not die if disease strikes. Most diseases will only strike one type of grass, so the damage will probably be limited. It’s also possible to mix a spring performing grass with a drought resistant summer grower. Whatever type of grass seed mixture you choose, make sure it contains little “crop” or “weed” seeds. Bargain brands may germinate poorly and have unwanted additives. It’s best to spend a few extra dollars and start with a quality grass seed.

Tip – Grass seed labels tell you what year the seed should be sold and used in and the percentage of weed seed contained in the mix. Only buy seed intended for the current calendar year. Outdated seed may be a bargain, but in the long run, they may be more expensive because you’ll need to replace all those seeds that didn’t sprout.

Cool Season grasses include:

Kentucky Bluegrass – One of the most popular because it requires moderate care to grow dense, dark, and medium textured grass. It spreads quickly from runners to form deep green sod with a fine texture. It grows best in areas with mild summers and ample water, and it produces a beautiful lawn in cold regions as well as the middle south. Kentucky Bluegrass does not grow in excessive heat and will stop its growth when the soil temperatures exceed 85 to 90 degrees F.

Fescue (Red Bladed or Fine Bladed) – These fescues are often combined with bluegrasses. Both tolerate shade and dry conditions. Fescues have a low nitrogen requirement for vigorous growth, which makes it great for choking out weeds. It complements the Kentucky Bluegrass when combined. Fescue rarely suffers from any disease of insect problems and red fescue can renovate a poor or worn lawn by overseeding in the spring. Use red fescue in the South with bermudagrasses during the winter months. This will help the southern lawns keep their vitality.

Tall Fescue – This is a drought tolerant grass and holds up well in high traffic areas. Consider using tall fescue around swing sets and playgrounds, where little feet will tromp the grass often. It grows well in the shade in both northern and southern lawns and is an excellent choice for lawns that border the North and South. This grass has a course texture.

Perennial Ryegrass – This grass is quick growing and tough. It mixes well and makes a fine textured lawn when mixed with Kentucky Bluegrass. Use this type of seed to get your lawn off to a quick start. It germinates and establishes itself quickly. You can even overseed an old worn lawn with perennial ryegrass to give it a burst of green color. When you plant this grass with Kentucky bluegrass, it will eventually be overtaken by the bluegrass, but it can dominate if you sow too much of it. If you do mix rye with the bluegrass, keep the quantity of rye around 20 percent. This grass is insect and disease resistant and produces very little thatch.

Bentgrass – This type is a high maintenance grass. It needs frequent watering and fertilizing. It’s extremely popular for a golf course. This extremely fine grass is attractive, but cannot be used in high traffic areas. In order to maintain this grass, you must water and mow it almost constantly. It cannot tolerate drought or traffic and is vulnerable to pest and disease problems. If you decide to use Bentgrass and mix it with another type of grass, do not mix too little of the Bentgrass. The other type grasses planted in your lawn will overtake it quickly.

Warm Season grasses include:

Bermuda Grass – This grass is the most drought tolerant type of grass. It also has excellent wearability so it is perfect for play or high traffic areas. Most southern lawns are made up of bermudagrass. There are many varieties and textures of these varieties range from fine to medium, and the color will range from light to deep green. This grass spreads quickly and often invades areas it should not. It does establish itself quickly and has the ability to choke out weeds. It thrives in heat and needs less water than most other lawn grasses, so that makes it drought tolerant as well. Bermudagrasses can be mowed to one inch. This type of grass does produce thatch that needs to be removed about once a year to prevent disease and damage. This grass does turn brown in the winter months when threatened by frost, but springs back well when the temperatures warm in the spring.

St. Augustine – This grass is good for shade. It’s a coarse and non-durable grass. This grass does not do well without aeration and dethatching. It’s a subtropical grass with pointed blades. It spreads at a moderate rate by sending out stolons and runners. It crowds out clover and other grasses and weeds as it forms a dense lawn. It’s tough and thrives in shade better than any other southern grass. It will also tolerate salt, making it great for coastal areas. The drawback to this lawn is that it is not low maintenance. It requires a fair amount of water and fertilizer and you must remove thatch once a year. However, take special precautions when doing so. This grass is particularly vulnerable to chinch bugs. Although this is a warm weather grass, it does better in the northern part of the south.

Zoysia – This heat and drought resistant grass will be late in turning green. Even though it is a warm season grass, it is sometimes used in northern lawns for its toughness. It is a low-maintenance lawn and depending on its species, the texture can be fine or coarse. This grass spreads slowly by stolons and rhizomes. It may take two or three years to fill in, but once filled, it forms a thicker more resilient cover than most other grass varieties. Another advantage to Zoysia is that since it grows more slowly, it doesn’t need to be mowed quite as often as other grasses. You must remove the Zoysia’s thatch once a year because the shallow roots will attach to the thatch and make for a weak lawn. This type of grass is resistant to insects and disease, though chinch bugs may invade. If you choose Zoysia for your lawn, be aware that it turns brown once its growing season ends. Since it requires warm nights to thrive, this grass may not be a good choice for the areas that separate the North from the South.

Whether you’re planting a new lawn or renovating an existing one, choose a grass that’s going to be right for your area. If you don’t think it through, the wrong choice will leave you with a yard full of problems. The following should help you make an educated decision as to which grasses will be best when planted in your part of the country.

Grass Climate Zones

Northeast and Northern Midwest – A good mixture for lawns in zone 6 or colder should contain 50 percent Kentucky bluegrass and 30 to 40 percent red fescue. It should also contain 10 to 20 percent of perennial ryegrass. Avoid tall fescues in this area unless you’re seeding a yard that is used very heavily.

The combination of these grasses will bring color, toughness and durability to your yard. Some of the grass will help out during times of drought and if shaded by trees for the better part of the day. The ryegrass will provide a quick green cover that prevents erosion, while the slower germinating bluegrass and fescue germinate underneath.

Northern Plains and Mountain Areas – This area does best by choosing a mixture of crested wheatgrass and red fescue. The land is not irrigated, so this mixture will produce a good drought-tolerant lawn. If you water your own lawn regularly, you can combine Kentucky bluegrass, red fescue and perennial ryegrass as described above for the Northeast and Northern Midwest.

Coastal Northwest – The Pacific Northwest, does best with a combination of 50 percent Kentucky bluegrass, 20 to 40 percent red fescue, and 10 to 20 percent colonial Bentgrass. The bluegrass will give the lawn beauty, while the red fescue makes the lawn more durable. The colonial Bentgrass will grow well in the slightly acidic soil of the northwest.

The Transitional Area – There really isn’t a line that divides the North and the South, but general temperatures in your area should dictate which grasses are best suited for your area. The transitional area extends across the country, along the northern borders of North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, through New Mexico and Arizona to the Pacific. These areas will grow both northern and southern grasses. Look at the zoning map below to get a better idea of which grass will grow in your area if you’re on that transitional line. Mountainous regions tend to be a little colder, so even though you may live in a traditionally warmer state, your seasons may be a little cooler. Cool season grasses are better for higher elevations, where warm season suit lower elevations best.

The Humid South – Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass or Zoysia will grow best in humid conditions and the southern climates. If your yard is a little more shaded, choose St. Augustine grass for the best results. The best time to start a new lawn, or repair an existing lawn, is in the spring or early fall when the days are cool and moist and the weeds are less likely to be a threat.

There are six basic steps you need to follow when planting or repairing.

They are as follows:

The first step in starting a lawn from seed is to properly prepare the soil. Part of preparing the soil is understanding the makeup of your soil. In order to know what the pH level is in your soil, you may purchase a test kit from your local landscaping company or have your counties extension service test it for a small fee. It’s important that you add nutrients to your soil until the pH level is between 6.0 and 7.0.

If your pH level is too low, apply limestone at a rate of 50 pounds per 1000 square feet. If you need to lower your pH, powdered sulfur will do the trick. Failure to adequately prepare your soil will result in a slow start and grassless patches. It will also cause you additional work and expense in the long run. This is an extremely important step and should not be skipped for any reason.

To continue the preparation of your soil, you should till it to a four-inch depth. If you need to add topsoil or sphagnum peat to improve the condition of your soil, add four to six inches of the top product, then till the additives to the existing soil. Be sure and mix all thoroughly.

After you’ve tilled the soil, remove any debris such as stones or twigs and rake the surface as level as possible. If you need to add lime, make sure you add it prior to leveling the soil.

Next, apply a lawn fertilizer at the rate of 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. After all the above steps are completed, water the entire area thoroughly with a gentle spray and allow the soil to settle. Now you’re ready to seed.

Spread the seed with a mechanical spreader at the rate recommended by the chosen manufacturer. Be careful not to overseed because it will cause the tiny grass plants to choke each other out. When spreading the seeds, apply one-half of the seeds in one direction and the second half at right angles to the first. Rake the entire area lightly to barely cover the seeds with soil. You may also want to roll the seedbed using a lawn roller to guarantee that all the seed comes in contact with the soil. As a preventative measure to keep birds out of the seed, you may cover lightly with straw.

Once the seed is planted, water gently, but deeply everyday. It may take up to three weeks for all the grass to germinate. Once the grass has grown to a height of 2 to 2 1/2 inches, you may mow. However, remember to never take more than 1/3 of the grass height when mowing.

Sod

If you have a shady area that may not germinate seeds well, or are in need of an instant lawn, then sod is the way to go. Although sod is much more expensive than seed, it requires much less work and when done correctly, it establishes itself quickly. Bluegrass sod is one of the best types you can choose if it does well in your area. Bluegrass sod is best because it quickly weaves a close-knit, vigorous and attractive turf.

Whatever sod you choose, look for sod that’s well rooted. The rolls should be uniformly green and moist. If the sod shows signs of yellow, then it is best to stay away. Sod must be installed as soon as possible after arriving at your home. Especially during the hot summer months. If you let more than a few days go by, the sod will begin to die and may not take well when installed. If you must wait to install the sod for a couple days, make sure you store it in a cool, shaded area and moisten it if it starts to dry out before it can be laid.

Installation of sod follows the same steps as seeding your lawn from scratch. You must first prepare the soil, and then water the ground prior to laying the sod. Once the sod is laid, it should be watered for several weeks, until it has established itself. The sections will weave themselves together, and the sod will become one large section, instead of many smaller sections. If kept moist, sodding can be done in the heat of summer as well as the spring or fall.

If you’re choosing some grasses, such as Zoysia, Bermuda grass or St. Augustine, they will be sold as plugs instead of rolls of sod. These grasses need to be planted in early spring and sectioned up to twelve inches apart. Make sure you keep them moist before planting.

Grass plugs are small blocks of sod about two inches square and about two to three inches thick. They are sold in trays that would normally contain annuals. To plant a plug, you must dig a hole just a little bit larger than the plug. The holes should be dug about one foot apart. Once the area is prepared and the holes are dug, simply place the plugs in the hole and water in.

Another way grasses are sold is in sprigs. Basically sprigs are shoots or rhizomes that root when planted in the soil. Shredding sod into individual stems four to eight inches long produces them. Bermudagrass, St. Augustine grass and Zoysia can all be grown from sprigs.

lawn roller

What’s a Lawn Roller?

What is a Lawn Roller and Should You Use One?

A lawn roller may not be a staple item found in most homeowner’s tool or garden sheds, but lawn rollers can be an effective way to keep your lawn looking its best and add to the look of your garden decor. A lawn roller works by smoothing out the surface of your lawn so that it looks great and grows well. Lawn rollers not only smooth the surface under the grass or sod that is laid but they also help to urge new growth by helping the seed or sod adhere to the soil beneath so that strong roots can begin to develop.

How do you use a lawn roller?

Using a lawn roller is a fairly simply process. If you already have an established lawn but find that you have bumps or bulges in the ground that you would like to flatten out, cut into the lawn just outside of the bulging area and gently pull back the area of the lawn where the bulge occurs. Remove enough extra soil so that when the section of lawn is replaced it lies flat. Then use a lawn roller to completely flatten the area to make it level with the surrounding area and to reestablish a good connection between the grass and the soil so that the roots can continue to develop well.

If you are getting a new lawn going from scratch, a lawn roller is a smart way to get your yard well established. Whether you are planting from seed or laying sod, a garden lawn roller should be used to smooth out the dirt before seed or sod is initially laid. Then once it is laid out, the seed or sod should be watered and then a lawn roller should be used to gently push the seed or sod into the underlying soil so that a strong bond is formed. This will help with strong root development, and ensure that grass seed will not easily blow away and will help your sod to adhere to the underlying soil for healthy growth. You can even add a bit of the best fertilizer for an extra boost in growth.

What type of lawn roller should you use?

type of lawn rollerThere are a variety of lawn roller types and which type you use will in part depend on what you are doing to your lawn. If you are purchasing a lawn roller to occasionally smooth out sections of your lawn or to keep your lawn looking its best, you can probably get away with a push lawn roller. These are not quite as heavy or effective as a commercial lawn roller, but if you are not reseeding or sodding your whole lawn, they should do the trick. For very small sections of lawn, you can even use a hand lawn roller to smooth out the areas. And a quick tip, it’s even better if you scarify your lawn before rolling it for an even healthier lawn.

If you need a more heavy duty lawn roller because you are embarking on a large project or have a very uneven lawn, then you may want to consider a commercial lawn roller rental, since they are rather expensive to purchase and unless you are using them over and over probably do not pay to buy. Commercial models include heavy steel lawn rollers and concrete lawn rollers.

If you are only using a lawn roller for an occasional project, even if it’s not a large project, you may still not want to go out and purchase a new lawn roller. In that case, you can sometimes find a used lawn roller for sale, either at a yard sale or advertised online through a site like craigslist or a similar type site.

Another option is to make a homemade lawn roller. If you can find a large drum or round container, you can fill it with dirt, sand or water to weigh it down and then roll it across your lawn. This will not be as easy as a professional model, but will work well for small areas without the expense of having to buy or rent a lawn roller. Water filled lawn rollers are the easiest to construct because the water can be easily added and removed when needed and water offers the weight required to smooth out the lawn.

Another option is a lawn mower roller attachment which is available to attach to some models of lawn mowers. The lawnmower roller allows a heavy cylindrical roller to be attached to the lawn mower so that the mower can be used to propel the lawn roller. This is not an option that is widely available on many lawn mower models, however.

Other uses for a lawn roller:

Another use for a lawn roller is as an aerator. A lawn roller aerator is a device that looks like a lawn roller but has evenly spaced spikes along the cylinder to remove plugs of grass and soil in the lawn as it rolls over it. This is beneficial for the health of the lawn because lawn aeration helps lawns to breathe and aids in strong root growth.

Lawn rollers can also be used to smooth out areas of dirt or soil before laying patio slabs or other block paving stones.

Lawn Scarifier

The Best Lawn Scarifier and Why You Need One

What’s a Lawn Scarifier and Which Should I Buy?

A lawn scarifier is a piece of lawn and garden equipment designed to remove thatch, moss and other debris from a lawn.

While most people haven’t heard of a lawn scarifier in the U.S., lawn scarifiers are better known in other parts of the world, such as the UK. Lawn scarifiers operate in a similar manner to a lawn mower but have a rotating cassette on the bottom with a series of tines that can break up thatch, moss and debris without otherwise harming the grass. For this reason, owning a lawn scarifier can help you achieve a great looking and healthy lawn.

How To Use a Lawn Scarifier

Using a lawn scarifier is a relatively simple process and will depend in part on what type of equipment you own. If you have an electric or petrol powered lawn scarifer, you just have to guide the equipment in the right direction while the motor moves it along the area to be dethatched. If you have a manual lawn scarifier, you will have to push the equipment in a similar manner to pushing a lawn mower. If you have a scarifying rake or rolling rake, you will have to push or drag the rake across the area to be dethatched until all of the dead debris within the lawn is removed.

No matter what type of lawn scarifier you use, however, it is important to make sure you clean up and remove any thatch or debris that are loosened from your lawn, unless your equipment has vacuum capabilities to suck up the debris into a bag for disposal. If you leave the loosened thatch on the lawn, it can do just as much damage to your grass as if you had never dethatched in the first place.

Manual vs. Electric vs. Gas / Petrol Lawn Scarifier

When it comes to buying a lawn scarifier, you have a few choices. You can get an electric lawn scarifier, a petrol lawn scarifier or a manual lawn scarifier. Although electric lawn scarifiers run cleaner and quieter than their petrol or gas-powered cousins, one of the main limitations is that you need to plug it in. If you have a small lawn, this may not be much of a problem, but if your lawn is relatively large, you may have to run a series of extension cords all over the lawn in order to get your lawn scarifier to operate across the whole lawn. This makes a gas lawn scarifier a more popular option, since it removes the limitations caused by having to plug in electric models. Petrol lawn scarifiers are also more powerful and can complete a job more quickly.

You can also get a manual lawn scarifier which you push to operate. A manual or push lawn scarifier works in a similar fashion to a push lawn mower – you simply have to supply the energy to make the equipment operate. If you just need to dethatch a small section of lawn, you may prefer to opt for a lawn scarifying rake that simply has long, stiff tines on the end to grab any thatch, moss or dead grass between blades of healthy grass. A lawn scarifying rolling rake also has wheels on the edges to make it easier to use.

Independent Lawn Scarifier vs. Lawn Scarifier Attachment

Many people purchase a separate lawn scarifier in addition to their lawnmower. If, however, you have a lawn tractor, you can also opt to buy a lawn scarifier attachment for lawn tractors. The attachment operates just like a motorized lawn scarifier, except it makes super-easy work of dethatching your lawn, since all you have to do is ride on the mower while the attachment does its job.

Lawn Scarifier Options

In addition to the choices available between a manual, electric or gas powered lawn scarifier and an independent or lawn scarifier attachment for a lawn tractor, there are also some options to consider when purchasing the equipment. You may have options as to the size of the tines on the scarifier and determining the proper size will depend on the type of lawn you have. You can also buy a lawn scarifier with aerator capabilities. This will allow you to not only dethatch your lawn, but to also create plugs that aerate your lawn, giving it room to breathe and allowing it to grow healthier.

Lawn Scarifier Brands

There are a number of companies that sell lawn scarifiers. Some of the more popular brands are Bosmere, Qualcast, Agri-Fab, Atco and Midwest Rake. You can buy lawn scarifiers from stores that sell garden equipment, lawn tractors and aerators, or you can even buy lawn scarifiers online from places like Amazon and other lawn care-related retailers.

Best Lawn Scarifier

Without a doubt, if I had to choose one machine and one machine only, it would be the Greenworks Scarifier that you see pictured in this post. I personally love the Greenworks brand, and have had no problems with any of their equipment to date. And this particular model of scarfier is no different.

Fertilizer Burn

What is Fertilizer Burn And How to Treat It?

Fertilizer Burn Signs and Remedies

Apply the proper mix and amount of lawn fertilizer to avoid fertilizer burn and promote a lush, green, healthy, weed-free turf.

Every homeowner dreams of a lush, green carpet of grass–the envy of the neighborhood. In the pursuit of this perfection, lawn enthusiasts subject their turf to everything from shampoo to beer to fertilizer–the most common additive being fertilizer. Turf fertilizer provides the most cost-effective boost to poor lawns, encouraging turf growth and providing protection from weeds, disease, pests, and environmental factors.

It’s easy for the novice to overuse fertilizer or to apply it incorrectly. The thinking goes something like this: “If a little is good, a lot is better. If fertilizing in spring and fall is recommended, I’ll add summer and winter to the fertilizer schedule just to be safe.” This overzealous approach frequently results in fertilizer burn.

Fertilizer burn is dehydration. Salt buildup from chemicals inhibits the grass blades from absorbing water. The burn results from only one thing: the incorrect application of fertilizer. Severe dehydration eventually kills the grass.

Signs of Fertilizer Burn

Spotting fertilizer burn is easy if you know the signs. If your lawn displays either of the following signs several days after applying fertilizer, suspect fertilizer burn:

• Grass blades turn yellow, brown, white, or tan.

• The lawn displays yellow, brown, white, or tan stripes.

A little knowledge about fertilizer goes a long way toward cultivating and maintaining a healthy lawn and preventing fertilizer burn.

What is Lawn Fertilizer?

Turf requires sixteen elements to grow. Commercial “complete” fertilizers contain the most important three elements: nitrogen, phosphorus (sometimes listed as phosphate), and potassium (sometimes listed as potash). Lawns often require an annual feeding of these three elements, but nitrogen is the nutrient that depletes the most rapidly. Home lawn fertilizer is available in solid granule form and liquid form. The solid form is better for covering large areas.

Fertilizer labels display three numbers; for example, 10-6-18. These three numbers indicate the percentage of the three essential elements. A fertilizer with a mix of 10-6-18 means that it contains 10% nitrogen, 6% phosphorus, and 18% potassium. Nitrogen supplies the green to the lawn, phosphorus feeds the roots, and potassium promotes the overall health of the lawn. Home lawn complete fertilizers contain slow-release nitrogen, fast-release nitrogen, or a combination of the two.

A combination of slow-release and fast-release nitrogen is best. The fast release nitrogen greens the lawn quickly, in approximately three to five days. The slow release nitrogen maintains a green lawn by providing nitrogen at a constant rate.

Tips for Avoiding Fertilizer Burn

• Fertilize in spring and fall, not in the middle of summer. Summer heat contributes to fertilizer burn and encourages weed growth rather than turf growth. The best time to fertilize varies by location. Check with your local lawn-care center for the best window of opportunity in your area.

• Perform a soil test to determine lawn nutrient deficiencies every three to five years. You may need to apply lime instead of, or in addition to, fertilizer.

• Buy quality fertilizer. Select the best fertilizer mix for your turf. Ask your lawn-care center for help, and be prepared to tell them how many square feet you need to fertilize. You may only need to apply nitrogen instead of a complete mix. Applying nutrients that already exist is not only a waste of money, but it results in the salt build-up that contributes to fertilizer burn.

• Select a fertilizer with a combination of slow-release and fast-release nitrogen.

• Apply fertilizer to dry turf. You can safely apply fertilizer to slightly damp soil if you do not see or feel any droplets of water on the grass.

• Use a spreader to apply solid fertilizer. Attach liquid fertilizer to a hose. Follow the instructions to ensure proper calibration for solid granules or proper rate of flow for liquid fertilizer.

• Apply fertilizer at half the recommended rate. Make the application in one direction, barely overlapping with each pass. Make the second application at right angles to the first application, in a grid pattern. This method takes twice as long, but it helps avoid striping the lawn.

• Open the spreader only after you have started walking, and close the spreader before you stop walking.

• Never apply more fertilizer than the manufacturer recommends.

• Water the lawn well within 24 hours after applying solid fertilizer.

Note: Whenever you work with chemicals, take appropriate precautions. Cover your body and hands, and wear a dust mask. Keep pets and children away for 24 hours.

Surviving Fertilizer Burn

If you even suspect that you may have applied fertilizer incorrectly, you can try to remove the excess fertilizer and then water the lawn to dilute the chemicals. If you accidentally dumped fertilizer in a localized area, use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to remove as much as possible before watering. If you applied massive amounts of fertilizer to the entire lawn, attach a bag to the mower and try to “vacuum” the lawn before watering.

Water until the ground is thoroughly soaked, and then water again. Water the lawn every day for the next few days. If you catch your mistake in time, you can reverse the conditions before any significant damage occurs.

Best Lawn Fertilizer

Best Lawn Fertilizer (N-P-K Ratings Explained)

Getting the Best Lawn Fertilizer Explained

Have you ever wondered how that annoying neighbor, (you know, the one with the picture perfect house & yard), manages to get such a brilliant green hue to his lawn? You know the one that stands out from the rest of the neighborhoods yards with no clover or dandelions, against the ones that have a little yellow showing, maybe some brown patches. What’s he doing so different than the rest of us?

I’d say it’s a safe bet that “Mr Green” has learned that there is really only two things you need – copious quantities of two essentials – fertilizer and water. He’s undoubtedly broadcasting liberal amounts of a granular fertilizer, or perhaps is a fan of a concentrated liquid lawn fertilizer. With either method the results will be the same – a lush, healthy & green lawn.

The Two Types of Fertilizer

The water is pretty self-explanatory, but what about fertilizer? If you’ve ever spent time in your local greenhouse big box store, you’ve likely been a little bewildered by all the varieties available. It can be quite bewildering as they’re all marketed differently; a Pet safe lawn fertilizer, natural organic lawn fertilizers, winter lawn fertilizer to name, Vigoro lawn fertilizer just a few. Common to all though will be the N-P-K rating. Just what do all those numbers on the bags mean?

Let’s simplify it. There are basically two types of fertilizers;

The Organic Type – Found in rotting plant matter, (compost is a good example) etc, and in animal manure. Often a homemade lawn fertilizer, these types are truly natural organic lawn fertilizers

Manufactured Fertilizer – Made by lawn fertilizer companies, this is the type you’ll see in stores. Often in a granular form, sometimes as liquid lawn fertilizers, they will both be labelled with three numbers, e.g 11-51-0

Let’s explain the mystery of the basic elements of manufactured fertilizer, what those 3 numbers actually mean, and what you should be looking for when making a purchase of fertilizer

Understanding the basics will have you giving “Mr Green” a bit of a challenge in no time.

N-P-K

The Macro Elements

First the numbers, the “N – P – K”

There are three basic elements of all fertilizers (the macro elements) and it doesn’t matter whether you’re using a manufactured fertilizer or an organic type – it’s the nutrients that count, as each element is absolutely necessary for all plant life to grow. Of course water and sunlight are necessary, but without being fed the right nutrients you’ll have a sad looking plant, especially if you’re trying to grow Zoysia Grass.

These nutrients are commonly called the N-P-K analysis of the fertilizer, and they are always shown in the same order. Each element is the foundation, or building block, of the growth of plants and every element is essential.

So what does each letter stand for and what does each element do?

  • N is for Nitrogen
  • P is for Phosphorous
  • K is for Potassium

Let’s look at each element in turn, and see why it’s important you understand each function.

Further Reading: Check out which Lawn Sweeper is the best here!

N – Nitrogen

Always the first of the three numbers (NPK).

Essential for both growth and color, the macronutrient Nitrogen (N) is used by all plant life, but plants such as grasses (the majority of your lawn is different grass species) are voracious users of nitrogen, and lawns will require ample amounts of it throughout the growing season. Packaged fertilizers generally contain two distinctly different forms of this element.

Nitrate Form – Quite often you’ll see this called a “Quick Release” fertilizer as it’s main attribute is it’s ability to be rapidly absorbed by growing plants, meaning you’ll experience a visual change in your lawn almost immediately for instant gratification! This attribute can also mean that it can be equally leached from the soil profile. Periods of heavy rainfall can wash this form from the soil quite rapidly.

Ammonium Form – the “slow release” form of Nitrogen. This form of N bonds to the soil particles on application, and it quite stable and lasts considerably longer than the nitrate form. Because of this stability, this N form takes a lot longer to move into the plant through the root system, resulting to a more prolonged feeding period.

To keep a lawn healthy, green & lush throughout the whole season you actually need both forms of N. Though you can certainly make separate application of each I much prefer to broadcast a mixture, or blend, or each. By doing so the quick release Nitrate form will deliver an immediate boost, then as it peters out the Ammonium form kicks in with a more gradual release.

In short, don’t get too stuck on the numbers, just make sure you have some of both in the fertilizer you buy.

Understanding the numbers

It’s really pretty basic – the higher the number the more of that element in the fertilizer analysis. A widely used N form used by farmers for example is 46-0-0, meaning that pure Nitrogen is 46% of the weight of the fertilizer. So if you have a tonne (1,000 kgs) of the actual product, then 460 kgs would be actual Nitrogen. Farmers will analyze their soil & the results will often call for a specific amount of “actual N” per hectare, so it becomes pretty simple to ascertain how much of the actual fertilizer to apply.

Understand the numbers and you too can make these calculations with ease!

Understanding the basics

All you really need to remember, that for the average homeowner to enjoy a healthy lush green lawn that you’ll need Nitrogen. It’s the building block that promotes the dark green color and the rapid foliage growth, and that it comes in two forms, and both are required . Being such a strong promoter of growth also means you have to be pretty careful when applying it, as it can be “hot”. If you apply too much you can definitely burn your lawn.

Understanding the balance

Plants need all three elements, and in the correct balance. Each nutrient is a unique component of the building block for growth – let’s look at the next number, the “P” – Phosphorous….

P – Phosphorus

The P in the N-P-K

Phosphorous, commonly called “phosphate” actually is naturally occurring in most soils, but in a form that is not really available for the plants feeding system, and has to be supplemented with a form that is more readily available. Phosphate is the element that promotes vigorous root development in lawns, essential if the lawn enters a period of stress, such as a prolonged dry spell.

Most phosphorus is actually mined from the soil, and is the result of the combination of mother nature and time converting bird poop into a “phosphate rock deposit” that we extract by mining. In it’s natural form phosphate rock releases very little P, but once reacted chemically, it changes into a form that IS released into the soil, ready for plants to uptake.

Central Florida has immense deposits of phosphate rock, originating as bird droppings on an ocean floor millions of years ago.

Remember the balance.

Many areas have become almost saturated with phosphorous, more because it’s a naturally occurring soil element & quite slow to release, versus a result of over use as a fertilizer. There is concern of it run off from the soil, and it entering waterways and streams etc., and subsequently a threat to water life. In fact many local jurisdictions are looking at a ban of phosphate use. A better solution than an outright ban however would be a mandatory soil test to determine the correct rate for application.

However, as the second number, phosphorus is usually the lower one, and most lawn fertilizer companies will formulate a blend that is proportionately correct to the other nutrients, and there is no reason for concern if the label is read and it’s used correctly.

K – Potassium

The K in the N-P-K

Finally the third of the three common elements is the “K”, or Potassium, sometimes called Potash. Like phosphate, potash is a naturally occurring rock found throughout the world, but primarily in the Northern Hemisphere. Immense deposits are in Western Canada and Russia. Potash is generally mined in traditional deep underground mines, though more recently “solution mining” is becoming popular. Potash (K) is an element that is widely used in almost all agricultural areas of the world.

Potassium actually enables the plant to better utilize Nitrogen, as well as helping in the synthesis of a wide variety of plant processes.

Did you know that a lawn grown with optimum levels of potassium will have an improved tolerance to many turf diseases.

While some soils have naturally high levels of potassium, most do not, so generally it’s quite safe to apply potassium to all lawns. Unlike phosphorus a build up of potash should have no negative effects, and it wont leach or run off.

Potash rock is actually a salt, is liberally used in many “ice melt” applications, and is a critical component in ice melt sand mix used by municipalities for sanding roads in our northern winters.

clover

How to Get Rid of Clover in Lawns

Get Rid of Clover in Your Yard for Good!

While finding a four leafed clover might bring you the luck of the Irish, large patches of clover in your lawn could be considered an eyesore, especially if they’re messing with your landscaping ideas for your front yard.  Clover can also attract bees to pollinate it, and if you have kids running around barefoot, they could accidentally step on a bee and get stung  Luckily, getting rid of clover in grass isn’t particularly hard.  In fact, killing clover in lawns can be done organically and without the help of any herbicides that could harm your grass if sprayed incorrectly.

Clover Basics (And How to Prevent It)

If you have clover in your lawn, odds are that it is because you have low nitrogen levels in the soil. Clover outperforms grass when nitrogen in the soil is low. The good news is that clover then takes the nitrogen from the air and puts it into the soil, helping the grass eventually grow back bigger and thicker.

This also means that small patches of clover is actually a good thing for your lawn and can help it to stay green and healthy.  But, if you get big patches of it or are intent on a perfectly manicured lawn, regular feeding and watering should prevent any clover from forming. You can use professional lawn fertilizers to do this or you can simply mulch your grass (see our best walk behind lawn mowers that have this function) and put it back down on your lawn. This should break down and provide the nitrogen that the grass needs to grow healthy and strong.

How to Get Rid of Clover in Lawn Organically

small clover patchGrass Can Naturally Overtake Clover Patches. Because clover competes for grass when nitrogen is low, the easiest solution for how to kill clover in grass is allowing the clover to do its job and making the conditions right for the grass to eventually choke it out.  Best of all, this is easy to do and won’t require any extra work on your part.  Simply do these two things:

  • Mulch your clippings back into your lawn to provide extra nitrogen for the grass
  • Mow your grass higher.  Grass grows higher than clover, so mow your grass higher, putting the clover in the shade.  Mow it shorter than the clover flowers though so that they don’t get a chance to seed and reproduce.

How to Kill Clover in My Lawn Today

If you want to get rid of your clover right now and don’t want to wait, you can also weed it out of your lawn yourself.  Removing clover from lawn is easy because the roots aren’t deep like many weeds, but it should be done in the spring and fall when grass grows the fastest.  You also need to take care to solve the original problem of low nutrients in the soil!  This is also most useful for small patches where it won’t take up too much of your time.

To kill clover in lawn today:

  • Water the lawn to loosen the grip the clover’s roots have on your soil.
  • Wait a few hours for the water to soak in.
  • Use a weeder like the best-selling Fiskars 7870 Uproot Lawn & Garden Weeder  to remove the clover by hand
  • Once the clover is removed place good mulch and grass seed down like the Scotts 14923 PatchMaster Grass Seed/Mulch Mix so that your grass grows back greener and healthier than ever!

How to Get Rid of Clover in Grass Chemically

You can also always decide to get rid of clover with herbicides and clover weed killers  such as  Ortho Weed-B-Gon Chickweed, Clover, And Oxalis Killer.  Make sure to buy herbicides for broad leaf plants so that it won’t harm your grass.  While it will get rid of the clover quickly, it won’t necessarily solve the problem that caused the clover in the first place.  Make sure that you also continue to feed and seed your lawn to prevent the clover from coming back.

These solutions for how to get rid of clover in lawn will help you solve your clover problem, but just remember that clover is indicative of a poorly fed lawn in the first place.  To keep clover out of your lawn, make sure that you continue aerating your lawn, professionally fertilizing it, and also much up your lawn clippings to keep it healthy!

dandelions

How to Kill Dandelions

How to Kill Dandelions Without Killing Grass

Dandelions are one of the toughest weeds to control. Even just a few of them can destroy an otherwise green and vibrant lawn. But don’t reach for the Roundup or other herbicides just yet. Spraying many weed killers on your lawn can leave you at risk of killing your grass as well, leaving giant brown spots in your lawn where before you had a lush lawn. Following are a few tips for how to kill dandelions without killing the grass.

Why are dandelions so hard to kill compared with unwanted intruders like clover? There are two reasons.

  • Dandelion seeds spread quickly once they reach maturity, flying on the breeze with little seeds. One weed can quickly turn into dozens, and neighborhood kids picking and blowing on the seed balls don’t help!
  • Secondly, the tap root of the dandelion is about 10 to 20 inches long. Hence, even if you pull it out, it leaves enough of a fracture to enable another pesky dandelion growing in its place.

So, how to kill dandelions without killing the grass? Here are some simple remedies which can help you in maintaining the beauty of your lawn.

    • A specialized tool can be used for pulling the weed by hand. It is essential to remove the entire weed and you can do so by making use of an aerator or by inserting a dandelion fork, like the one pictured to the right into the ground for pulling up the nutrient rich roots of the weed. If you’re using an aerator instead, you can use the aerator’s prongs to cover the center of the weed and then lift the complete weed structure from the ground by twisting your wrist.
    • You can use horticultural vinegar for drenching the weed in it. In a period of two to three days, it can be removed.
    • On well established lawns, you should make use of corn gluten which plays the role of a pre-emergent herbicide. As per the label’s directions, it should be applied in the spring which is about four to six weeks before the sprouting of the weeds. In the fall, this application should be repeated.
    • For completing their developmental process, the weeds need light. To prevent their growth, the light can be blocked by using a dark colored plastic or a cardboard which is weighed down with grass clippings, compost or bark mulch.
    • Probably the most fun you can have removing dandelions is by using the Weed Dragon Propane Vapor Torch Kit. This kit hooks up to any propane tank and can blast the weeds in your yard with 100,000 BTUs of heat. Much more fun than pulling weeds, but make sure you’re safe and observe local laws. Click the link above or the picture to the right to find it for the cheapest prices online.
    • Mowing high is also recommended for keeping the dandelion weeds in check. This means that the grass should be on the longer side of its ideal height. At least a height of 2.5 inches should be maintained as it will provide shade which will prevent the seeds of the dandelion from germinating and thus control their growth. Frequent mowing is also helpful because the topmost growth of the weed will keep getting lopped off and therefore it cannot form seed heads.

Now you know how to kill dandelions without killing the grass and you can protect your lawn from any serious damage.

Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass is also referred to as a grass with a pretty name; Brousemichea Balansa. Because of its hardiness, it is ideal for golf courses and lawns. Extreme variations in water, temperature and sunlight can be tolerated by this grass and it proliferates in warm weather. Native to Southeast and Eastern Asia, it is a creeping grass. This grass is mostly found on grasslands and is common in Australasia, Japan and China. Karl Von Zois was an Austrian botanist after whom this grass is named.

Introduction

Less mowing and watering is required by Zoysia grass. It has a unique style of growing through ‘stolons’ due to which it can spread quickly. It sends out more stolons along with sideway branches which take root in the soil. It is considered pleasant for walking barefoot because it makes a thick layered carpet which feels soft. The area in which it grows in is not infiltrated by weeds. It has deep roots and as compared to other grass it can thrive on very less water. Therefore, it uses the underlying moisture to sustain itself. The grass does not grow quickly because it has a lateral growth pattern and this leads to less mowing.

Cutting a Lawn Full of Zoysia GrassAdvantages

  • During the extremely hot summer months, Zoysia grass can grow well.
  • A cushiony, thick and dense turf can be easily established with it.
  • Summer weeds and crab grass can be controlled and prevented with its thick growth.
  • The cool-season grasses become very unattractive in the summer months while this grass maintains its green color.
  • Close mowing of this grass is also possible.
  • If it is managed properly, this grass can be grown in most types of soil.
  • During the summer season, it can withstand wear and tear.
  • After it has been well established, it can also tolerate low fertility.
  • Severe heat stress can also be tolerated by this particular grass.
  • In comparison to other cool season turf grasses, it needs very little water.

Watering Needs

For the first two weeks after it has been put in, Zoysia grass requires light watering everyday especially in the absence of rainfall. Later, a strong root system will be encouraged by infrequent yet thorough watering. When the leaf blades give signs of wilting, then only should it be watered. This grass is drought tolerant because it has a deep root system and can extract moisture from greater soil depths.

Fertilizing Needs

During active growth i.e. from April to October, the grass should be fertilized per 1000 square feet with two to four pounds of nitrogen. It should be fertilized in the fall as well if you want a better color in cool weather.

Mowing Needs

Zoysia grass should be mowed fairly low which is around ½ or 1 inch high. A reel mower should be used preferably. Also, in order to avoid a thick layer of thatch, the height of the grass should be kept below two inches which means it has to be mowed on a frequent basis. Mowing evenly can prove to be very tricky especially with long blades because it has a prickly texture. In order to remove thatch, periodic vertical mowing should be done which is quite useful.

Types of Zoysia Grass

There are several types of Zoysia grass which can be found. Some of them are listed below:

  • Japanese: Having a coarse texture, Zoysia japanonica greatly resembles tall fescue. As compared to any other type of Zoysia grass, it grows faster. It can also survive well in the cold weather, has light green leaves and is hairy.
  • Mascarene: This grass cannot stand the cold and is known as Zoysia tenuifolia. It can form a dense and fluffy turf because its leaves are short and fine. Mostly used as a low growing ground cover, it was introduced from the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean.
  • Manila: In 1911, Zoysia Mantrella was brought from the Philippines into the US.  The lawn produced by this grass is denser than that of Zoysia Japanonica and it grows slowly. It requires sufficient sunlight and the texture of its leaves is very fine. In lawns where slow growth is not an issue, this grass is recommended for high maintenance and high quality.

There are other types of this grass which are hybrid of the above mentioned types such as Emerald, Meyer etc. Basically, Zoysia grass is ideal if you are looking for a low maintenance lawn.

best lawn sweeper

The Best Lawn Sweeper Guide for 2019 (and Reviews)

Which is the BEST Leaf Sweeper (and Why!)

A leaf or lawn sweeper is one of the best pieces of garden equipment you can invest in to help achieve a beautiful lawn. It keeps your yard from getting buried under last season’s fallen debris or summer’s grass trimmings. Keeping your lawn’s appearance manicured and professionally maintained is effortless with the help of lawn sweepers.

Lawn Sweeper Basics

The lawn sweeper, or leaf sweeper as it is also known, is a mechanical implement used to collect debris such as fallen leaves, grass clippings or any litter from paved or level surfaces like a lawn. It is operated by a revolving mechanism that picks up the leaves or other debris and places it into a container for later discard.

This isn’t the same as a leaf blower as the blower just “blows” the debris around, where as a lawn sweeper picks up everything so you don’t need to rake it up later. And if you want to see the best leaf blower, check out our article.

Lawn leaf sweepers have two main types – manual or hand powered, and motorized. The motorized models can be further classified into a push or rolling leaf sweeper or a tow behind leaf sweeper. They can also be bought with a built-in shredder attached. Determining the best choice for you will depend on your needs.

Push leaf sweepers or hand-powered leaf sweepers use gears for the brush mechanism to rotate picking up debris and transferring it into an attached bag called a hopper. The height of the rollers can be adjusted so they can be used on different surfaces, including non-grassy areas such as patio slabs or stone walkways.

Powered lawn sweepers are similar to push lawn sweepers, except that they use gasoline, oil or electricity to operate the brush mechanism. These are ideal to use for larger lawns and gardens. The height of their rollers can also be modified. One disadvantage of powered lawn sweepers is the noise they generate.

A powered leaf collector with a shredder allows the user to produce mulch with the leaves that it collects. The shredder, however, limits it use on certain surfaces. Towed lawn sweepers operate very much like the others, but instead of being pushed, they need a small vehicle, such as a garden tractor, lawnmower or ATV to lug it around. The brush heights may be modified as well so it can be used on different surfaces.

Making the Decision to Buy

Spending money on a leaf lawn sweeper takes some consideration. In addition to what they cost, you also need to think about storage. Tow lawn sweepers use up a large space to store them.

Because they are equipped with a large hamper or hopper, it is not simple to stow them away. Hand powered lawn sweepers, on the other hand, take up less space to store compared with towed sweepers. They are smaller and some can even be folded. Some are even light enough to hang on the wall right next to your garden tool rack or weed wacker.

Another benefit to choosing manual leaf sweepers over powered sweepers is that since they require no power, they are less harmful to the environment.

The size of your yard and how much debris you typically need to clean up will also help you figure out which is the best lawn sweeper to buy to meet your needs.  Hopper size will also be determined by these factors.

Where you buy a lawn sweeper should also be considered. Look for a reputable supplier and look for manufacturers that offer good warranties. Warranties are important in case a problem arises. Availability of parts should also be considered. It’s also a good idea to check up front to see if finding leaf sweeper replacement parts is easy for the particular model you are considering.  You don’t want to buy a model that you will later find out is near impossible to find parts for, leaving you stuck to buy a whole new apparatus down the road.

In addition to all of these considerations, lawn sweeper prices are another important factor to think about. The quality, type and model of your sweeper will depend on the money you are willing to spend.

Lawn Sweeper Maintenance

Different types of lawn and leaf sweepers have their own advantages and disadvantages, but one thing they have in common is their need for proper maintenance. Caring for your sweeper ensures that they deliver the best performance. Apart from this, keeping them well-maintained helps ensure that they last for a very long time.

Maintenance of leaf sweepers is as simple as following the directions in the User’s Manual which shows you how the machine is operated, cleaned and replaced with parts. Below are general instructions on cleaning your leaf sweeper, which is generally common to all models:

  • Before every use, inspect the overall condition of the sweeper. Check for damage, loose screws, misalignment, sticks or breaks in moving parts.
  • Oil the brush shaft bearings twice a year.
  • Clean the hopper. Dispose of everything in it after each use. Use a dry rag to clean the insides.
  • Avoid using it on wet leaves. If this happens, make sure to clean and wipe after use.
  • Clean the wheels regularly. Apply an even coat of light grease after. Make sure not to overtighten the wheel bolt and nut.
  • Clean the brushes. Remove the hopper first then wipe the brushes.
  • Wipe the sweeper down after every use. Just take a rag and wipe it off.
  • Store the leaf sweeper properly after use.

Proper Handling

It is also important to follow safety precautions for the health and safety of the user. Below is a list of general advice to follow:

  • Do not use leaf or lawn sweepers in extremely wet places.
  • Keep children away.
  • Use only identical replacement parts.
  • Do not use a leaf sweeper for any job except that for which it is intended.
  • Do not force the sweeper.
  • Store when not in use.
  • Do not perform any maintenance or make repairs while the sweeper is moving.

Green Living with Leaf Sweepers

One great benefit in using a leaf sweeper is its help in protecting the environment, especially those not powered by gas or oil. They do not emit fumes, and unlike leaf blowers or leaf vacuums, they do not add to carbon emissions, which increase the health risk for respiratory diseases.

Below are more environmental benefits of leaf sweepers:

  • Harvests weed seeds and reduce their growth, which in turn reduces the need for a chemical weed control service.
  • Reduces the aggravation of allergy and hay fever because of grass clippings.
  • Reduces health problems such as asthma and hay fever because of grass, tree and weed pollen.
  • Reduces the risk of fires because of debris.
  • Helps eliminate potential breeding grounds for insects like flies.
  • Some debris can become potential sources of alternative fuel. Grass, for example, is now being converted into bio crude oil.

Collected debris can also be made into mulch or compost. Compost is any organic matter that has been decayed for use of aiding the growth of plants and trees in particular. Mulch on the other hand is used to suppress growth, weeds specifically, and should not have undergone decomposition.

To make compost, collect shredded leaves and place them in a compost bin. Mix and water the ingredients. Turn the mixture over and swap the layers to ensure that decomposition becomes even. Once decomposed thoroughly, transfer it to another container.

To make mulch, just shred leaves and they are ready to use. Unlike compost, you do not need to do any treatments on it once placed in a bin.

Keeping your garden and backyard clean and your lawn looking perfectly manicured takes a lot of effort and time, and buying a lawn sweeper will probably be the best investment you will ever make in this respect.

What Type of Lawn Sweeper is Best?

While a lawn sweeper is not something that every homeowner needs to own, having a lawn sweeper makes easy work out of clearing the lawn of leaves and other debris.  Lawn sweepers are somewhat of a luxury because they are not used on a constant basis, but if you have a lawn that is covered with many leaves or a large lawn where the cleanup process is painstakingly time consuming, then a lawn sweeper can be a great garden tool to own, and one that saves you lots of time.

What exactly is a lawn sweeper, or a lawn leaf sweeper as it’s sometimes called?  It’s a device that is rolled or pushed along your lawn to sweep up leaves and other loose debris in order to clean up the lawn.  Lawn sweepers are similar to vacuum cleaners, but are used outdoors.  Just as you would push a vacuum cleaner along the carpet to remove any loose dirt or items, you can push or tow a lawn sweeper along the grass to pick up leaves, pine needles, loose grass, and other small objects.

lawn sweepers for leavesA lawn sweeper works by rotating a set of brushes along an axle while the device is moved across the lawn.  The brushes essentially sweep up any leaves or other small debris into a hopper.  The hopper contains the leaves until it fills up or you have completed the job, at which time you can empty it.  The sweeper will pick up most small items, but may not pick up larger or more difficult items such as pine cones or small twigs.  The shorter your lawn is cut and the flatter the surface you are pushing the lawn sweeper across, the easier it is for it to pick up loose items.

There are two main types of lawn sweepers – push lawn sweepers and tow behind lawn sweepers.  A push lawn sweeper is similar to a push lawnmower.  The operator of the lawn sweeper pushes it forward in order for it to move across the lawn and do its job.    There are push lawn sweepers that are manual and those that are automatic.  Manual push lawn sweepers require a bit of manpower to get them moving, while an automatic or powered lawn sweeper is self propelled, just like a self propelled lawn mower.  Tow behind lawn sweepers can be attached to a ride-on tractor or mower.   A tow lawn sweeper can be attached whenever needed or unattached when it is not.

Lawn sweepers can range in price from around $100 to hundreds of dollars, depending on whether the sweeper is a manual push model, an automatic model, or a tow model and what features it contains.  Different models contain different size hoppers and options.  One drawback to some lawn sweepers is that they are somewhat difficult to assemble after you bring them home, so when possible, it is best to find a retailer that will assemble it for you prior to purchase.

There are a number of companies that manufacture lawn sweepers and before purchasing one it is best to check out some lawn sweeper reviews to see which model will best suit your needs.  A lawn sweeper review should tell you the model, price range, positives and negatives of any features, ease of use and assembly, how large the hopper is, how wide the coverage is, as well as any other pertinent information that you may be interested in about lawn sweepers.  If you have an artificial lawn, you also want to make sure that the model of lawn sweeper you are considering will work well with the artificial surface.  Reviews are a great way to get an idea of which is the best lawn sweeper for you based on your specific type of lawn as well as your budget.

buy a lawn seeperSome models of lawn sweepers to consider are listed below.  You will see that a number of companies that make lawn mowers also offer models of lawn sweepers as well (and some companies that make vacuum cleaners also make lawn sweepers).  This list does not include every company that offers lawn sweepers, so there is a wide selection to choose from.

Lawn sweeper manufacturers:

  • Agri-Fab lawn sweepers
  • Parker lawn sweepers
  • Brinley Hardy lawn sweepers
  • Huskee lawn sweepers
  • Precision Products lawn sweepers
  • Yardwise lawn sweepers
  • Lambert lawn sweepers
  • Ranch King lawn sweepers
  • Ohio Steel lawn sweepers
  • Craftsman lawn sweepers
  • Hoover lawn sweepers
  • Oreck lawn sweepers
  • Swisher lawn sweepers
  • John Deere lawn sweepers

If you are looking for an easy way to clean up your lawn each fall or anytime a lot of leaves, grass, small twigs or other debris accumulate, then using a lawn sweeper can make the chore easier and can save you time.  Lawn sweepers are easier to use than leaf blowers.  The only thing to keep in mind is that you need a place to store your lawn sweeper when not in use, so make sure you have room in your garage, shed or other type of garden building.

mowing the grass

Our (Professional) Lawn Care Tips!

EASY Lawn Care & Maintenance Tips

Mowers, edgers, leaf-blowers. Sod, plug, aerate, de-thatch. Irrigate, seed, fertilize, weed.

Phew! Makes my head spin just thinking about the stuff you’re supposed to do to maintain a lawn, at least according to certain yard-care experts. If you follow the recommendations of lawn-care service companies, you can spend hundreds of dollars each year on your lawn.

Many people do exactly that, just because they think it’s necessary for a nice lawn.

Well, guess what? It’s not necessary. Okay, if you must have a picture perfect lawn that’s smooth, flat and green year-round like a golf course… well, that’s going to require some work.

However, if you’re like me and just want some nice, healthy grass, then the trick is to work… less. Yes, less!

In fact, everything you really need to know can be simplified down into three tips: 1. Mow less. 2. Lay off the chemicals and 3. Opt for low-maintenance landscaping.

Need more detail? Read on!

Lawn-Care: Why less is more

Like the soldier who opts for a buzz-cut because he needs a no-maintenance routine, many people mistakenly think that buzz-cutting their grass really short will make for a low-maintenance lawn.

Now, I know it seems tempting, but the secret to a low-maintenance lawn is to let it grow longer. Yes, really.

When grass is cut super-short, the thousands of individual little grass plants making up your lawn get stressed. They start working overtime to grow the blades back to a normal height.

If the blades are repeatedly mowed short, the plant eventually devotes all its resources to blade growth.

This makes for a weakened root system that’s too weak to withstand normal environmental stresses like periods of drought.

Unfortunately, this is the point at which homeowners can inadvertently make matters worse.

Seeing that the lawn is beginning to appear yellow or patchy, many reach for the weed-and-feed-type products.

However, a good dose of fertilizer forces the lawn into yet another growth surge, exhausting it even further.

At this point, it’s easy to get stuck in a never-ending — and costly — cycle of mowing and fertilizing, mowing and fertilizing.

Want to stop the madness?

Here are some simple lawn-care hints:

1. Mow less

Mow less often, maybe every couple of weeks in summer instead of every week. Second, mow high — set the lawnmower blades to the highest setting you can live with.

The rule of thumb is this: cut no more than one third of the leaf blade when you mow to avoid stressing the grass.

This should guide you in choosing a blade height, depending on which type of grass you have.

For example, my lawn here in north Florida is St. Augustine grass, which should be mowed high at three inches or more.

My neighbors all have St. Augustine grass lawns or Zoysia Grass too, yet many of them cut much lower than three inches, stressing the lawn and creating bald, yellowing patches that become very visible when it’s hot and dry.

In comparison, my lawn looks fine year round and I do absolutely nothing to it other than mowing every couple of weeks during the summer months.

Can you live with a longer lawn? It takes a little getting used too, especially if you’re concerned about bucking a neighborhood trend.

That’s because a longer lawn looks lush and lovely on its own, but when it’s surrounded by ultra-clipped lawns it can look…well, a bit shaggy and unkempt in comparison.

Keeping the edges neat goes a long way, as does mowing the grass verge closest to the street a little lower than the rest.

One task you should not neglect is lawnmower servicing. Get your mower serviced regularly to ensure you’re mowing with a nice sharp blade. (Or sharpen the blade yourself if you know how.)

This produces a clean cut on the leaf blade, which is good for the health of the lawn. Dull blades, on the other hand, shred the grass blades, stressing the lawn.

2. Lay off the Chemicals

Many suburbanites are guilty of over-fertilizing their lawns, which contributes to the pollution of our waterways.

Please, please use fertilizer on your lawn only occasionally (once every one or two years is fine), and apply it conservatively.

Fertilize only during the early growing season. Finally, use a slow-release product for maximum long-term lawn health.

Skip the giant sacks of “weed and feed” products, which are a blend of fertilizer and herbicides. Herbicides should be used sparingly, on affected areas only. It’s a poison — why spread it all over your property?

Just because your lawn mower came with a clipping catcher doesn’t mean you have to use it! Leave grass clippings where they fall.

The blade tips will will break down and fertilize your lawn naturally. Why go to all that trouble of hauling and bagging clippings when they can do so much good for your lawn?

Another handy hint: make peace with the weeds, and don’t go looking for problems.

A few weeds here and there are not as noticeable to the neighbors as you might think. In fact, they are invisible from a distance. A few dandelions here are there aren’t going to kill you.

Focus on encouraging healthy lawn growth. Weeds will never really take hold in a healthy lawn.

3. Low-maintenance Landscaping

Know when to give up on grass. Lawns will become high-maintenance when they’re planted in unsuitable locations. Lawn grasses typically need bright light and great soil.

Some areas of your yard may just not be the right place for lawn. If that’s the case, consider simply replacing some of it with something else.

In shady areas, such as under large evergreen trees, opt for shade-loving groundcovers.

What’s not to like about English Ivy or Liriope?

They’re pretty and never, ever need mowing! Clover is an option, too, if you’re okay with lots of bees! You could also try turning part of your lawn into a wildflower meadow.

Hot, sunny slopes can be replanted with drought-hardy groundcovers like ornamental grasses, which come in many sizes from ankle-height (dwarf bamboo) to knee-high (fountain grass) to head-high (pampas grass).

Ornamental grasses are highly drought-tolerant, love sun, and look fabulous planted in clusters. Another sun-loving, no-maintenance groundcover is juniper. Once established, it looks great and stays green through the worst droughts.

Here are a few more tips that reduce the need for mowing: First, replace lawn in high-traffic areas with paths , mulch, stepping stones, or a combination of all three.

Second, mulch around trees to reduce the total area that needs mowing and raking, and to protect trees from mower collisions.

Third, create rounded edges on your garden beds to make mowing less labor-intensive. Fourth, edge your garden beds and paths, so you won’t need an edger.

Finally, remember that your county extension service may be able to offer free advice if you’re having problems. Enjoy your low-care lawn!