Stage a lawn-care intervention with these four fab fixes...

Stage a lawn-care intervention with these four fab fixes...

In the U.S., we spend a whopping $40 billion on lawn care every year! So protect your investment by avoiding these far-too-common mistakes.

1. Overfertilizing. The key to a healthy lawn is moderation. Too much of any essential nutrient can cause your lawn to look sparse, coarse, yellowish, or stunted.

Do this instead: The fastest, easiest way to keep your lawn well nourished is to forget fertilizer altogether. Just spread a layer of top-quality compost across the turf twice a year, in the spring and again in the fall. If you want to try this approach, you’ll need a minimum of 50 pounds of compost for each 1,000 square feet of lawn area. As for the maximum, well, the sky’s the limit—there’s no such thing as an overdose of black gold!

2. Skipping a mowing. Tall grass will block the sun and prevent new blades from growing. Then, when you mow, weeds will take the opportunity to fill the gaps between the blades.

Do this instead: Mow at least once a week, and never cut more than one-third of the height of the grass at any one time.

3. Buying the cheapest grass seed. Remember, you get what you pay for.

Do this instead: Read the label on the bag of grass seed before you buy it. “Seed percentages” reveals the proportion of grass, other crop, and weed seeds by weight. A tiny percentage of non-grass seed finds its way into any mixture, but a good one shouldn’t contain more than 0.5 percent of “other crop seed.” Chaff, soil, and other non-growing stuff falls into the “inert matter” category. It’s harmless, but you sure don’t want to pay good money for it! Don’t buy a bag that contains more than 4 percent of it. As for the “noxious weeds” listing, the only number to settle for is a big, fat 0!

4. Watering too much. Too much moisture makes your lawn an easy target for all kinds of ugly lawn diseases.

Do this instead: Most turfgrasses only need roughly 1 inch of water each week during the growing season, whether it’s supplied by you, rainfall, or a combination of both. Here’s a simple way to tell whether it’s time to water your lawn: Just push a long screwdriver into the ground. If you have to struggle to get the tool 6 inches or so into the soil, it’s time to turn on the sprinklers and give that turf some liquid refreshment.