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Lawn care 101: Dig into spring with tips for a lush lawn

(BPT) - Having a well-kept lawn not only will keep you in your neighbors’ good graces, it also adds value to your home. Lawn care doesn’t need to be complicated, but sometimes it just needs to be done.

Whether you’re a new homeowner or just looking for smarter ways to mow, seed or weed, the experts at The Home Depot have got the tips to keep the front, side and backyard lush and lovely. Taking steps to care for your lawn now can make sure you have a long, green summer ahead of you.

Take a sweep What’s going on with your yard? Walk around your yard and check for wear and tear, good drainage and any damage caused by a long winter. Do you have barren spots or areas overgrown with weeds? Assess your needs before getting started this season.

“Sometimes knowing where to start can be the hardest part of taking care of your yard,” says Home Depot Certified Garden Consultant Nick Blassman. “Before heading to the store, take a critical look at the lawn and jot down a list of your trouble spots.”

Weeds and bald spots Nothing ruins a beautiful, sloping lawn like weeds. Get rid of them easily this year with products like Amdro PowerFlex Weed and Grass Killer - it starts working immediately and kills weeds and unwelcome grasses down to their roots. Bare spots should be patched with healthy grass and most kinds of grass can be seeded over.

Fertilize It’s a step many people skip over, but a good quality fertilizer can be the key to a beautiful yard. Fertilize once in the spring and then again in the fall. For a healthy yard, choose a fertilizer like Scotts Southern Turf Builder, with a large percentage of slow-release nitrogen and micronutrients. If you’re looking for an organic fertilizer, try Scotts Natural Lawn Food. Err on the side of under-fertilizing verses overdoing it - too much fertilizer can dry out your lawn or cause thatch to develop.

If you’ve fertilized and your lawn is getting a good amount of sunlight and water, test the soil to see if it has the proper pH balance (typically between 6.5 and 7.0 for most soils). “Home test kits are very easy to use - get several soil samples from different areas of your lawn, each from about 2 to 3 inches below the surface. Follow the instructions to complete the test and then doctor the soil as necessary,” says Blassman. Adding lime helps up your pH levels, but sulfur, sawdust and compost will bring the pH levels down.

Watering Lawns need on average about an inch of water a week (either from irrigation or rain). Before spring gets into full swing, check your sprinklers. Turn them on and look for sprinkler heads that may not be working and replace any damaged ones. When you get into the season, if you’re noticing water is collecting in pools around the yard but everything is sprinkling smoothly, your lawn may not be draining properly. Consider removing the turf and adding a topsoil coat to level the ground, then replant with grass or ground cover like water-retaining Cypress Mulch. If you’ve got hard-to-reach shrubs or hanging baskets, a shower wand like the Orbit 33-inch Shower Wand makes watering much easier.

Get a mow on When you’re mowing your yard, run the lawn mower in a different direction each time so you don’t hurt your lawn by creating ruts in the turf. Leave the clippings out on your lawn as an extra fertilizer. If you’ve got a small yard with tight corners, new mowers like the Ariens 42 inch 21 horsepower, available exclusively at The Home Depot, boasts a small 16-inch turning radius for navigating obstacles and hard turns. For a full yard’s work, the Honda 21-inch Steel Deck Smart Drive Self-Propelled mower is a perfect fit; it has an easy button start, a quiet engine and the Smart Drive system self-propels at adjustable speeds.

For more information on lawn care tips or anything related to the garden, sign up for The Garden Club at www.homedepot.com/gardenclub which provides regionalized information, forums and deals.

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