Posted on

quick lawn weeder for seeding

Get a Strong Start This Spring

Any lawn care pro will tell you that preparation is critical to growing and maintaining the best lawn on the block. To help you prepare and start the season off strong, we put together a list of tips and product recommendations.

Let Your Thatch Breathe
Over the winter months debris, leaves, and twigs tend to accumulate in our yards. Head out onto your lawn with a yard waste bag and rake to begin cleaning up. As you rake to remove dead grass, allowing your thatch to breathe, take note of any thinning or sparse areas that could use a little extra TLC during the growing season. Cleaning up your lawn and exposing the thatch is especially important if you plan to apply pre-emergent weed control as any debris left behind could interfere with the accuracy and effectiveness of your application.

Prepare the Soil
Soil amendments like Humic DG, BioChar DG and HumiChar can be applied all year round but it is especially important to apply them at the beginning of and during the growing season. By applying amendments in early spring, you begin to support healthy microbial activity, creating the ideal environment for your grass to start off the new growing season in.


Prevent Weeds

Applying a pre-emergent weed control in the spring can help cut down on landscaping time devoted to weed control throughout the year. For your lawn, apply Barricade in early spring prior to soil temperatures reaching 55 degrees Fahrenheit at a four inch depth. At this same time, you can also apply pre-emergent weed control to your landscaped areas using Easy Weeder. Easy Weeder will provide up to three months of coverage, at which time you can reapply the product.


Repair Dead Spots

Revisit the thinning or patchy areas that you noticed during your cleanup. If you need to seed those areas but chose to apply Barricade weed prevention, you’ll want to time your planting carefully. Climate determines how long you should wait to seed or overseed after applying Barricade. Refer to the table on near the bottom of our blog, Prevent Weeds All Season Long with Barricade, for more details on timing. When seeding, be sure irrigate and fertilize the areas you’re repairing. New Lawn Starter has an ideal formula for newly seeded areas and adding BioChar DG at the time of planting can aid seed germination.


Provide Nutrition

As temperatures continue to rise your grass will come out of winter dormancy and begin to actively grow. At this time, you can provide a boost of nutrition through a fertilizer application. Our PGF Balanced 10-10-10 with all quick-release nitrogen and added iron is perfect for spring applications. Or, if you prefer organic products, you can apply our Innova 7-1-2.

By taking care of your lawn and soil now, you’ll have a thick, green lawn to enjoy this spring. And, in taking these measures, you’re also preparing your lawn to handle the stress of summer months as the heat, drought, and traffic all increases.

How to Get Your Lawn Lush and Green

Looking for the best tips on how to get grass to grow? Follow our advice to set your lawn on the right path.

Share this story

  • Share this on Facebook
  • Share this on Twitter

Share All sharing options for: How to Get Your Lawn Lush and Green

  • Pinterest
  • Email

Photo by Bill Grove/iStockphoto

Green, cool, and comfortable underfoot, turf grass is as versatile as an outdoor surface gets. But heavy foot traffic can leave it a bit ragged, though, and any missed fall maintenance—that last dose of fertilizer you were supposed to spread, any bare patches that should have been reseeded—may have caused your lawn to look a little worn out this spring, with thin spots and less color than you remember.

Now’s the time to make amends with a proper feeding schedule and smart troubleshooting tactics to stop budding pest and weed problems in their tracks. Read on for what to do right now and in the weeks ahead to cultivate a hardy, healthy patch of green.

Shown: A thick, well-fed lawn is your best defense against weeds, which can’t compete for space and nutrients. Leaving the grass long, 3 inches or more, encourages roots to grow deeper, where they’ll weather drought better. Taller grass also casts shade, preventing weed seeds from germinating.

Tips for a Lush Green Lawn

Soil Testing

Photo by Webb Chappell

Neglected your lawn last fall? Here are the steps to take in early-spring to get grass off to a healthy start.

A soil test is the only way to identify what your lawn needs. A Cooperative Extension office can perform an analysis for about $25 (search usda.gov to locate one near you). While you’re waiting for the results, rake up any leaves left from last fall; the raking will also fluff up grass tamped down by rain or snow.

Once the grass is dry, mow the lawn to about 2 inches tall. “Mowing the lawn shorter than normal removes brown, dead tissue at the tips and encourages new growth,” says Scotts researcher Phil Dwyer, Ph.D.

Dethatch

Photo by Alison Rosa

Pulling up thatch, a tight mat of dead and living plant material on top of the soil, opens up a lawn so that nutrients and water can reach turf roots. A thatching rake, like the one shown at left ($30; ames.com), has curved tines made for the job and works for lawns up to 100 square feet. For large areas or very heavy thatch, rent a power dethatcher for about $45 a day.

Aerate

Photo by Keller & Keller

Core aeration, removing 3- to 4-inch-long plugs of soil, is usually done in the fall when the chance of encouraging weed seeds is lower. But if you plan to use preemergent weed control with the first dose of spring fertilizer, aerating now is a good way to loosen compacted soil so that oxygen and fertilizer get down to the roots, says Nick Christians of Iowa State University’s Department of Horticulture.

You can manually aerate small areas with a foot-powered core extractor, but consider renting a gas-powered one for about $60 a day to handle bigger lawns.

Shown: For larger lawns TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook uses a walk-behind aerator that pulls out 2½-to 3-inch-deep soil plugs, which will break down naturally by spring.

Fertilizing Facts

Photo by Kindra Clineff

Q: I forgot to fertilize last fall! Am I doomed?

— John Farrow, Boise, Idaho

A: If you didn’t fertilize last fall, resist the urge to double up in the spring. Dumping more fertilizer than the lawn needs in the spring is wasteful and can burn your turf. Instead, spread 32-0-4 grass fertilizer after the first mowing, then again four to six weeks later. Organic lawn food, such as corn-gluten meal or a mix of feather, bone, and blood meals, works more slowly than synthetic fertilizers, so the lawn will take an extra week to green up.

Shown: TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook relies on a broadcast spreader to add fertilizer because it reduces the chance of missing a section, which can lead to unsightly growth patterns.

Spend for Premium Seed

Photo by Alison Rosa

If you need to seed a bare patch or your grass is so thin that you need to overseed, invest in a top-quality mix. Check the bag’s label; a premium blend will name individual cultivars, such as ‘Midnight’ Kentucky bluegrass, while common names, like tall fescue, indicate older, lower-quality seed types. The pros agree: Cheaper seed will never perform really well, no matter how much you fertilize.

You might also consider a custom mix. Online specialty seed retailers, such as SeedSuperStore.com, cherry-pick top-performing seed types (you can research these at the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program’s website, ntep.org) and can create a blend optimally suited to your site, with no weed seeds. Or, if you’re looking for something special, like darker color or finer leaf texture, you can tailor a mix accordingly. Expect to pay more than double what home-center seed costs.

Drought Tolerant Turf

Photo by Brian Smith

If drought tolerance is the benchmark, some grass types will definitely weather a lack of water better than others. Here’s how they stack up from most drought tolerant to least:

  • •Bermuda grass
  • buffalo grass
  • •zoysia grass
  • •Bahia grass
  • •Saint Augustine grass
  • •centipede grass
  • •tall fescue
  • •fine fescue
  • •Kentucky bluegrass
  • •bent grass
  • •perennial ryegrass

Organic Turf

Illustration by Rose Lowry

Organic lawn care nourishes the soil; the synthetic approach feeds the plants. Grass thrives in soil full of beneficial bacteria, earthworms, and other organisms fed by organic sources of nitrogen. “Studies have shown that root mass increases as more organic matter is available,” says Paul Tukey, founder of the SafeLawns Foundation.

Increasing organic matter in the soil also helps it to hold water, which encourages deep roots in all but heavy clay soil. The deeper root zone of organically treated lawns makes them better able to weather drought, pests, and diseases than shallower-rooted, synthetically treated lawns.

Grass Roots Turf Care

Compost Tea

Illustration by Rose Lowry

Spreading garden compost improves soil biology and structure, but top-dressing a lawn with a ½-inch layer twice annually is labor-intensive—and slow to work. Below, two easier methods for getting compost’s benefits.

Compost tea makes beneficial bacteria and nutrients immediately available to lawn soil and turf roots. To brew it, put 5 cups of loose compost in a mesh sack and suspend it in a 5-gallon bucket oxygenated by an aquarium pump for about 24 hours.

For the simplest delivery system, skip the backpack or pump sprayer. Screw a siphon (we like Hozon’s, $32; amleo.com) between an outdoor spigot and a garden hose hooked up to a sprinkler to pull the tea out of the bucket and through the sprinkler nozzles. One quart of compost tea will cover about 1,000 square feet of lawn. Repeat every four to six weeks.

Granular Compost

A dehydrated version of the traditional stuff, granular compost comes alive in the presence of moisture yet has a shelf life of about eight years. Once wet, the beads of dried manure, straw, food scraps, and sand break down slowly, like traditional compost. But because you can use a broadcast spreader to apply it, you can cover your lawn in a quarter of the time. You’ll need one pound per 100 square feet of lawn. Repeat every four to six weeks.

How to Get Rid of Weeds In Grass

The severity of your response to these invaders should depend on the numbers: When half the lawn is covered with weeds, it’s time to get a soil test and renovate the entire lawn. For a scattering of weeds, a hand weeder or targeted spray is kinder to the lawn ecosystem. The stand-up sprayer above ($20; fiskfarmandhome.com) holds 16 ounces of any weed treatment. Pushing down on the handle dispenses a 3 1/2-inch-diameter mist beneath the 7-inch cone.

Keep Your Mower Blades Sharp

Illustration by Rose Lowry

A sharp mower blade cleanly slices grass tips (left), so they heal quickly and aren’t open to disease. A dull blade tears them (right), leaving weakened, jagged edges that turn brown and are vulnerable to disease. You should sharpen your blade after every four to six uses. If you hit something while mowing, file nicked edges right away.

Common Myths About Lawns

Photo by Brad Wrobleski/Masterfile

MYTH: Clippings cause thatch.

FACT: Since grass clippings are about 90 percent water, they break down too quickly to add to thatch. Lawns develop thatch naturally, but more than a ½-inch layer prevents nutrients, oxygen, and water from getting through.

MYTH: Spiked shoes can aerate a lawn.

FACT: True aeration requires removing 4-inch-long plugs of soil to create voids so that nutrients can get to the roots. Despite the name, slip-on spiked aerator shoes don’t aerate, and golf cleats can actually compact the soil.

MYTH: Hot weather kills grass.

FACT: Turf naturally goes dormant during a drought. A brown lawn isn’t necessarily dead and usually bounces back when watered after temperatures cool. But a lawn that goes from brown to tan to gray is sending out an SOS.

Choose the Right Lawn Sprinkler

“Walking” Tractor

Delivering an inch of water per week isn’t easy when you have an irregularly shaped lawn or have to fuss with setting up a sprinkler in just the right spot week after week. These two hose-end options make the job easier.

To water an irregularly shaped area or a long, narrow side yard, lay a path with your hose. Then place this 19-inch-long cast-iron tractor on top, screw the couplings together, and watch as it crawls over the rubber tubing at one of three speeds while its rotating sprinkler arms toss water from 15 to 55 feet away. $60; lrnelson.com

In-Ground Pop-Up

Courtesy Watering Made Easy

Dig a hole, place the sprinkler inside and backfill with soil and gravel, and you’ve got a pop-up head without digging up the entire lawn. Set the spray pattern and watch it throw water from 30 to 70 feet away. Connect the hose to raise the sprinkler; disconnect and it falls to grade level until next time. $40; wateringmadeeasy.com

Pests By Season

Spring

Illustration by Rose Lowry

Unseen insects can damage turf throughout the growing season. Three invaders to look out for:

Chinch Bugs: Damage shows up in spring to midsummer as yellow spots in the lawn, signs they’ve sucked the water out of the grass.

Treatment: Dilute rosemary oil, a natural insecticide, with water and spread with a pump sprayer.

Summer

Illustration by Rose Lowry

White Grubs: Peel back a bit of lawn starting in mid- to late August, when they chew on grass roots, destroying the roots’ ability to absorb water. Damaged patches will roll up easily, like carpet.

Treatment: Once soil reaches 70 degrees F, use a pump sprayer to spread beneficial nematodes (microscopic worms) mixed in water.

Illustration by Rose Lowry

Mole Crickets: They’re most active in late summer to early fall, when they feed on grass roots.

Treatment: Dilute neem oil, a natural insecticide, with water and spread with a pump sprayer.

Lawn Edging Tool

Photo by Alison Rosa

Tidy edges upgrade your lawn instantly. But getting straight lines (and avoiding a backache) can require a steady hand and practice. To make the job easier, look for a lightweight cordless string trimmer.

The Worx GT 18-volt string trimmer-edger (left) has a pair of in-line skate wheels to guide it along edges, so there’s no scalping the lawn. An adjustable second handle and a telescoping shaft offer optimal ergonomics. It’s compact and lightweight for storing, too. $120; worx.com

Looking to improve your lawn? Check out these in-depth guides from the This Old House Team.

Quick lawn weeder for seeding

Winter Rye comes in 56# bags or sold by the pound. This product is offered in late summer through early to mid fall to spread and apply to garden soil and used as a cover crop and/or forage crop.

Great for over wintering your garden! It’s the best way to add biomass to the soil if you don’t have access to good animal manure. Winter Rye puts down deep, fibrous roots making channels into the soil. The roots of the vegetables planted in the spring will follow these channels making it easier for them to establish a good root system of their own. Also a great forage for dear and wildlife in the winter.

Scotts® Turf Builder® Thick’R Lawn™ Sun & Shade 12 lb.
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter

Scotts® Turf Builder® Thick’R Lawn™ Sun & Shade has everything you need to help turn weak, thin grass into a thick, green lawn. With this 3-in-1 solution, get up to a 50% thicker lawn with just one application*, guaranteed! Thick’R LawnTM contains soil improver for enhanced root development, seed to fill gaps with new grass, and fertilizer to feed new grass and thicken and green existing turf. This product is intended for use on an entire lawn and can be applied easily with a Scotts® spreader.

Agway Conservation Green 25lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter

Conservation Green is an exclusive AGWAY mixture suited for covering slopes and tough areas quickly.

Agway Landscapers Mix 25lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter

Agway Landscaper Mix is a mixture of Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and creeping red fescue.

Agway Kentucky Bluegrass Grass Seed Blend 3lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • UPC: 739088767313
  • SKU: 02142625

Agway Kentucky Bluegrass is a blend of three different bluegrass varieties.

Agway Tri-ryegrass 3lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • UPC: 739088754887
  • SKU: 02142565

Tri-Ryegrass Mixture is an AGWAY Value mixture suited for a wide range of growing sites in sun or part sun.

Agway Tri-ryegrass 10lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • SKU: 02142623
Agway Sun And Shade Mix 25lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • UPC: 756637175364
  • SKU: 02100050

Sun & Shade is an AGWAY Value mixture of quick-covering perennial ryegrass which grows well with fine-textured fescues that thrive in part or full shade.

Agway Ready Green 3lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • UPC: 756637268862
  • SKU: 02142627

Premium grass seed mixture for full sun or shade conditions. Contains AquaBond with Nutri-Start, Use less water.

Agway Shady Green Grass Seed 10lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • SKU: 02142510

Agway Shady Green is an exclusive AGWAY mixture of premium disease-resistant turf grasses blended especially for lawns in dense or partial shade.

Agway Shady Green Grass Seed 3lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • UPC: 000000000000
  • SKU: 02142622

Agway Shady Green is an exclusive AGWAY mixture of premium disease-resistant turf grasses blended especially for lawns in dense or partial shade.

Scotts Turf Builder Ez Seed 3.75lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • SKU: 02145089
  • Model Number: 22760
Scotts Turf Builder Ez Seed 10lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • SKU: 02145091
  • Model Number: 22760
Scotts Patchmaster Sun & Shade 5lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • UPC: 032247142106
  • SKU: 10209242
Agway Spot Green Grass Seed 1lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • SKU: 02142519

Spot Green is an exclusive AGWAY mix packaged for easy seeding of small bare spots in sunny or shady lawns.

Agway Wear Green Grass Seed 3lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • UPC: 739088100141
  • SKU: 02142620

Wear Green is an exclusive AGWAY mixture of premium turf-type tall fescue varieties that are tolerant to wear for lawn areas with heavy traffic or recreational use.

Agway Wear Green Grass Seed 10lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • UPC: 739088752913
  • Manufacturer: Agway
  • SKU: 02142507

Wear Green is an exclusive AGWAY mixture of premium turf-type tall fescue varieties that are tolerant to wear for lawn areas with heavy traffic or recreational use.

Agway Fall Mix Grass Seed
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • UPC: 739088752975
  • SKU: 02142513

Fall Seeding Mixture is an exclusive AGWAY mixture suited for late seeding projects. The perennial ryegrasses adapt quickly to a wide range of growing sites and thrive even under cool temperatures.

Agway Conservation Green 10 Lb
  • Share this:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Pin on Pinterest
  • Tweet on Twitter
  • UPC: 739088775325
  • SKU: 02142555

Conservation Green is an exclusive AGWAY mixture suited for covering slopes and tough areas quickly.