Tips for the LAWN you promised yourself last year

The Window of Opportunity

Here in the greater Philadelphia area, many of you will have piles of snow and ice on the lawn as well as your mind, due to the typical February forecast. Despite the short term weather reporting, Spring is only several weeks away. Believe it or not, it will get here sooner than you think. Will you be ready for it? Here in this article we will highlight several preparations for every homeowner. Hopefully we can provide an education that will directly result in a better lawn this year. If you remember last year, you swore it would be different next time around. Yes, it's next year already.

Let's start with last fall. It's late October, possibly November, and the hours we spent in mowing, watering, weeding, and worrying about our little green patch of oasis has taken its toll and we are ready to put up the lawn tools for the season. Last Saturday you spent the whole day getting your lawn to look perfect. You raked the lawn of all the leaves, picked up sticks, mowed and bagged the clippings and it looks perfect! We get a little rain and some wind, and the lawn is completely covered again by Monday. Ugh, not again, after all that work! So, you are hesitant to dedicate another Saturday. What happens next is that unexpected snow that dusts over the lawn. If we are honest, we'll see those leaves again once everything thaws out come March.

March, that's less than 3 weeks away! I told you it's coming up. Guess what is under that snow and ice. That's right, that little present that you left yourself last fall. Time for the rake. Raking not only will clean up the leaves that were left behind, but it will also help control "thatch" in your lawn. Thatch is a good element to a successful, green lawn, but in excess can deprive the lawn of the water and nutrients it needs. Picture it as a matted blanket snugged in between the grass blades and the soil. You want that thatch to be right around 1/2". A good raking will help break up that thatch which is over the threshold. Some riding lawn mowers have attachments that you can drag a rake behind. Rental companies offer power tools that can accomplish a similar result. If the thatch is in great excess, one would be recommended to rent a dethatcher. If you grew up in my household, dad thought it would be a character builder to strap the rake to my wrists at the ripe age of 11. It was a fuel efficient option.

In your promise to yourself for the better lawn, I implore you not to quit there. If you stop here, you will have good short term results, but I assure you, you will be right where you were last year, come July and August. Remember that browning lawn filled with unwanted weeds and bare spots? We can and will be better. And it starts with a solid program of fertility and proper weed control practices. What most people do not understand is how foundational this is for the rest of the season. The first and second applications have to be timed just right and it is only over a matter 6-8 weeks. Do you have a game plan? Do you know what products to put down?

In closing, if you invest in the lawn up front, it will set the stage for the rest of the growing season. Think of it as getting up to speed, then putting your lawn on cruise control. If you would like to interact with us at we would love to help you and answer any questions you may have.