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Legendary Lawns: Tips Inspired by Experts

Lawn & Yard Care

From elegant parks to uniform baseball diamonds, grass gurus and groundskeepers make lawn maintenance look easy—but anyone who has spent a long spring Saturday out in the yard knows striking the perfect balance of watering, mowing and upkeep is anything but.

Learn how to elevate your lawn from ordinary to legendary with these tips inspired by lawn care pros.

Pro Tip: Test Your Soil
While you almost certainly know the importance of seeding and fertilizing your lawn come spring, you may be forgetting an important first step. Top lawn care experts suggest testing your soil’s pH level at least once every three years to make sure you have a strong foundation for healthy, green grass. A soil test, which should be done in early spring, helps you determine if your soil is too acidic or alkaline. Missing elements such as calcium, magnesium or sulfur affect your lawn’s ability to grow and should be replenished with nutrient-boosters.

So how can you start testing? Most hardware stores have easy-to-use kits that include a chart to interpret the results. Follow the directions carefully and take the sample when the soil is dry. Take samples from a few different locations in your yard, because soil composition can vary. If you want a professional opinion, you can also send a soil sample to a lab for analysis or talk to your local university extension.

Pro Tip: Prep for Weeds Early
Grass gurus suggest pre-emergent herbicides for your lawn because their chemical barriers prevent weeds from growing but don’t kill established plants. The best time to apply it is generally between late April and May for the northern United States and earlier for southern states. Use a hand-held or push-type lawn spreader to distribute and make sure to water within one to three days so it gets into the topsoil layer. Water with a customizable wide-range sprinkler like Gilmour’s Adjustable Pattern Master Circular Sprinkler so you can cover the entire area precisely. To ensure that you’re watering every inch of grass, use Gilmour’s Lawn Size Calculator to get your area’s square footage and select a sprinkler that’s the perfect fit for your yard.

If you’re looking for a natural solution for pesky weeds, you can always start the old-fashioned way: pulling. Pros know that watering the area for a few minutes before pulling makes it easier to remove weeds quickly. Stick to this tried and true method if you like to keep your yard chemical-free.

Pro Tip: Water Without Waste
About 1 trillion gallons of water are wasted annually from leaky sinks, toilets and yes—even watering tools.  While watering is essential to keep your lawn healthy, professional landscapers know how to get the job done without wasting our precious resource. To save time, money and water, try their trick of repairing leaky hoses and nozzles yourself—which is easier than you think. Repair a punctured hose using a Compression Mender—no tools needed. Leaky nozzle? Fix it with pliers and a replacement washer or an O-ring. You can also make sure you’re watering smart with an Adjustable Length Wind-resistant Sprinkler, which automatically adjusts the height of its spray so you never waste a drop of water—even on a windy day.

Pro landscapers suggest watering in the early morning—between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.— because wind is often minimal and evaporation is less problematic in the cool morning air.

Pro Tip: Seed Carefully
Groundskeepers say you should water newly seeded grass at least twice a day to ensure lush, green grass. Once your seeds begin to germinate, water once per day. You should continue watering frequently until you’ve mowed over the new area twice. How do you know when it’s safe to start mowing? The experts suggest waiting until your new grass is between three to three and a half inches long.  This gives the grass enough time to establish roots. Keep your young lawn healthy by installing a water timer so you don’t accidentally skip a watering session during your lawn’s critical growth stage.

When it comes to selecting seed for your yard, don’t forget to read the label—inexpensive seed can sometimes contain weed and crop seed from undesirable plants. Look for a high purity percentage for the best possible start.

With these tips for stronger and more resilient grass, you’ll be the new neighborhood lawn legend.

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