From The Detroit News | By Ken Calverley and Chuck Breidenstein
DETROIT, May 18, 2023 ~ Everyone has a different attitude about their lawn.
Some weed and feed and water to the point of perfection, and you had better not even walk on it. Others, like The Guys, have long nurtured a play area for any child that showed up and the space became tracked and marked with baselines and divots from makeshift playing fields.
Today, there are even people who will condemn us for wasting land and resources on grass as movements arise to let the ground revert to its “natural” state and become a xeriscape that requires virtually no care, no maintenance, and no water.
But most of us maintain some semblance of a yard, so it is timely to discuss a few spring tips.
May 18, 2023 ~ Chuck “The Inside Guy” Breidenstein and Ken “The Outside Guy” Calverly offer the knowledge and resources you need to make the home of your dreams a reality. Catch them every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon on 760 WJR.
To begin, let’s look at your mower. Don’t start the engine without doing a couple things first.
Change the spark plug. The place where you purchase the plugs can provide a gap setter and let you know what the proper gap should be.
Change the oil in the machine and the oil filter, if there is one. Acquiring the products you need from a local mower shop, including a method for properly disposing of the old oil, will not only assure you have the correct product but will create a connection for you with an expert in case you have any issues down the road.
Install new blades. Blades are not an expensive item and, despite the many videos that purport to show you how to sharpen and hone the old blades, there is a huge difference in the performance of the machine using new blades.
New blades will exert far less strain on the mower engine and will provide a uniform and clean cut that not only looks better but is healthier for the grass.
Lubricate any moving parts. A spray silicone will suffice on everything from pedals to steering controls.
And, if you are the person reading this whose response is “I don’t do any of that kind of thing” there are many local shops that will come right to your home and perform this work for you. No excuses.
Walk your lawn and pick up any pinecones, branches, or stones that have settled in the grass. These will mar mower blades and may become projectiles that can damage siding or injure a bystander.
Rent or buy an aerator. Two basic types include a device that removes plugs of soil and deposits them on the lawn for decomposition and a spiked version that merely cuts holes in the soil and loosens it.
Better to use the plug type in the late fall than now. The idea is to loosen the soil to provide for healthier grass root growth and an improved environment for earthworms, which are good for your lawn.
Any herbicides you use at this point are likely to be a post-emergent broadleaf variety to get rid of plants like thistles, dandelions and Creeping Charlie, that insidious, purple-flowered invasive species that will overtake your lawn if not stopped.
Such products should be used only as directed regarding weather conditions, recent cuttings, protected foliage like flowers and shrubs, and concerns for children and pets that may use the yard.
Weed and feed solutions can be effective, single application, products in liquid or granular form this time of year, keeping in mind that watering schedules may affect the efficacy of the product.
On the subject of watering, many homeowners overwater grass, trees and shrubs. While we don’t want to create drought conditions, it is good to remember that plants will create deeper and wider spread root systems in search of water and nutrients which will generally result in healthier greenery.
Frequent, short cuttings will result in healthier lawns, and seeded lawns will demonstrate a high tolerance for those dry conditions in August. Try to dedicate a couple hours a week to the rewarding activity of caring for your landscape.
Even if you employ one of the professionals like those you’ll find at InsideOutsideGuys.com for all the heavy lifting, you will still enjoy a lot of personal satisfaction from doing some yard chores on a regular basis.
It can be mentally therapeutic, and it will certainly improve the look and feel of your home.
For housing advice and more, listen to “The Inside Outside Guys” every Saturday and Sunday on 760 WJR from 10 a.m. to noon, or contact them at InsideOutsideGuys.com.