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Times A Special Section of the

THE

Monday, April 29, 2019

Raising backyard chickens | Creating an outdoor living sanctuary | Tips for low-maintenance landscaping | Helping flowers withstand heat waves


The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

| SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN

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Things to consider before building a greenhouse (MS) Avid gardeners may be enticed by the idea of a greenhouse that allows them to explore their passion for plants year-round. While it’s true that greenhouses afford this luxury, there are important things to consider before erecting a greenhouse in your yard. Greenhouses require ample time to maintain. Greenhouses are not self-managing; they require heat, water, venting, electricity, and maintenance on the part of gardeners. Individuals need to determine how much time they have to devote to a greenhouse and then consider their options. Start by choosing the size of the greenhouse. Many experts, like those at the home and garden information site The Spruce, suggest getting the largest one you can afford and fit into the yard. It is much easier to fill a large greenhouse than try to expand on a small one later on. Next, consider whether you want to build the greenhouse from scratch or utilize a prefabricated kit that can make easier work of the job. Kits typically contain all of the materials needed, and are easiest for someone who is a construction novice. Look for “grower greenhouses,” which are all-purpose options with adjustable shelving and space for growing plants full-term.

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The next step is deciding where the greenhouse will be located. The goal is to have a consistent amount of sunlight year-round. A south-facing locale is ideal, and structures should remain north of the greenhouse so they do not cast a shadow on it. The building, cars and technology resource Popular Mechanics advises gardening enthusiasts to take into consideration the angle of the sun during all seasons before choosing a location. Doing so ensures that the sun is not obscured in the winter or fall. Select a spot that also has ample drainage, as you will not want water pooling up along the sides of or underneath the greenhouse. Raise the greenhouse on footings to alleviate flooding concerns. Consult with a gardening or agriculture expert about the best way to heat the greenhouse. Options abound with electric-, gas- and propane-powered heating sources. Some systems will require venting. You also will need to know what is available and legal in your area. Check to see if you need a building permit for the greenhouse and any accompanying heating elements. Once the greenhouse is situated, you can begin to add other items, like benches, additional shelving, hooks for tools, and even an automated watering or misting system. Greenhouses take commitment, but the reward is the chance to enjoy gardening all year long.


One of the biggest benefits to raising backyard chickens is that their eggs are fresher and often tastier than storebought varieties. Hens can lay one egg per day. Multiply that egg per hen, and breakfast is always available.

Are backyard chickens right for you?

Another benefit to chickens is they produce a natural fertilizer that can be used in gardens. “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” says chicken manure can be composted, aged and eventually added to the garden. In about six months, a person will accumulate about one cubic foot of manure per chicken. Egg shells and other compostable material can be added to create an even richer formula. Chickens also can help control bugs around the yard, offers the experts at Tractor Supply Company. Before investing in backyard chickens, people should determine if chickens will fit with their lifestyle. Costs and care are a big consideration. Each chick will cost anywhere between $3 to $5 a bird. Then there’s feed to consider. The most expensive item will

likely be the coop. The experts at The Happy Chicken Coop, a resource for raising chickens and starting coops, says handy men and women can build homemade coops, but ready-made ones will cost a few hundred dollars. The coop will need to offer around four square feet of space per chicken (or what’s recommended for the breed). Despite being seemingly independent birds, chickens need people to be active caregivers. They require feed and water daily. The chickens will need a caregiver while you vacation. People who are frequently away from home should reconsider chickens. Chickens also are prone to worms, parasites and lice. They need to have rear feathers trimmed to stay clean and sanitary, and they will require an area where they can “dust” and self-groom. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises not to cuddle and kiss chickens like pets because they can carry salmonella. Not every coop is completely varmint-proof, and some chickens may succumb to predators. Squeamish or sentimental folks may find chickens aren’t the right fit. Chickens require commitment and care that many people can provide. It is essential to do one’s homework to ensure that backyard chickens are a sound investment.

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3 SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN | The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

(MS) - Raising backyard chickens has been a growing phenomenon for several years. Many cities have passed laws legalizing backyard chickens, encouraging many to raise chickens as a rewarding hobby.


The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

| SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN

4

READY, SET, MOW:

An easy 10-minute lawn mower tuneup (BPT) - The incredible look of lush, green grass. The feel of soft lawn beneath your toes. The smell of the freshly cut yard on a warm sunny day. A healthy lawn starts with good maintenance and the most important step is mowing. Is your lawn mower ready to go? A lawn mower is an investment, and if you take a few proactive maintenance steps, you’ll keep it running efficiently all season long. However, research from Briggs & Stratton Corp., the world’s largest manufacturer of small engines for outdoor power equipment, found that only 30 percent of mower owners are performing regular maintenance. Think lawn mower maintenance is a time-consuming headache? It doesn’t have to be. All it takes is 10 minutes and you’ll give your gas-powered mower

the tuneup it needs to run its best and extend its life. Expert tip for before you get started: Disconnect your spark plug wire and leave it disconnected for the entire tuneup. Step 1: Lube it up Oil is the lifeblood of the engine, so it’s essential to change it with each passing season. Over time oil gets dirty and can harm the machine components. Be sure to use new oil made specifically for small engines of outdoor power equipment. This will help ensure maximum efficiency and protect the engine. Wondering what type of oil you need for your mower and how much to use? Access an interactive oil finder tool to help answer those questions and more at www.BRIGGSandSTRATTON.com/oilfinder.

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Keep in mind, changing the oil on your mower is faster, easier and less messy when you use an affordable oil removal kit. These kits allow you to easily extract old oil and add new with minimal mess and headache. Step 2: Let the air flow As you can imagine, lawn mower air filters catch all kinds of dirt and debris while you mow the lawn. Over time, this debris can block the airflow needed for your engine to run well. If you own a walk-style mower, the engine likely has a paper or foam filter.

Pleated paper air filters should always be replaced once visually dirty. If your mower uses a foam filter, you may be able to clean it by hand using dish soap and hot water, allowing it to dry completely before replacing it back in the machine. Keep in mind, changing the air filter should be done seasonally and is surprisingly simple. Take off the filter cover using a screwdriver if necessary, remove the old filter and replace it with a new one. If your mower uses a foam filter, there are likely extra steps involved, so be sure to check your engine operator’s manual or the new filter box for instructions. Step 3: Get fresh gas Did you know that gas can go bad in as few as 30 days? This bad gas can potentially clog the engine’s fuel system, which could lead to your mower not starting and require costly repairs. Adding a fuel treatment like STA-BIL, the official fuel additive for Briggs & Stratton engines, to your red gas can every time you fill it can help prevent this type of damage. Learn more at keepfuelfresh.com. Once you complete these three simple steps, reconnect the spark plug wire and you’re ready to mow. In just minutes you can tune up your mower and help it work at peak performance so you can mow efficiently and then sit back and enjoy your freshly cut lawn. For easy-to-access instruction, check out www.BRIGGSandSTRATTON.com/askalexa to have Alexa help you with an easy oil change and provide information about which oil to use.


5 SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN |

for low-maintenance landscaping (BPT) - A lush lawn and garden boosts your home’s curb appeal, but it also takes a lot of your free time. You want to spend that time enjoying the space, not taking care of it. The solution? A few low-maintenance strategies to keep your yard looking great while maximizing your relaxation time. 1. Install an automatic irrigation system

2. Use high-quality equipment When purchasing your next riding or walk-behind lawn mower, take time to make an informed decision. The engine is the most important part of the mower. Keep in mind, KOHLER engines are built to last, with many models having commercial-grade components. Additional features will help your mower to maintain engine speed in tough conditions and eliminate the need to prime or choke the engine so you can just turn the key and go.

Mulch is one of the best investments you can make in your yard. When it breaks down over time, mulch fertilizes your plants and can prevent weeds. It adds a pleasant aroma to your outdoor spaces and doesn’t require watering. 5. Follow lawn care best practices Save yourself the extra hassle by following basic lawn care best practices. For example, keep your grass-cutting blades sharp, avoid cutting the grass too short and mow when the grass is dry. Additionally, grasscycling — leaving grass clippings on the lawn after cutting — helps fertilize the lawn and creates less work for you. There may be no such thing as a maintenance-free lawn, but choosing the right tools and techniques can make your life a lot easier. Follow these tips and learn more at KohlerEngines.com.

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The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

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The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

| SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN

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Simple ways to prevent dog-related lawn damage (MS) - Dogs love spending time outdoors. Dog owners with yards know that dogs benefit greatly from some exercise in the backyard. While that time might be great for dogs, it can take its toll on lawns. Dog urine and feces can adversely affect the look and health of a lush green lawn. Nitrogen is essential to healthy soil, but only at certain levels. When those levels are exceeded, the result can be lawn damage. According to The Spruce Pets, an advisory site that offers practical tips and training advices to pet owners, this is what happens when pets frequently urinate on grass. Urine is naturally high in nitrogen, so when pets urinate on lawns, the grass might turn yellow or brown due to the excess nitrogen content. Nitrogen also is present in lawn fertilizers, further exacerbating the problem for pet owners who fertilize their lawns.

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In addition to urine damage, dogs can trample frosted grass, contributing to problems that may not become evident until spring, and get into areas like gardens where they wreak additional havoc. Pet owners who want to let their dogs run free in the yard but don’t want damaged grass may be tempted to put their pooches in diapers or confine them to crates when letting them outside. But such an approach isn’t necessary. In fact, some simple strategies can be highly effective at preventing dog-related lawn damage.

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• Work with a dog trainer. Dog trainers might be able to work with dogs so they only urinate in certain areas of the yard, greatly reducing the damage they can cause to a lawn. Trainers also might help curb digging and clawing behaviors that can damage lawns as well as gardens. • Consider hardscaping. Hardscaping might be most effective for pet owners with small properties. Hardscaping does not include grass and can add visual appeal to a property while saving pet owners the headaches of dealing with dog-related lawn damage. Dogs need time outdoors, and homeowners can take various steps to protect their lawns from dog-related damage.

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• Install fencing. Pet owners with expansive yards can install fencing that allows dogs to spend time exercising outdoors without granting them access to the entire property. Large dogs will need more room than small ones, but try to build fenced-in areas that allow dogs to run freely and get the exercise they need to stay healthy.

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• Speak with a landscaper about planting new grass. Certain types of grass, such as Bermuda grass, can withstand dog damage better than others. Local climate will dictate which types of grass are likely to thrive in a given area, so speak with a professional landscaper about the viability of planting new grass.

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(MS) - Heat waves are an inevitable part of summer in many places across the globe. While humans can escape indoors to air conditioned rooms when heat waves hit full swing, flowers planted around a property have no such luxury, putting their survival in jeopardy whenever the mercury rises to especially steamy heights. Wilted flowers that have succumbed to the summer sun are a sight many gardening enthusiasts can recognize. But there are ways to keep flowers safe and vibrant during periods of extreme heat. • Water at the appropriate times of day. The National Gardening Association notes that it’s best to water in the early morning and evening because less water will be lost to evaporation during these times of day than during the afternoon, when temperatures tend to be at their hottest. • Choose the right watering method. It’s not just when but also how you water that can affect flowers during summer heat waves. Aboveground sprinklers might be great for lawns, but the NGA notes that such sprinklers can encourage the spread of disease on certain plants, including roses. Many gardening professionals recommend soaker hoses when watering flowers because they promote deep watering that can help the plants withstand the summer heat. If you must use an overheard watering system, set the timer so plants are watered

in early in the morning or evening. • Routinely check the soil moisture. Soil moisture can help gardeners determine if their flowers have enough water to withstand the heat. The NGA advises gardeners to dig a 12-inch deep wedge of soil from their gardens to determine its moisture levels. If the top six inches of the soil is dry, water. If that area is still wet or moist, the plants have enough moisture to withstand the heat. Check these moisture levels more frequently during heat waves than other times of year. • Avoid overwatering. Novice gardeners may be tempted to water more frequently when they see wilted leaves on their flowers. But wilted leaves are not necessarily indicative of suffering plants. Plants release moisture to protect themselves from excessive heat, and that release of moisture can cause leaves to wilt as the plants try to protect themselves by providing less surface area that can be exposed to the sun. So long as soil moisture levels are healthy, the flowers should be fine, even if their leaves have wilted. No gardener wants to see their flowers succumb to the summer heat. Fortunately, there are many ways to help flowers survive heat waves.

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SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN | The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

How to help flowers withstand heat waves


The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

| SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN

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How lawns benefit from aeration (MS) - Compacted soil can have a dramatic effect on grass. Compacted soil blocks oxygen, water and nutrients from reaching the root systems of the turf. That creates a lawn with weak roots, which make grass more vulnerable to disease and compromising its ability to withstand harsh weather, such as summer heat. The buildup of thatch, which is a matted layer of grass clippings and other organic debris that collects on the top of the soil, is one indicator that a lawn could benefit from aeration, a process in which the surface of the lawn is perforated to break up compacted soil and allow oxygen, water and nutrients to reach root systems. Other signs that aeration may be necessary include patches of thin grass, brown spots and a high concentration of clay in the soil. When faced with a lawn that could benefit from aeration, homeowners may wonder if such as task lends itself to DIY or if it’s best left to professional landscapers. Aerating a lawn is not always easy, and typically it involves the use of one of three types of aerators: • Core aerator: A core aerator

uses hollow tines to pull plugs of soil from the lawn. The plugs are left on the surface of the lawn. Homeowners can pick up the plugs or, according to the grass seed experts at Pennington, even leave them in the yard and allow them to break down. • Spike aerator: The experts at Pennington note that spike aerators employ solid, spikelike tines to poke holes in the soil. These aerators leave the spikes in the soil. Some people wear spiked aeration shoes while walking around the yard to mimic the effects of spike aerators.

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• Slicing aerator: According to Pennington, slicing aerators employ rotating blades that slice through thatch and down into the soil. These aerators leave the soil in the ground. Aerators can be operated manually, though professionals tend to use motorized aerators. The machines are often heavy, so homeowners should consider their health and physical ability before deciding to aerate on their own. Hiring a professional landscaper who has experience aerating may the quickest and most effective way to restore a lawn to full health.

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SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN | The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

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The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

| SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN

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Stunning new styles

in flowers and plants for your garden (BPT) - Today’s plant lovers want more than the traditional flowers to enhance their home. Rather, people want to enjoy the experience of getting in touch with nature, while also looking for unique flowers and plants to add a more creative, personal touch of color and inspiration to their yards. This year, gardens will be more visually interesting, environmentally friendly and demonstrate the love and care provided by the families who tend them. Here are a few of the latest gardening ideas you and your loved ones can enjoy, from Ball Horticultural Company. Gardening as an experience Detoxing from our daily dependence on digital distractions and tech gadgets is becoming not just a desire, but a necessity. What better way for you and your loved ones to take a break from screens than to spend time with plants, creating beauty, serenity and even a nutritious lifestyle? Make the process a group effort: from going to your favorite garden center and choosing your veggies, to caring for them and watching them grow, then harvesting and eating, the full experience is something to enjoy. Plant and grow veggies like the Snackabelle Red Pepper, a mini bell pepper that starts out green, then ripens red, with a rich, sweet flavor — perfect to have at home for snacking as well as cooking. If you love natural fragrances, Lavender Blue Spear is a wonderful choice. They are easy to grow, and will achieve a height of nearly a foot. You can use the fresh lavender to make infused oil, soap, hand scrubs or bath salts. New color choices Look for unexpected colors to help you make a statement with your containers, window boxes or indoor potted plant garden this year. Striking new colors include the 2019 Pantone color of the year, “Living Coral,” seen in the Gerbera Revolution Salmon Shades potted flower, also known as the African Daisy. Gerbera plants are easy to care for and provide great indoor decor, which also makes them perfect choices for gift giving. New Tattoo Vinca looks like a work of art, with gorgeous petals showing modern colors, swirled with soft strokes of black that make each petal look inked.

The Tattoo Vinca is not only low-maintenance and heat-tolerant, but will attract pollinators like bees and butterflies to your garden. The Double Zahara Bright Orange Zinnia is another great choice for head-turning color. Its double flowers bloom in vivid orange, and they are suitable for landscaping and container planting. This flower is also a breeze to care for and pollinator-friendly. Or you can choose a unique plant with warm tones, like the bright and colorful Ornamental Pepper, with such attractive multi-colored fruits that they are grown just for show. The Ornamental Pepper displays intense shades of yellows, oranges and reds in its fruit. Other flowers catch the eye with dynamic texture, such as the lovely Double PinkTastic Calibrachoa, a fully double flower with a dark pink eye and lighter pink petals. Its burst of blooms will cover the plant and spill over their containers, window boxes or hanging baskets. Easy options for beginning gardeners New gardeners who want choices beyond traditional flower options have great alternatives this year. If you’re looking for plants that are durable and colorful, the Echinacea Sombrero Tres Amigos produces a deer-resistant perennial flower that is highly attractive to butterflies and songbirds. Tres Amigos shows three colors, opening as a peachy-orange color, then aging to rose and fading to burgundy. A great way to fill large spaces quickly is the attention-getting Big Blue Salvia, with spires that continuously bloom from July into the fall, with little care needed. This flower grows from 24 to 36 inches tall, with beautiful deep blue blooms that are attractive to hummingbirds and bees. Beginner and experienced gardeners alike can enjoy the newest gardening trends by branching out into plants and flowers to attract pollinators, taking advantage of vivid new color options and involving the whole family in the process. To explore a whole new world of gardening options, visit your favorite local garden center this spring. Share your own style for 2019 by making your garden a personal experience.


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(MS) - Many people may be tempted to discard rusty tools that have gone unused and sat in a garage or shed for a significant period of time. But tools encrusted with rust do not need to be relegated to the trash bin, nor do gardeners have to toil for hours scraping and sanding off the rust. There’s a much easier way to restore rusty tools that relies on a common household ingredient: vinegar. Pour vinegar into a deep enough vessel to submerge the metal part of the tool. Soak the tool overnight. The next day, use a scouring pad to rub off the rust. If the tool is too big to fit into a can or bucket, simply wrap it with a vinegar-soaked rag and cover the whole tool with a tightly secured plastic bag. Follow the same procedure the next day. After all the rust is gone, rinse the tool in cool water and dry thoroughly. Then return it to regular usage.

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SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN | The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

Restore rusty tools


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How to create the outdoor sanctuary you’ve always wanted (BPT) - The dream of a perfect outdoor space where homeowners can enjoy the beauty of nature while still being completely comfortable is no longer limited to a specific climate or time of year. A one-of-akind, all-seasons deck is possible if the right features are included in the design. The key is to combine features that protect from the elements, and then use the right materials to make it happen. Whether you’re revamping an existing area, or creating a brand-new outdoor living space to enjoy all year long, the following deck additions can turn any project into an all-seasons oasis to enjoy with family and friends. Overhead covering on a deck can shield guests from the elements directly, as well as provide a scaffold for features such as a ceiling fan, which can cool the area in the warmer months and improve heated air flow during cooler months. Homeowners can choose from deck shades or awnings in a variety of materials to defend against rain and wind, or to reduce sun exposure and cool the area. A pergola is also a beautiful addition to a custom deck that doesn’t provide full coverage like a roof or awning, but can serve as a solid framework for other features such as climbing vines or hanging plants that both provide cover and add ambiance to the outdoor oasis. Retractable walls are a high-tech option that allows for free air movement during the mild spring and fall, and protection from sun, wind, rain, snow and even bugs during the extreme summer and winter. Some luxury decks and patios utilize retractable glass walls for a defense against wind or rain that doesn’t obstruct the view. A more common tactic is to install retractable screen walls, which can be motorized,

and are meant primarily to keep insects out of the patio area. Retractable privacy walls, usually in the form of canvas or polyester fabric horizontal shades, can provide a respite from weather and enhance the feeling of a private sanctuary. Beautiful low-maintenance materials are a must for any outdoor living space that homeowners would like to spend time enjoying, rather than performing backbreaking annual maintenance. Taking care of traditional wood decking can be a difficult and frustrating process since it is subject to staining and splintering, and may require annual sanding and painting. Composite decking is growing in popularity across the U.S. not only for its lower maintenance requirements, but also its unparalleled beauty that can emulate anything from the rustic beauty of reclaimed wood to the high-impact look of exotic hardwoods. “What kind of decking you choose makes a huge impact on the overall look and feel of your outdoor living space,” said Shara Gamble, director of sales and marketing for TAMKO’s Envision Decking. “One of the best things about composite decking is it’s easy to preserve its beautiful appearance throughout the seasons, which means you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying your outdoor spaces with family and friends.” Incorporate the elements into the deck in a controlled way to boost enjoyment of an outdoor living space regardless of the season. For colder months, adding a fire element can provide a cozy and mes-

merizing focal point. Arranging comfortable seating around a fireplace or fire pit provides a great place to gather with friends and family and provide warmth on a cool summer night or fall weekend. During the hotter months, installing a water element to the deck can provide a cooling touch and a visual centerpiece. Fountains, misters, or even a lap pool can provide a welcome respite from the heat during the summer, and a soothing, meditative backdrop for the rest of the year. Although decks are generally a mild-weather attraction, there are many ways to make an outdoor living space functional and enjoyable during the rest of the year, regardless of the geographic location. Transform a deck into an all-seasons sanctuary through the use of special features and beautiful lowmaintenance composite decking to make the most of the beauty of the outdoors without sacrificing the comfort and style of your unique outdoor retreat.


for a happy summer lawn

(BPT) - It’s been a rough winter in many parts of the country, but spring is here at last — and that means it’s time to give your lawn a bit of TLC. Although grass is highly resilient, you can help your lawn recover from winter and make sure it’s in top shape for summer with these tips from turfgrass researchers around the U.S. 1. Aerify to relieve soil compaction. If your lawn is old or heavily trafficked, or if it sat under wet snow for much of the winter, the soil may be compacted. Aerifying the turf with a core aerator (you can rent the equipment or hire a professional) can open up the soil, allowing water, nutrients and oxygen to reach the roots of the grass more easily. Aerification is recommended annually for cool-season lawns, but according to Clint Waltz, Ph.D., of the University of Georgia, a warm-season lawn that suffered drought-induced dormancy the previous summer can also benefit from aerification through mid-May. 2. Interseed for a thicker lawn. Lawns that are sparse or have worn patches can be interseeded when the soil warms up in the spring. Aaron Patton, Ph.D., of Purdue University said, “The earlier in the year that you seed, the more time the turf will have for root development before summer.” Be sure to use a high-quality seed that is a good match for your geographic region and your lawn’s soil type, sun exposure and irrigation patterns. 3. Watch your mowing height. Don’t wait too long to start mowing your lawn. Scalping an overgrown lawn causes stress that can affect the grass the rest of the season. As a rule of thumb, never cut more than one-third of the grass blade height at a time. Leaving the grass a bit taller can also improve the wear tolerance of the turf, said Geoffrey Rinehart of the University of Maryland. More leaf tissue allows the grass to better withstand foot traffic and protects the growing point at the base of the blade. 4. Grasscycle to feed your lawn naturally. You’ll probably want to remove the grass clippings the first few times you

mow, to reduce shading, but once your lawn gets going, consider “grasscycling” — simply leaving the clippings on the lawn. Grady Miller, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University said, “Grass clippings decompose quickly and can provide up to 25 percent of the lawn’s fertilizer needs.” 5. Fertilize — but sparingly. Even if you’re grasscycling, you should fertilize your lawn at least twice a year (mid-May and mid-September work well in most areas). Cale Bigelow, Ph.D., of Purdue cautioned that the spring application should be sparing and should feature slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to minimize excess growth. Too much fertilizer can lead to rapid but weak growth, leaving your turf more susceptible to wear and stress. 6. Water properly. Proper irrigation in the spring can help prevent or reduce pest problems and environmental stress later in the summer, said Miller. He recommended watering to a soil depth of 4 to 6 inches. (You can check the depth by pushing a screwdriver into the soil. If it goes in easily, the soil likely has enough moisture.) Watering deeply once or twice a week is better than frequent light watering. 7. Take it easy. Moss, mushrooms and other lawn pests may make an appearance in early spring, but once your grass comes out of dormancy and begins growing quickly in late spring, the hardy turfgrass will push many of these invaders out. Issues will often resolve themselves if you create the conditions that favor the grass. If infestations recur, your county extension agency can help you identify the underlying problem and provide recommendations that are specific to your region and type of grass. A little spring maintenance can pay off big later in the year. If you want healthy, wear-resistant turf for the high-traffic summer season, now is the time to start setting your lawn up for success. Learn more about quick, easy lawn improvement and maintenance tips from the experts at Grass Seed USA, a coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists, at www.WeSeedAmerica. com or follow @WeSeedAmerica on Facebook and Twitter.

SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN | The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

EXPERT LAWNCARE TIPS

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Did you know? (MS) - When tending to their lawns, homeowners are advised to pay attention to areas that may feature standing water. According to the World Health Organization, standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can breed in great numbers in pools of water. Mosquitoes are known to carry diseases like malaria, West Nile virus and Zika. Furthermore, mosquitoes that bite pets can transmit heartworms, a serious problem if gone it goes undiscovered. Standing water also can be a haven for bacteria, mold and parasites that are dangerous to human health.

The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

If standing, stagnant water is a problem in your yard, remediation is necessary. Directing downspouts away from the house can remediate standing water. Changing the grading of soil so that low spots are elevated is another way to reduce instances of standing water. This may be a project that requires the assistance of a drainage professional. In addition, homeowners can remove standing water from empty flower pots, pool covers, bird baths, and more to reduce the likelihood that mosquitoes will appear on their properties.

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SPRING LAWN AND GARDEN | The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

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The Times - Delivering Your Community • Monday, April 29, 2019

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