(Family Features) Temperatures are rising and Americans are headed outside to enjoy the weather while making lasting memories. From backyard barbecues to flag football games, many families are enjoying the great outdoors more at home.
In fact, nearly two-thirds of Americans say some of their favorite memories have occurred right in their own yards, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of TruGreen. The survey also found that Americans spend an average of 12 hours per week in their yards during the summer, but much of that time is spent working to maintain their lawns.
“People are living life outside and creating memories right in their own yards during the warmer months of the year,” said Ben Hamza, PhD, TruGreen director of technical operations “To maintain a healthy, green lawn to enjoy all season long, there are several tasks homeowners should do consistently including mowing and watering.”
Plan for a spectacular season in your own yard with this lawn care checklist:
- Tune up your lawn mower. After sitting idle in your garage or toolshed all winter, your mower will need a little TLC. Check the spark plug, clean or replace the air filter, change the oil and get the blade sharpened. A sharp blade makes mowing easier and causes less damage to your lawn.
- Clean up debris. If not removed, fallen leaves, sticks, twigs and other debris can smother your lawn and leave it looking unsightly. Clearing debris also makes fertilizer and weed control treatments more effective.
- Get a jump on weeds. Pre-emergent herbicides can help fend off annual weeds such as crabgrass before they rear their ugly heads. Pre-emergents are most effective when the soil reaches weed-germination temperature, about 55 F in the case of crabgrass.
- Poke some holes. Lawn aeration helps loosen compacted soil and opens up your lawn to more easily receive water and nutrients. Aeration is one of the best ways to thicken and strengthen your turf and improve the overall health of your lawn.
- Start mowing. Wait until your grass is about 3 inches tall to start mowing, and don’t cut more than one-third of the grass’ height. Most grass types should be kept at least 2 inches tall; longer, thicker turf helps combat weeds and conserves water in the soil.
- Spread fertilizer. Give your yard a boost early in the year with an initial dose of fertilizer. For the first treatment, a light application will do.
- Apply post-emergents. For weeds that pop up despite your best efforts, you can turn to either selective or nonselective post-emergent herbicides. Selective treatments are formulated to kill only targeted weeds; nonselective products will kill any plant they’re applied to, including grass. A TruGreen specialist can assess your weed problem and recommend a tailored post-emergent herbicide solution.
- Every lawn requires a good amount of water. Some comes from rainfall, but during hotter, drier months, you’ll likely need to supplement. Aim for about 1 inch of water per week. An easy way to measure is to spread a few empty tuna cans across your lawn as you water. When they’re full, that’s an inch.
- Plan a party, host a neighborhood barbecue or simply grab your favorite book and head for the hammock. Relax, recharge and appreciate your own hard work.