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Mowing - Lawns should be cut to no lower than 2 inches during the spring season and 3 inches in the summer. Do not wait too long to cut your grass. Weekly mowing or twice a week during the spring will prevent it from going into shock.

Frequent mowing allows the clippings to return to the soil to break down, feed, and perform as a mulch to retain moisture during hot summers. Sharpen the mower blades twice in a season (every 12 weeks) to reduce injury to the grass blades and prevent fungus. Cut the lawn as low as possible late in the fall to prevent snow mold over winter.

Aeration - Thatch can be a problem in vigorous lawns. When clippings have been mulched in to the turf for several years, a thatch layer forms like a woven mat, preventing water and fertilizer from penetrating down to the grass roots. A thatch layer thicker than half an inch should be scored with the detacher or aerated with a core aerator. It is not necessary to remove all the thatch, only to scratch it so that it can begin to break down and add nutrients to the soil.

Chemical lawn care - Generally speaking, a healthy lawn that receives adequate care will resist weed competition. But there are some resilient weeds that require chemical treatment to control. The most common is crabgrass. Crabgrass grows really well in hot, dry conditions. The good news about crabgrass is that it is an annual weed-that is starts from seed and dies at the first frost.

Crabgrass is best controlled with a pre-emergent weed killer that is applied in early spring. Cultural practices such as deep watering in the summer rather than surface watering and planting shade trees can hinder crabgrass growth.

Turf grasses consume large amounts of fertilizer especially nitrogen. Lawns should be fertilized twice in the spring, once in late summer, and once in the fall. This seems like a lot, but the grass really will use all of it. Lawns will also benefit from a yearly application of Dolomitic lime, preferably in pelletized form. Liming is usually done in the fall.

Insects and diseases can be more difficult to diagnose and control. There are adequate four-step lawn care programs available at most garden centers and hardware stores. Timing and proper application rates are critical in controlling lawn pests.

Too much insecticide put down at the wrong time is ineffective and potentially toxic. Insects like grubs that feed on the grass roots need to work their way up closer to the soil for the chemical control to work. Most insecticides do not have a long lasting residual effect.

If your lawn seems hopeless it would be a good idea to contact a lawn care specialist. Licensed pesticide applicators in New Hampshire often have effective controls that are not available to the general public.


For a reasonable application rate several times a year most lawns can be restored to health within one season. Ask your lawn specialist if all the applications are necessary once the lawn is healthy and established. If the chemicals are a concern to you, inquire about organic lawn controls which many companies now offer.

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