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Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Spring Lawn Maintenance

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A healthy root system means a thick lawn with less weeds.
If you fertilize, choose an organic product that has low or no phosphorous.

Credit Guipozjim / Creative Commons
Creative Commons
An aerator in use.

Ahh spring, the flowers are blooming, asparagus is growing, and, oh yes, the lawn needs mowing. 

While we all strive for a green, beautiful lawn with few weeds, home owners have varying degrees of lawn tolerance. Just take a look around your neighborhood. Some lawns are worthy of a golf course, while others, well, at least they're green. 

So, let's look at what you should be doing to your lawn this spring to keep it healthy and beautiful.

One of the first spring chores is aerating the lawn. You can rent a commercial aerator, or in a small lawn, just use an iron fork and poke holes in the grass.

Aeration loosens up the soil so air, water and fertilizer can reach the roots.

For thin lawns, top dress with compost. Add a one-quarter-inch-thick layer and rake it in.

Overseed with lawn seed at the same time. This will help build up the root systems. A healthy root system means a thick lawn with less weeds.

Credit Pixabay / Creative Commons
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Hand lawn mower.
Credit Amanda Mills / Creative Commons
Creative Commons
Fertilizing the lawn.

While the temptation to fertilize is strong this time of year, if you usually fertilize only once, it's better to do it in the fall.

You'll get better grass root growth, and less flush of green top growth, compared to a spring application.

If you do fertilize, choose an organic product that has low or no phosphorous. Phosphorus runs off the lawn and pollutes our rivers, lakes, and the Long Island Sound.

Unless a soil test says otherwise, most lawns don't need extra phosphorous. Also, never apply the fertilizer within 20 feet of a stream or body of water, to reduce the pollution.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about dandelions. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.

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