Angie's List: 3 steps for Spring lawn care

Springtime is the right time to spruce up the yard

TAMPA - Spring is an important time for your lawn. If you neglect it now, you'll pay the price for the rest of the year. Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, has three simple steps to spring lawn care. "First, you want to go around your house and take an assessment of how everything looks on the exterior. how does your yard look? Are your shrubs in good shape? Do you have the trees you want? Also how does that deck or patio look? You can make a list of things that need to be tackled now as you get ready for the spring season."

Number one on your Spring to-do list is to clean up the yard. If you still have leaves or debris in your yard, remove them as soon as possible. Leaves left on the yard prevent it from receiving the sunlight it needs. Rake up thatch as well because thatch can prevent nutrients and water from reaching roots of the grass.

Number two on the list is to service your lawnmower. Regular maintenance on your lawnmower can help avoid ill-timed breakdowns and extend its life. A service appointment should include an oil change, spark plug, air filter, carburetor, cables, belts, and inspection and sharpening of the blade. Cutting grass with a sharpened blade is important for lawn health.

Mower technician, Chris Arvin said you can check the blade yourself with the mower off and tipped on its side. "When it's on its side you can look at the condition of the blade and see if it's dull and most of the time if you mow 25 times its dull. The mower's manufacturer would like to have the homeowner sharpen their blade after every eight mows, but that is pretty excessive. If they get it done once a season they are doing better than most."

A spring checkup can cost $50-$150 depending on whether you have a push or riding lawn mower. Always ask for an estimate and guarantee on the work. And keep your lawnmower clean. After each mowing, wait until the engine cools and use a hose to spray the clippings and grass debris that may be clinging to the underside of the deck of your mower. This will keep grass clippings from building up and help prevent clogging.

Finally, now is the time for some weed, seed and feed. If you have any bare spots on your lawn, now is a good time for seed. Your lawn may also benefit from fertilizer at this time. If you are unsure about the health of your lawn, take a plug of your lawn to your local nursery to learn what your lawn really needs. Keep in mind, the federal government requires those who apply certain chemicals to control weeds, insects or diseases to be certified pesticide applicators. If they can't provide documentation, find another company. Beware of any company or product that promises a quick cure. Remember your lawn is a growing plant. If it is weak and damaged it will take longer to recover.

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