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Americans celebrate their love of the backyard during April— National Lawn Care Month

Americans celebrate their love of the backyard during April— National Lawn Care Month

Give your lawn mower a checkup before the lawn care season gets in full swing.

POSTED April 24, 2013 4:03 p.m.

The majority of Americans say that their yard is important to them. A recent U.S. Poll conducted by Harris Interactive for PLANET, found that 81 percent of those with a yard/landscape say the upkeep of their yard/landscape is important to the look of their home. Why is it so important? Showing pride was the No. 1 response (42 percent of those surveyed) followed by the desire to create a relaxing outdoor space (16 percent).
"Spring is a great time to channel the excitement about getting outside in the yard into working to lay the foundation for a healthy lawn that the family can enjoy all season," said Norman Goldenberg, Landscape Industry Certified, president of PLANET.
PLANET, the national trade association for landscape professionals, offers homeowners tips for getting a great start on caring for yards this spring.

• Test your soil. Test your soil once every few years to make sure it has the proper pH balance and mix of nutrients. You can usually get your soil tested at your state's local agricultural extension office, or ask your lawn care or landscape professional. You can also buy soil test kits at garden centers.
• Fertilize, but test first. The decision about whether or not to fertilize should be based on the nutrition requirements of your plant as well as soil conditions. First, determine your soil nutrient needs through testing, and if your soil does need nutrients, make sure you choose a fertilizer that matches those needs. Also make sure you fertilize at the right time of the year for your variety of grass. Contrary to popular belief, not all grasses should be fertilized in the spring. A few cool-season grass varieties do better when fertilized in the fall. June is also a good time to fertilize many cool-season grasses. Before fertilizing your lawn or plants, always check with the local agricultural extension office. Some state and local governments place limits on when, what kind, and what amount of fertilizer you can apply. Professional, licensed lawn care companies must follow state, local, and federal regulations.
• Give your lawn mower a checkup. Make sure the blades are sharp and the oil has been changed. Also, drain last season's fuel and use fresh gas. Read the operator's manual for your mower. Make sure you understand all of its safety features prior to use.
• Don't cut your grass too short, particularly for cool season grass. Taller grass results in a deeper root system and a lawn that is less likely to encourage invasive weeds. It also protects your lawn from scorching.

Homeowners can consult with a lawn care professional to put together a program that ensures their lawns will be healthy and beautiful throughout the year. For more help from the pros including design tips, tips on creating sustainable landscapes, indoor plant tips and seasonal advice, log on to


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