Riding Mower Tools & DIY Lawn Maintenance Tips

posted on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 in QE Network

X330 John Deere Riding Mower

Want to achieve a thick, green lawn without hiring a landscaper? We’ve put together some helpful spring lawn care tips for beginners, including equipment recommendations that will get you off to a great start.

Make Way for Air and Nutrients

Aside from mowing regularly, cutting no more than one third of the grass blade at a time, and watering in the morning instead of the evening, the secret to a green lawn is patience and using the right tools, and it often starts by setting up your soil for success. Material buildup and compaction can cause your yard to look unhealthy and stunt growth, despite having applied the right nutrients and products. Two tools that help create space for air, water and other nutrients to reach grass roots are dethatchers and aerators.

What is thatch and how can you tell if it’s a problem you need to address? Thatch consists of organic material that sits on top of the soil around the grass blades. Having some is ok, but too much can prevent you from having your dream lawn. The easiest way to tell how yours is doing is by using a spade to remove and inspect a small core of your yard. If this material looks like it exceeds ½ an inch, it’s time to use a dethatcher.

Compaction is the other issue we mentioned and can be remedied by an aerator. Essentially, heavy traffic and soil composition play a role in how well your turf can manage drainage. It’s not uncommon for a compacted lawn to have areas that tend to pool when watering or after a heavier rain. A lawn aerator removes little tubes of soil from your lawn, allowing oxygen and nutrients to get deeper into the ground where they can actually make the most impact. This type of work should be done when your lawn is moist but not muddy. Both of these tools should be used during the active growing season for your turf so as to not cause any undue stress. In North Carolina, spring and the earlier parts of summer make for a good time to engage in detatching and aerating. As a word of caution, be mindful of any irrigation systems you have installed to avoid causing costly damage.

Feed and Treat Your Lawn 

Once you know the soil is able to receive vital nutrients, you can improve the look of your lawn by overseeding, fertilizing and applying pest or weed-control solutions, just not all at once. This type of work can be easily completed with the help of attachments that fall in the spreader and sprayer categories. When you prep your lawn by aerating, you’ll want to apply your preferred grass seed mixture and fertilizer together, within 48 hours but this is not the time to treat weeds. Doing so might prevent the seed from germinating so it’s best to do this type of work after your new grass has had a chance to settle in or before you engage in soil prep work. There are a few different schools of thought on the length of time between overseeding and weed treatment, ranging from waiting until after you’ve mowed a few times to holding off for just about a month. Ideally, you’ll want to make sure you’re following any product-specific guidelines as there are many different types of herbicides.

Another important consideration is mulch mowing for an extra kick. If your mower is equipped with the ability to mulch your clippings instead of bagging, you’ll be able to redistribute the small bits of organic matter back into your lawn that will release helpful nutrients into your soil as they decompose. A good mulching system will create such fine clippings that you won’t be able to see them laying on top of your lawn. The added benefit here is that you get a fertilization mechanism without facing an additional cost.

Have more questions about how to take care of your lawn or which attachments make the most sense for your yard? Stop in at your nearest Quality Equipment dealership to get expert advice on managing turf in North Carolina and Virginia. You’ll also find some great seasonal specials like John Deere maintenance kits and more in our promotions section online if you’re ready to tackle some DIY maintenance work on your equipment, or just want to have a kit handy.

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