Gardening: Spring Lawn Care Tips

Story by Audrey Pettit, first published in the Journal of Garden Supply Company. Photo above by Hal Goodtree. Other photos from Garden Supply.

Cary, NC – They say that growing a healthy, lush green lawn in North Carolina can be a bit of a challenge. But two basic lawn-management practices can make or break the success of your yard.

Growing the Perfect Lawn in Cary

Poor soil conditions paired with high heat and humidity during the summer months are well-known contributing factors to our difficult growing conditions in the Triangle.

But did you also know that two basic lawn-management practices –  mowing and fertilizing – can either “make” or “break” a lawn by promoting good lawn health or opening it up to a weed infestation?

Here are a few tips for establishing a healthy and beautiful lawn in your piece of paradise.


Sharp Mower Blades

Tip #1: Always mow with a sharp mower blade.

Sharp blades cut the grass cleanly, which ensures rapid healing and regrowth. When dull blades tear and bruise the leaves, the wounded grass becomes weakened and less able to ward off invading weeds.

How Sharp is Your Blade?

A good rule to follow is to have your lawn mower serviced in late winter or early spring before peek grass growing commences later in the spring. If you haven’t had your blades sharpened in several years, you can be pretty sure that they are in need.

Take a peek at your freshly mowed lawn and look at the tips of the cut grass. If you see tearing or ripping, you are in need of some service.

Mowing Height

Tip #2: Mow at the proper height for your lawn. For example, mow tall fescue at 3 inches during the summer months. By maintaining the proper height, you will allow the root system to fully develop, helping the grass tolerate summer heat and stress.

One-Third Rule of Thumb

Follow this mowing rule-of-thumb: Remove no more than one-third of the grass height at any one mowing.

Cutting off more than one-third at one time can stop the roots from growing, which is an open invitation to weeds.


Tip #3: All lawns need to be fertilized, but not all the time.

Fertilize lawns with the right amount of fertilizer based on soil-test results and at the proper time of year.

Not sure when to fertilize you lawn, or how much? Stop by the garden center for some advice.

Weed Whackers

Weed whackers are great for creating neat edges to your perfect Cary lawn.

But take note: Avoid trimming grass with a weed-eater near the trunks of trees and shrubs. The rapidly spinning monofilament line can easily damage the bark, exposing it to attack from insects and diseases. Instead, maintain a shallow layer of mulch around the bases of trees and shrubs to help suppress weed growth.


The Gardening Column on CaryCitizen is sponsored by Garden Supply Company on Old Apex Road in Cary.