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This season's new color is green

As the seasons shift from winter freeze to warm spring breeze, homeowners know it's time to dust the cobwebs off the garden tools and get outside to start working on the yard.

Though spring cleaning is commonly associated with clearing away the clutter inside a home, there's also some spring cleaning homeowners can do to ready their lawns for the warm weather to come.

* Fertilize: Lisa and Troy Daniels form Ace Hardware note that spring fertilization plays a vital role in keeping a lawn healthy.

By fertilizing in the spring, homeowners are essentially replenishing the lawn. In the spring, soil temperatures have begun to warm, allowing the grass to grow again. Fertilizing at this point will help build up nutrient reserves, which will help the lawn withstand the long summer ahead.

* Grasscycle: When mowing the lawn, homeowners can leave the grass clippings on the lawn. This is a process known as grasscycling, and it can save time, money and protect the environment.

When left behind, grass clipping add valuable organic matter to the soil, including nutrients, essentially providing free fertilizer and helping a lawn look lush and healthy.

* Check thatch levels: Oftentimes homeowners mistakenly think grasscycling creates thatch.

In fact, clippings are made largely of water and carbohydrates, which are easily broken down. Thatch actually can be a byproduct of fertilizer, as stems and crowns are stimulated when fertilized, only to eventually decay and result in thatch.

If thatch levels are high, consider aerating the lawn. This will relieve soil compaction, allowing water, nutrients and oxygen to enter the ground.

1. Loosen the soil, then rake the soil to give your new grass a place to grow.

2. Apply high quality seed and gently rake about quarter inch of soil over the seeds.

3. Water is essential for thick, green grass.

Spring recovery

No lawn is perfect. Along with weeds, the most common issue in lawns is bare spots and thin areas.

Troy says, "Often, fixing bare spots and thin areas is simply a matter of adjusting the watering and feeding schedule. If the lawn only has a few bare spots, then a few simple repairs will patch it up."

There's always a reason for bare or thin spots. The trouble is, it's not always obvious.

You may need to do a little detective work. Does the soil drain well in the bare spot? Do dogs leave their calling cards there? Maybe you have an insect problem, lawn disease, or too much shade. Is the grass you're planting suited to your conditions? Your lawnmower could be "scalping" your lawn with a low setting.

Bare spots could be the result of any of these, but the first thing to check is how you feed and water your lawn.

Fortunately, it's easy to fix most bare spots. Spread a little soil over the area. Then apply quality grass seed.

Keep the area moist until the grass matures, then you're set. Just resume regular watering.

Consider renovation

If a patch of your lawn only grows weeds or unsightly grass, you may want to start over from scratch. Spray the area with RoundUp Weed and Grass Killer.

After seven days, rake out the dead plants and add an inch of Scotts Turf Builder Seeding Soil evenly over the area. Level out any low and high spots. Next, spread top-quality seeds and give them a head start with fertilizer.

If you keep your patch moist until the seeds grow into mature grass, your bare spot should disappear.

Overseed

If your bare spot is the entire lawn, overseed.

It happens: Your nice, green lawn looks a little threadbare all over.

Take a look to see what's causing the problem. If your lawn has more than half an inch of thatch, you may need to rent a de-thatching machine. Going over your lawn with one of those gives new seeds a chance to take root, and it helps the grass you have get more water and nutrients.

You also may need to add a thin layer of topsoil where your soil looks thin under your trees and shrubs. Using a drop spreader or a rotary spreader, apply a layer of quality seed, then follow up with an application of fertilizer.

Now, all you have to do is keep the lawn moist, and it will look a lot better in a few short weeks.

Regular routine

Giving grass the nutrients it needs helps it grow thick and full. Deep watering once a week (or more when it's really hot) allows for deeper root growth. If you make these two steps a habit, your lawn will look great, with fewer bare and thin spots.

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