Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Psst! Here are a few cool secrets from pros for a lush lawn and landscape

At last. Spring's at the peak of her glory. But if you're gazing at your neighbor's lush green lawn and blooming plants and feel a bit "green" with envy as you stare at your own spotty, sad-looking turf and twiggy plants, there's hope.

We found great tips from lawn and garden pros that promise greener, healthier and abundant plants and turf and we're passing them along. Let us know how they work for you!

1. Test your soil. Dr. Tom Samples, Ph.D. - turfgrass extension specialist at the University of TN Institute of Agriculture recommends you get a soil tester and learn your soil's pH level and then adjust accordingly. He says, "a pH of 6.5 is considered ideal for turfgrass."

2. Pull out the weeds. Rather than treating with harmful chemicals, pull easy to spot weeds with a claw tool cultivator. Before you start, soak the soil to ensure you get out all the stubborn roots and runners.

3. Lose the spots. If your lawn is blotchy with ugly brown spots where your dog does his/her business or even from using winter de-icers, try SpotGone! from NatraTurf. Just sprinkle the all natural, organic, OMRI-listed pellets onto the spots and your grass will grow in green and uniformly without re-seeding! And it's safe for kids and pets!

4. Go au natural with gypsum. For your lawn and landscape plants, trees, flowerbeds and veggie garden, use a natural soil amendment like gypsum.

Gypsum-treated soils retain moisture over a longer period of time and decrease evaporation on top of the soil. You'll water less and it's an excellent source of calcium - a necessary plant nutrient -and removes harmful salts from your soil.

Samples says that "calcium improves cell strength and "gypsum supplies additional calcium and sulphur to lawns and plants without changing the pH level and is essential for plant growth." Good to know.

We also spoke with a number of golf course superintendents and nursery owners for their "secrets." Those who prefer using all-natural, high quality pelletized gypsum products suggest HydroSave for gorgeous greens and beautiful bedding plants. Plus, it's organic and OMRI-listed.

Gypsum helps reduce "soil crusting" and loosens soil, making it more porous and a better home for earthworms, nature's aerators.

One of the experts, Curt Berte, owner of Spring Valley Golf Course in Livermore, Iowa uses HydroSave in their fairways and found that " we cut our water usage by 40%." He also said they tilled it in flowerbeds "and had amazing results!" Now it's available for gardeners as HydroSave Residential. Impressive.

We also asked Jon Mathews, owner of Shades of Texas Nursery, who deals with hot, dry conditions and frequent drought, what he uses. Again, he prefers gypsum and HydroSave in particular and said, "We saw incredible results in our plants- bigger, better and more abundant, Texas style." Excellent.

The pros claim the pay-off is your grass and plants will develop stronger more vigorous roots for a thicker, greener lawn, more robust flowers and even tastier vegetables! If you want to learn more about keeping your lawn and landscape green and healthy, check out

5. "Just a little off the top." Here's an easy tip but important: Try to keep your grass at two to three inches high and keep your mower blades sharpened for less damage to your grass. Check out the new energy efficient mowers on the market-- or try the "push" mowers if you have a small yard - (better for you and the environment!)

Enjoy the longer days and renewal of spring, plant something new and please let us know if these suggestions work for you!


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