The Midwest is grass country. While its best-known grasses are the corn and wheat crops grown in the region’s abundant farmlands, the same conditions make growing turf grass a snap relative to other regions of the country. Cool-season grasses like bluegrass and fescue tend to grow best here.
At the same time, the region is prone to occasional drought. The Climate Prediction Center predicts ongoing drought conditions through the spring of 2013, so expect that to complicate your lawn care plans this year. To get a jump on the growing season, take the following steps.
When a lawn gets heavy use, the soil gets packed down and compacted, restricting the flow of water and nutrients. Aeration refers to the process of poking holes into, or removing “cores” from, the soil to allow air and moisture to penetrate the soil. During dry weather, core aeration can help improve the soil’s ability to absorb the available rainfall. This can be done with a simple attachment for your riding mower, or you can rent a power aerator from the Home Depot.
If temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees, you can begin applications of fertilizer. In addition to combating weeds like dandelions, Scotts Turf Builder Weed & Feed is formulated to increase water absorption in the lawn, thus helping to further alleviate your drought concerns. When your lawn is moist, use a spreader to apply Turf Builder evenly across the lawn.
(Not sure if the Midwest is the right zone for you? See our zone map for more.)