The beautiful weather we have had lately has given many Houstonians the itch to finally do something in our yards. For many new gardeners, at times it seems too daunting to decide what to improve. Perhaps we can help with a few ideas.
Spring lawn care suggestions:
You’d like to have a great lawn, but all you’ve got is hard clay soil. You need to condition the soil before you do anything else according to gardening experts. Apply gypsum twice a year at the recommended rate shown on the bag until things get started growing. Regular spraying using a 20-gallon hose-end sprayer and one cup of plain dish soap, (e.g., Ivory or Palmolive liquid without antibacterials or degreasers) will do wonders to help soften the soil, so that important functions like photosynthesis can take place more readily.
To find out precisely what your lawn needs, you can test your own soil using a basic home soil test kit from your local home and garden store or, if you prefer, your County Extension Agency will do testing for a fee. Generally, to feed your average-sized lawn in the spring, mix 50 lbs. of pelletized lime, 50 lbs. of pelletized gypsum, 2 lbs. of Epsom salts, and 5 lbs. of bone meal in a wheelbarrow and apply the mixture to your lawn with a spreader. The lime adds acidity to your soil. (Most lawn grasses grow best in acidic soil with a pH between 6 and 7.) Gypsum is beneficial for breaking up clay and compacted soil. Epsom salts are a super source of magnesium, which helps deepen flower colors and thicken petals. Bone meal is used to provide phosphorus and calcium to plants and soil. Its phosphorus helps grass to grow and photosynthesize effectively. Its calcium is vital to the formation of healthy cells and helps grass move and retain other elements within themselves.
Later as a follow-up to the above treatment, put 1 cup of plain dish soap, 1 cup of ammonia, 1 cup of regular cola (not diet), and 4 tbsp. of instant tea granules in a 20-gallon hose-end sprayer and apply to the point of run-off to give your lawn a great spring kickoff.
Article contributed by Phyllis Herrington, FWHGC Publications Specialist