Yards for Kids

Yard Care Tips


Mow High. This is the single most important thing you can do to create strong turf. This will lead to stronger, healthier grass and will shade out many weeds. In general, 3-4 inches is best. Cutting the grass too short will weaken your lawn

Don’t bag it. Leave lawn clippings as long as they filter through into the grass and are not clumping together. Decomposing clippings provides nutrients, especially nitrogen, and reduce the need for fertilizer. Grass clippings do not add to thatch.

Use organic fertilizers if you have to fertilize. Fertilizers derived from compost, fish emulsion, seaweed, corn by-products, and poultry and cow manure are excellent lawn nutrient sources and are available for home and garden uses. Organic fertilizer, in addition to providing nutrients, add organic matter to the soil, improve soil structure, and aid water infiltration. Natural fertilizers are available at several area garden stores.

Reseed bare areas. Late August through September is a good time to repair bare spots.

Water Deeply, not often. Because rainfall in Iowa is plentiful, we rarely need to water our lawns. If you have to water, give your lawn a long slow deep drink of water as infrequently as possible, taking care not to wait so long that your lawn gets stressed by drought.

Mow with a sharp blade. Sharper mower blades make a clean cut while dull blades rip the grass, weakening your lawns natural defenses.

Go Native. Replace portions of your lawn with native Iowa prairie plants, shrubs and other perennials. These can attract birds, butterflies, beneficial insects and no fertilizing or mowing is required.

Be more tolerant of diversity in your lawn. Dandelions and violets offer the best UNI Panther colors. Ultimately what will need to change is our perception of what constitutes a beautiful lawn. Learning to tolerate a few weeds is crucial. Remember, they won’t hurt anyone, but we know weed killers can.