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5 Things Friday: Five magic bullets to a great lawn

Choose the right time to tackle weeds. Too hot or too cool and your efforts are in vain.

Editor's note: "5 Things Friday" is a weekly feature in SheSays that will run on - you guessed it - Fridays. It will focus on quick tips, ideas, activities and more - all in bunches of five. If you have a "5 Things Friday" suggestion, contact us at

1.Water deeply, but not often.

Determine how long you need to water using the guidelines below. Heavy soils should be watered less often and less heavily but for longer periods of time.

Sandy soils can handle heavy, fast watering but dry out faster. In hot, dry weather, you may have to water every two to three days.

Determine how long you need to water: Water for 30 minutes, then plunge a spade into the soil and pry out a wedge to see how far the water has penetrated. Four to six inches deep is ideal. If it's not deep enough, continue to water - you can use the time this takes as a barometer for future waterings.

2.Attack broadleaf weeds in mild weather.

When the weather is too cool, the weed isn't growing and the herbicide won't be absorbed. Too hot and the herbicide will stress the grass. The product directions will give you the best temperature range.

Apply herbicides when rain isn't forecast; a soaking will just rinse off the herbicide before it can do any good.

3.Kill crabgrass before it sprouts.

Crabgrass preventers only prevent crabgrass (and any other seed) from sprouting. Once crabgrass sprouts, it's too late. The key is to apply preventer between the second and the third mowing. Because crabgrass starts sprouting a few weeks after the grass greens up, that's generally just the right time.

4.Don't cut the grass too short.

Every grass type has an optimal cutting height, and you're better off on the high side. Not sure what type of grass you have? Take a sample to a garden center for help, or go to and use their "grass type identifier" at the bottom of the page to compare your sample with the ones shown.

5.Don't skip fall fertilizing.

Before the lawn goes to sleep for the winter, you should feed it well. Even after the grass seems to go dormant, the roots are soaking up nutrients and storing energy for the next growing season. Surprisingly, it's much more important to fertilize in the fall than in the spring, when most people do it.

Additional DIY tips, product recommendations and more can be found online at or in the June issue of The Family Handyman.