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Vermont Garden Journal: Lawn Care For The Rainy Season

Mow at three inches tall to create a thicker, lusher lawn with a strong root system.

It continues to be a cool, rainy spring. While our shrubs and trees are taking their time leafing out, nothing stops the lawn. It's been growing a mile-a-minute and mowing is difficult with the soggy soils. So, it's a good time to talk organic lawn care.

First of all, if your lawn is so wet there are puddles or the characteristic squishing sound as you walk, avoid mowing. If the grass is becoming a jungle, then mow with the lightest weight mower possible so not to compact the soil. Mow at three inches tall to create a thicker, lusher lawn with a strong root system. This will help deter browning in summer when the weather gets dry and prevents weeds from moving in. Leave the grass clippings on the lawn to decompose and feed the grass. If the lawn has gotten out of control with all the rain, then mow in stages, slowly decreasing the mower height to three inches. Avoid scalping the lawn. That harms the grass growth point and opens up the lawn to weed seeds.

Seed and patch the lawn now using a grass seed adapted to your conditions. Sow a mix with Kentucky bluegrass for full-sun lawns. For part-shade, find a mix dominated by creeping or fine fescue and turf-type, tall fescue.

If you're only fertilizing the lawn once a year, do so in fall. However, top dress the lawn with a quarter-inch thick layer of compost and seed with a similar grass type that you're already growing now to grow thick, healthy lawn grass. Even if you remove weeds by hand digging or spreading an herbicide, they will come right back unless your lawn is thick and healthy.

Now for this week's tip: start hardening off your vegetable seedlings now. Place your seedlings in a protected spot outdoors, out of the wind. Increase the time spent outdoors each day so that in a week your plants will be ready to pop into the soil.

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