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Properly Caring For Your Yard

Weed Control & Fertilization

Iowa Grass Types & More About Weed Control Here

Why is weed control important?  

Your plants need water, light and nutrients to survive. So do weeds.  The yard isn’t big enough for the two of them!  If your plants aren't getting enough nitrogen, potassium and other nutrients, they become more susceptible to disease and insect infestation. And as weeds suck up nutrients from the soil, this can not only cause plants to wither, it can lead to abnormal growth and color.  Other reasons include:  Weeds take up the space needed for your plants to grow, some weeds are parasites, in some cases weeds can affect your health, weeds are unsightly, they multiply if left alone, & neighbors give dirty looks!

How to prevent weeds:

Change your watering schedule – Instead of watering your lawn frequently and lightly, change things around by giving the grass more water, but less often. This makes your grass stronger and more able to fend off weeds.  Most lawns in Iowa need 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week. When watering the lawn, apply this amount in a single application or possibly 2 applications 3 or 4 days apart.  (Will vary depending on temperature)

Raise your mower deck - Typically, for the grass types here in Bettendorf, Iowa, grass should be cut close to 3 inches during the summer.  Taller grass has deeper roots which can reach water more effectively. Taller grass also shades soil which helps to reduce water loss especially during the hot days and prevent weeds from invading your lawn.  Only take off 1/3 of grass height during each mowing.

Use the right herbicides – You can’t just pick an herbicide off the shelf at Home Depot and expect it to end your weed problems. Different herbicides are designed to target different kinds of weeds. Choosing the wrong one could damage your grass and have zero effect on the weeds on your lawn.  It's important to get the timing right for pre-emergent herbicides.   

Why Fertilize?

I almost didn't add this paragraph because it would seem oblivious after what was mentioned above.  It can't hurt either way.

For a healthy lawn to flourish, it needs nutrients. High quality soil is made with fertilizer. Over time, soil will naturally lose many nutrients that are needed to grow. When you fertilize your lawn, these nutrients will help it to grow deeper, rooting itself in a healthy way. It will become greener, thicker, lusher.  Fertilizer will not only help your lawn look better, but also last longer & smother out unwanted weeds!  A healthy lawn is more durable and beautiful.  Give your lawn the nutrient in needs to grow strong and last long with fertilizer.  It’s common knowledge that grass needs sunshine and water to grow.  But for it to really thrive, it needs fertilizer too.  Your soil will get these key elements: phosphorous, nitrate, and potassium.  Without water and sunshine, your grass will likely not live long.  While it does survive, it’ll likely be weak, shriveled, and discolored.  Yes, water and sunlight are essential for grass growth.  But just as important is fertilizer.  Give your lawn all of the elements it needs with a combination of water, sunlight, and fertilizer. 

Ever wandered exactly what the numbers on a fertilizer bag mean? (0-0-0)


Nitrogen - First number on bag


Sparks growth in lawn.  Usually best to use slow release to avoid burning out lawn.  (This is common to find in any fertilizer you buy)


Phosphorus - Second number on bag


Enhances plant energy reactions and promotes strong root growth.  (Great for newly seeded areas)

Potassium - Third number on bag


Involved in heat & hold tolerance, disease resistance, and other stress tolerances. (You'll see more Potassium amounts in fall fertilizer mixes)

Managing thatch - Layer of living and dead organic matter that occurs between the green matter and the soil surface.  Excessive thatch (over 1/2”) creates a favorable environment for pests and disease, an unfavorable growing environment for grass roots, and can interfere with some lawn care practices.  Solutions:  De-thatching or aeration.

Aeration & Overseeding

Aeration involves penetrating the soil and creating small holes that allow water, air, and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass. Overseeding involves spreading grass seed throughout the yard to encourage new grass growth.

What is PH level?

How Do I Test My Soil PH?

Soil pH is the measure of how acidic or how alkaline (basic) your lawn is on a scale of 0-14. Anything below 7 is acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline. 

Water and nutrients are essential to plant growth. Soil pH affects how well your plants can absorb nutrients.

Different nutrients become available at different pH levels (see chart below).  Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the three main nutrients that plants need. 

While different plants may thrive in different pH levels, most grasses grow well between a pH of 5.5  -6.5. 

Commercial test probe:

Dig hole 2-4 inches deep and add distilled water. Insert a test probe into hole. These devices are pocket-sized and will give you instant results.

Pro tip: Take a few samples from all around the yard, making sure you dig the hole to the same depth each time. 

Soil testing kit:

Available at any local hardware store. Collect samples from around yard and follow kit instructions

Send soil sample to a lab:

Take 2-4 inch core samples of different areas around the yard and send them to a state-run testing site. You will receive a thorough diagnoses of your soil fertility.


Signs Of Acidic Soil (Low PH)

  • Yellow spots in your lawn.


  • Wilting grass blades. 


  • Leaf blight (fungal disease). 


  • Stunted grass growth.


  • High volume of oak and pine trees. These trees grow well in areas with acidic ground. 


  • Weeds and moss - both thrive in acidic lawns.

Signs Of Alkaline Soil (High PH)

  • Yellowing of lawn. It is harder for roots to absorb nutrients such as iron. 

  • Poor stem development.

Treating Acidic Soil (Low PH)

If your pH runs low (under 7) this means that your soil is acidic. Slightly acidic is ok, but if it's too much, the lawn should be treated.  To fix it we recommend a corrective lime application. Call a local trusted lawn care company to do this treatment. If planning on doing it yourself,  just make sure that product is being put down at the proper rates.


Treating Alkaline Soil (High PH)

To fix this we recommend an acidic treatment. Call a local trusted lawn care company to fix your ph level. If planning on doing it yourself make sure the product is being spread at the proper rates

We can help with all of this!
-Except the watering part, you'll have to take care of that :)

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