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Video: Spring-cleaning your lawn

TODAY
updated 4/17/2008 8:37:22 AM ET 2008-04-17T12:37:22

Correction: Deadline for America's Most Desperate Landscape contest entries is April 21.

Does your lawn need a spring makeover? Jason Cameron, host of the DIY Network’s “Desperate Landscapes,” shares helpful gardening tips on how you can prepare your lawn for the warm-weather days ahead:

Sharpen yard tools and mower blade
The sharper the tool, the cleaner the cut, and that's important to the healing of the tree, plant or grass. Sharp tools will make your own efforts faster and easier, especially when digging all those holes for your annuals! One tool can sharpen all of your yard and garden tools:

GardenSharp
Price: $9.99
Sharpens those hard-to-hone "single" beveled-edge tools such as loppers, pruners, lawn mower blades, shovels and hoes.

Prune plants and trees
As soon as things start to dry out, cut back any perennials, such as ornamental grasses, that were left for winter interest. Also, prune any shrubs and trees that need attention, except for those that bloom in the spring. This promotes plant health, improves form and stimulates growth by awaking resting growth points.

Alligator Lopper
Price: $99
Metal jaws clamp onto logs and branches up to 4" in diameter, even groupings of smaller tree limbs and vines, and then saws through them with ease. The Alligator Lopper's jaws offer the ultimate in controlled cutting. The rugged metal guards that cover the jaws protect you from the cutting chain and immediately snap back over the blades once the cut is complete. It’s a great alternative to chainsaws, manual loppers, handsaws and clippers.

Remove dead grass and leaves from lawn and garden beds
If you neglect spring lawn care, you could end up paying for it the rest of the year. Power-rake or dethatch your lawn in early spring before new growth has begun. This will control thatch buildup and "snow mold" (where grass is matted in patches), both of which make new growth difficult.

Lee Valley Power Rake
www.leevalley.com
Price: $41.50
It glides about from spot to spot, which makes it very easy on your back, and the rake rarely needs to be lifted while in use. Despite the "garden rake" appearance, it is a fierce leaf raker. On the push stroke, the swept-back tines glide over the leaves, and on the pull stroke the upper shield prevents the accumulating pile of leaves from tumbling over the tines.

Fertilize and fill in bare spots in the lawn
If you tend to get bare spots in your yard, prepare for the battle. Bare spots can be caused by heavy foot traffic, drought, disease, chemical burn and weed or insect infestation. But for many of us, it's the family dog.

Simple Solution Lawn Spot Away
Price: $10.99 32 oz., $19.99 64 oz.
When preparing for outdoor entertaining, it's always embarrassing to have patchy grass and burn marks on your lawn. Simple Solution Lawn Spot Away instantly repairs lawn blemishes and promotes regrowth. The natural green color dries quickly and blends with a variety of grass types. Instantly repairs pet-urine burn marks on lawns with a natural green color. Works continuously to break down pet urine with bacteria and enzymes. Safe for use around pets.

Scotts® PatchMaster® Lawn Repair Mix
Price: $8.99
Great for repairing bare spots since it contains everything you need to seed — Scotts premium grass seed, Scotts Starter fertilizer, and a protective mulch. It grows grass that's twice as thick as seed alone. Made from recycled materials, it's 100% biodegradable.

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In late spring, mulch garden beds
Remove winter mulch from garden plants in early spring to promote earlier warming of the soil by the sun. New mulches for the summer should be laid down after the soil has warmed and fertilizer has been applied, usually in late spring. If the old winter mulch seems to be in good condition it may be raked back into place for another year.

A three- to six-inch layer of mulch is effective in conserving moisture, keeping roots cool by shielding them from the sun, and a six-inch layer will control most weed growth. Do not pile mulch against plant bases; always keep mulch away from plant crowns by a good three to four inches.

Garden Glass Mulch
Price: River Mix $65 per 50-lb. bag/NY Glass $10.95 per 50-lb. bag
Permanent landscaping mulch that never fades or needs replacing and it's 100% recycled (otherwise the glass would have been discarded in a local landfill). Glass mulches are a unique alternative to traditional bark or gravel and a natural deterrent to slugs when used around your garden — slugs do not like going over glass.

Cocoa Shell Mulch
Price: $3.50 per 2-cubic-foot bag
Cocoa shell mulch is made from the shells of roasted cocoa beans used in the chocolate-making process. These shells come off the beans during the roasting process and are separated from the beans by strong air action, thus ensuring a dry, weed-free product. It lasts longer than wood mulch, smells better, gets darker with age and provides various nutrients beneficial to plants and the soil. It retains moisture better than regular mulch and is an excellent insulator for root systems in winter and summer.

Because of its slow decomposition process, it adds nutrients to the soil rather than drawing from the soil.

Have fun with your family and your lawn
This spring, get ready for fun ,whether it's a graduation party or rallying for your favorite team. Try these paints and stencils that are safe for your yard:

Yard Art-Home Field Stencil Kit
Price: $90
This product is simply a new way to show your support for your team or to celebrate a special occasion. The logo is painted on the grass and will remain visible for 1-2 weeks. Mowing your lawn will remove the stencil over that period of time. Stencil kits are available for "Happy Birthday," "It's a Boy/Girl" and more — and they won't hurt grass.

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