• Grass loves the sun, so you may have some bald spots in shaded areas where weeds can take over. Plant some hearty shade loving plants in those areas to solve your problem. Hostas are always a great solution.
  • Grass Seeds, the ground must be moist at all times for the seedlings to establish roots.
  • Remove Thatch buildup, Thatch is a layer of decomposing grass, stem and roots that can suffocate good grass. Aeration will slow development or a power rake will lift it from the soil.


  • Learn what your soil is lacking before you fertilize. Test your soil with an inexpensive soil tester kit. Plants need a particular pH level for optimal growth.
  • Top-dress your lawn with high-quality compost. It can bring depleted or damaged soil back to life.
  • Aerate, aerate, aerate your soil every year, you couldn’t possibly do something better for it. It allows air flow, water and nutrients in to let roots thrive.
  • pH – most grasses like pH between 6 to 7.2. Adjust pH with lime to raise it and iron to lower it.


  • Apply 3-4 inches deep to maintain water retention for your deep rooted plants while smothering unwanted weeds
  • Pull mulch back about 2 inches from the plant base to prevent rot
  • Use large bark mulch, it decomposes more slowly and lasts longer
  • Mulch will slow but not stop weeds, and still require some weeding attention.

Landscape fabric

  • Only use it under stones and gravel
  • It’s not ideal when removing weeds
  • Choose fabric that allows water and air to pass through
  • Avoid plastic

Weeds & The unwanted

Grassy Weeds

  • Crabgrass, yellow foxtail and nutgrass are all grassy looking weeds – After the second mow of the spring apply a pre-emergent herbicide to keep the seeds from germinating.
  • Late Season Grassy Weeds – spot-kill them with a post-emergence herbicide.
  • Perennial Grassy Weeds – when there’s too many weeds to spot shot, it’s time for extreme measures. Spray a non-selective herbicide on the weedy area. If they’re not dead in 2 weeks, spray again. Once they’re dead, mow as short as possible and wait 15 days to plant new grass.

Broadleaf Weeds

  • Dandelions, plantain, Creeping Charlie and ragweed are a few of the most common broadleaf weeds. Early spring before weeds start growing apply “Hi-Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed & Grass Stopper Container Dimension.” It is a pre-emergent herbicide that kills weeds before they sprout.
  • Late Season Broadleaf Weeds – Spot shot them with a post-emergence herbicide.


  • Blade Height – In our Iowa climate, you want to maintain 21/2 inches. Longer grass is not only stronger and thicker, it will crowd out weeds.
  • Attach a “grass friendly” weed killer to your lawn mower for easy access when you’re mowing.


Mark your newly planted sprouts to avoid confusing them with a weed.

What not to do

Over water your lawn. Homeowners tend to do this, but in some cases you can be causing more damage than good.

Over Feed Shady areas. Shaded areas have less sun and grow at a slower rate, requiring less fertilizer.

Forget Fall. Just because summer is over doesn’t need you lawn doesn’t need attention anymore. This is the most important time to fertilize and water.