Short Answers to Readers’ Lawn and Landscape Questions

By Allyn Paul, filed under Lawn Tips.

Following are some simple answers to the most common lawn and landscape questions I get during the early Spring.


Question: How soon can I mow my lawn after winter?

saucer magnolia flowersAnswer: When the magnolia trees begin to bloom, that is a sign that you can go ahead and mow your lawn. Magnolia’s are one of the earlier flowering trees and are a sign that the upper soil temperatures are climbing, meaning your grass is also beginning to wake up. When the magnolia bloom, cut your grass for the first time. I’d also recommend you read about proper mowing techniques and small lawn mower buying guide.

Question: How do I fix salt and ice melt damage to shrubs or lawn?

Answer: If the rest of your lawn is not greening up yet (I’m writing this in late February), you can’t tell if it is actually damaged or just dormant. But we’ll assume that by mid-April you are seeing the rest of the lawn green up but not the parkway. The best thing to do is aerate the area (do the whole lawn while you’re at it) and overseed with a¬†quality blended seed and finally, put down starter fertilizer (20-20-10). You may also consider performing a soil test to see if the salt has caused the lawn to go “sour.”

Long story short, grass is very resilient and with a little care and patience, will probably recover on it’s own.

If your evergreen shrubs are burnt, you simply need to prune off the dead twigs. Cut each damaged branch off a half inch below the dead spot. Don’t use gas or electric shears as they are not accurate. You need to prune the dead off by hand, methodically.

Question: How do I grow grass underneath evergreen trees or bushes?

Answer: You cannot! The soil beneath evergreen trees is too acidic from the tree’s¬†dropped needles. You will never get thick turf to grow in acidic soil. You should consider treating the lawn with lime after doing a soil test. (soil testing is NOT difficult, so suck it up and do it!)

Question: I have a large area of my back yard that retains water and does not drain well; what can I do?

river birch trees, beautiful!Answer: You can have a professional landscaper re-grade the area, or install a French drain, but actually, the easiest thing to do is plant either a river birch tree or a willow tree directly in the puddling area. Plant two or three while you’re at it! These trees suck up water like sponges!

If you have a lawn or landscape question, feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to get you some answers!

This has been another DIY Lawn Tip brought to you by Life and Lawns, tell a friend!


Wondering "what to" put on your lawn and "when to" put it down? Get my $7 Step By Step ebook and learn it! I am really proud of the results my readers are getting using this easy to follow lawn treatment schedule.

Lawn Care Step By Step Buy Now

Lawn Care Step

You can start at ANY time during the year... I wrote the book so it is easy to get into lawn care no matter what time it is... Just start NOW! Lawn Care, Step By Step

8 Responses to “Short Answers to Readers’ Lawn and Landscape Questions”

  1. Matt Mitchell Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Excellent advice. I’ve got a low place in my front yard that might like to have a little birch or willow grove sucking it dry.

  2. zoe defils Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    I can’t enjoy my backyard because of standing water everywhere. This is winter time…when it thaws water just doesn’t soak in ground it’s standing…during the rainy season the grass as well as the patio area is completely soaked. Please advise me on what I can do to get rid of this problem and finally enjoy my yard. This problem is driving me crazy!

  3. Matt Mitchell Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Just letting you know, I planted three weeping willows last weekend in my low spot based on your recommendation. River birch would have been nice, but I love weeping willows. In my front yard I’ve got room to spare, too. It slopes down from the house about a hundred yards to the low place, and then back up another fifty yards. So maybe in a few years those willows will grow nice and full. L8r.

  4. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    I like willows too, Matt.
    I have a nice sized one in my back yard.
    Let me know how they do!

  5. Susan Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Why not create a rain garden?
    A rain garden is specifically designed for wet areas. Some of the trees mentioned above can be used, but there are other plants that can be also added for a nice design.

    The soil of the area should be prepared well. For example, clay soil does not absorb water well. If your soil is clay, you should amend it.

    By creating a nice design with wet site tolerant plants, you not only solve your problem, but also now have a lovely garden area.

    This method is also a lot less expensive than re-grading or working with drainage pipes.

  6. Pacific Outdoor Living Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    turf is great for saving time, water, and MONEY!

  7. ervin Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    I have put down scott’s plus two weed and feed in the fall of october 2008.In the spring of March 2009 I put down Milorganite. Has of this date 6/4/09 I have weeds all in my lawn. Please tell me the solution for getting rid of the weeds I have in my lawn. Thank You

  8. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Hi Ervin,
    did you get my book yet? It’s only $7 !
    anyway, you need to spray the weeds with liquid weed control. There is no weed prevention, only control of them once they appear.

Leave a Reply