If you don't have a soil moisture probe, some simple guidelines can help you decide when to water. Water when grass changes from a green to a grayish blue color, when grass leaves begin to roll, when the grass stays down after being walked on, or when you can't easily push a screwdriver down into the soil a half foot or so. Apply 1/4 in. of water and then check to see if the soil is wet down to 6 in. If it isn't, make another application just so the soil is moist, but not wet or sticky.
When winter is over and it's finally nice enough to venture out into your yard, the first thing you should do to ensure that your lawn will have a good head start for the growing season ahead is to clean up all the debris that built up over the last few months. A power blower will help you remove leaves, sticks and other materials.
Always buy "certified seed". This is identified by a blue tag saying certified. By spending a few extra cents up front, you will save many hundreds of dollars along with the added aggravation of controlling unwanted weeds later. Choose the right grass seed, sod or sprigs for your situation.
If the sewer line or drain line for a home you are buying crosses another property, make sure there is a recorded easement that will permit access to maintain or repair it. Without an easement, you would have to hope for your neighbor's cooperation, but you would not be able to count on it.
The most efficient decomposing bacteria thrive in temperatures between 110F and 160F. Thus, the hotter the pile, the faster the composting. If you achieve a good balance of carbon and nitrogen, provide lots of surface area within a large volume of material, and maintain adequate moisture and aeration, the temperature will rise over several days.
Before placing young plants in the garden they should be hardened off. Plants taken directly from the house to the garden almost always scorch from exposure to direct sunlight and wind. Scorched plants turn white or brown. Plants not killed will certainly be set back. Harden off seedlings by placing them outdoors for several hours on mild days. Select a shady, sheltered area at first. After several days provide some sun in gradually increasing amounts. Plants may be left outside at if temperatures are mild. Begin this process at least two weeks before the plants are to be set out in the garden.
Using more fertilizer or pesticide than the label calls for wastes the product and doesn't help the lawn. The extra fertilizer or pesticide will probably wash away into a storm drain and out to a nearby wetland, stream, or pond where it can harm aquatic plants and animals.
If you want an instant lawn, sod's the only way to go. First, prepare your soil with lime and fertilizer, just as you would for a seeded lawn. Lay the strips of sod in a staggered pattern so that the joints overlap. Make sure the seams are tight so that when the roots knit, the seams will be invisible. Make sure you roll it all out in one day. Even overnight, rolled sod will burn yellow. Keep your new lawn well watered for several weeks until new roots have penetrated the soil.
Make sure you wear proper safety gear and make three simple cuts. Make your first cut at a slight angle, no more than two-thirds into the tree. Make a second cut to form a wedge. Then make a final cut on the opposite side, cutting into the wedge from above. Cut carefully, watch for the wind, and the tree will fall safely away from you.
Wait until the ground has begun to freeze before mulching bulb beds. Mulching earlier will encourage bulb-munching rodents like mice and voles to nest there. A 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch will help prevent freeze-thaw cycles that can heave bulbs out of the ground; however, mulching is not absolutely necessary except in coldest areas.