What should I be doing right now?

The answer to that question is "very little." Grand Forks County NDSU Extension Horticulturist Steve Sagaser says it's still too early to be doing much with your lawn. Light raking with a leaf rake is about all. Steve says even those hard steel garden rakes can damage the crown of the grass, which is right where it emerges from the ground. Sagaser says you can actually damage your lawn right now by walking on it. With the frost still coming out of the ground, footprints compact the soil and will make it hard for the grass to grow later!

This means you should definitely not be using one of those power rakes on your lawn right now. Sagaser says you should really wait until you have mowed your lawn three times before power raking. He also points out that you don't need to power rake every year. Every other is plenty fine. Typically, you only need to do that when you get about a 1/2 inch of thatch. Later this spring, I'll try to show you some examples of what that much thatch looks like.

Speaking of power raking. The best time to do it is in the Fall. Second best time is the Spring (but only after you've mowed three times). Never use one of those machines on your lawn in the summer!

We'll be starting our WDAZ News at Five reports on May 8. I plan to update the blog before then, so check back.

The Grass is Not Always Greener

Hello there and welcome to Milo’s Turf Tips. As you can see from looking at my bio, I’m a television newscaster in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I’m writing this blog because I’ve always wanted that perfect green lawn, but it pretty much always has evaded me. I’ve gotten lucky a couple of times in the decade or so that I’ve been a homeowner, but it was just that: luck. I just happened to put down some fertilizer right before a good rain and the weed killer was doing its job at the same time.

So I’m finally going to call in some experts to help me out and along the way I hope you’ll learn something too. I’ll be posting articles and videos as I follow their advice. One of my goals is to help fellow Grand Forks residents figure out the best way to grow grass in our short growing season here in the upper-upper Midwest. I assume some of our issues are unique to this area, but if you are checking in from somewhere else, maybe you can learn something too.

This site will be cross-promoted on WDAZ News at Five throughout the summer, but you’ll find extra content here on this blog. Check back for weekly updates and leave a comment if you like. If you have a question you’d like me to ask of my experts, you can email me at msmith@wdaz.com. Here’s hoping we all have the greenest grass ever by fall.