Raking: It’s exfoliation for your lawn!

Did you take advantage of the beautiful day we had last Sunday? I sure did – and I’ve got the blister on my thumb to prove it.

I sectioned off my backyard (it’s a double lot), got out my rakes and got busy raking. I remember my mom spending a lot of time in the early spring but I never really thought about why until recently.  On WZZM TV 13’s Green Thumb segment a couple weeks ago, Rick talked about raking to help clean up as well as wake up your lawn. Raking allows more air and sun to get to the crown of the plant.

That makes perfect sense to me. Think about it. There are tons of commercials on the air touting the benefits of exfoliating your skin to remove old skin cells, impurities, blah-blah. And some of them actually work. Raking is kind of like your lawn’s equivalent to exfoliating. It picks twigs and unburied litter, leaves and grass clippings that did decompose over the winter, roughs up the soil a little. It certainly can’t hurt – plus it’s great exercise.

A few things I would give the “heads up” on if you rake now. The section of the yard I raked looks a bit “browner” than the rest of the yard. The same thing happened in the front yard when I raked last week. Not to worry, though. The raking pulled up the blades that got matted down by leaves, snow and good old time. With a little sun, some warmer temps (to heat the ground), some rain and even some gypsum pellets (it provides better nutrient uptake especially nitrogen), it will green back up.

Another thing is gloves – wear them if you have a big area to rake and/or your hands sweat. I can show you my dried up blister if you don’t see the value. I raked for about an hour sans gloves and ended up with a nice blister right where the rake handle hit my thumb. I pulled out my old, ripped up gloves for the remainder of my raking. They helped but I definitely need new ones. Fortunately, Flowerland has some really cute, colorful ones and I have a lot more lawn to rake.

Finally, if you haven’t put your crab grass killer down, I’d rake first. You don’t have to but it makes more sense in my mind.  The crab grass killer can get closer to the soil so when you water it, it can sink in better. On a related note, be sure you put your crab grass killer either right before it rains or right before you plan to water. Otherwise, it loses its effectiveness to create that preventive barrier the longer it sits on top of the soil.

I’m looking forward to a nice, soft green lawn I can run my toes through like my mom’s lawn when I was growing up.  Let me know what you are doing to get your lawn ready for a great spring and summer.

Talk to you soon!

~Mary Gold

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