Cranky’s Lawn Care: An Idiot’s Guide, Chapter 1: Clean & Green

When I decided to create this blog, for some reason working “lawn” into the title seemed to be a natural choice.  I take much pride, a few compliments, and much abuse for my Obsessive-Compulsive lawn tendencies.  Many a friend and neighbor, upon marveling at the fluffy greenness of my 1/4 acre “spread” say to me, “Mike, what do I need to do to get my lawn looking so incredible?!?”  But after listening to me yammering on and on about fertilizers, aerating, mowing, dethatching, edging, raking, etc., they usually pick up the phone and call a landscaper.    

So, in keeping with my nature, I will blog a bit about lawn care.  But as to not overwhelm the uninitiated; scare off the slackers; or offend the laissez faire “What lawn?!?” set, I will present my completely untrained, common sensical approach in a series of posts as I go about performing my own lawn care activities!

So without further ado …

 Clean & Green: (Yes, I am well aware this is backward from the blog title subtext of Green & Clean, Venting My Spleen; but you cannot get “green” unless you “clean” first!)

I love Spring.  I hate Spring.  I love the warming weather.  I hate the Winter cleanup.  It’s a love-hate Spring thing.

But cleanup is the first task we face when it comes time to prepare the lawn for the approaching growing season.  I despise the annual spring lawn clean-up.  I’m a minimal effort for maximum effect kind of guy. It’s my personal house & home mantra.  

I like a nice green lawn; but I hate the first step in getting there … Cleaning up the debris left over from Winter.  I consider this a necessary evil, from the minimal effort/maximum effect point of view.  There is nothing minimal about this effort.  And I absolutely hate to rake.

It’s important to get up all of Winter’s debris – mostly in the form of dead leaves – off the lawn.  Leaves tend to accumulate anywhere the lawn or soil is depressed (physically, not emotionally).  It’s important to give your lawn every opportunity to awaken from its slumber, and reach its tiny, groggy awakening blades towards the warming sun and nourishing spring rains.

Yeah, I know … That was a bit weird.

But dead leaves will suffocate existing grass, and will prevent new growth from developing under those wet, spongy remnants from last fall. 

I recommend using a good mower with a bagging attachment to keep raking to an absolute minimum.  (I hate to rake.)  Given that however, you simply can’t avoid doing SOME raking if you intend to properly clean it up.  To make it easier to handle, I suggest mowing in small sections; raking up whatever debris the mower misses; then picking up the dead rakings with the mower.  (Did I mention that I hate to rake?)

In the end, you’ll have the cleanest lawn in the ‘hood, and one that will be ready to take full advantage of the growing cycle.  And if you’re lucky, no more raking until Fall!

Next episode:  Aerating

4 thoughts on “Cranky’s Lawn Care: An Idiot’s Guide, Chapter 1: Clean & Green

  1. I appreciate that finally I got some lawn advice on this blog. It is rewarding to think that some of my blog comments could have helped to open to the public free access to the deep lawn-whisperer knowledge of the Cranky Man.

    Some believe aeration is not something necessarily needed annually unless heavy objects regularly travel on the lawn. Don’t think I ever aerated, the aeration process is also a bane to amateur golfers We are lucky and do not have the leave problem to deal with. I am seriously thinking of power thatching the lawn in July annually since the lawn gets a bit brownish in the summer. I am embarrassed to admit that I applied Scotts fertilizer with Halts yesterday and did not confer with Cranky Man first, I hope my lawn is not doomed due to my recklessness.

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