April is Lawn and Garden Month, time to get out there and get the lawn back into shape.  I just heard an ad from one of our local hardware stores that said it's time to get the fertilizer on the lawn. Every year I have to resist the urge to fertilize in February, those two or three good days we have with sunshine and clear skies that start to make you think about spring!  I think its safe now to fertilize the lawn and clear out the dead old growth from the flower beds.

My husband never wants me to fertilize, because he'll have to mow that much sooner, so I sneak out there when he's at work!  We have just a couple of flower beds at our house with mostly perennial flowers, lots of tulips, irises and other bulb plants that don't take much care.

With growing children, it seems I never have enough time to get the lawn work done and I'd rather be at a track meet anyway!

As we move into Lawn and Garden Month - I thought it might be a good time to go over some basics, so I turned to the experts at American Lawns for their basic tips to lawn care, here's what they had to say about the best way to get started this month:

Clean the lawn. Before beginning regular lawn maintenance in the spring, rake up accumulated leaves. Remove fallen leaves as soon as possible in the fall. Look for other forms of debris, and remove from the area. Accumulated debris on the lawn whether it's from tree leaves or other items, block the sunlight and will cause the grass to fail.

Because grass grows best when it is regularly cut (grass is one of the few plants in the world that actually thrive from being cut) mowing the lawn should be looked at carefully. Ideally, lawns should be somewhat level for ideal mowing. That doesn't mean you have to live on a completely flat property, it does mean that your lawn should be as even as possible to avoid having the mower jump up and down as you push it. This up and down motion often results in scalping the lawn which causes many problems for the health of the grass. If your yard has high or low spots in the lawn try doing the following:

Fill holes with topsoil and over-seed with a similar grass as what is already growing in your lawn.

Only grow grasses suited for your climate. Whether you are repairing a bare spot, seeding a new lawn or reseeding an existing one, grow the right kind of grass for your growing zone. Follow the fertilizing and irrigation schedule that applies to your turfgrass variety and follow a regularly scheduled maintenance program.

Remove bumps by cutting an X in the raised area with a shovel. Carefully peel back the sod and remove as much soil as necessary. Place the sod back in place and water.

Inspect for damage regularly

Inspect for disease, insects and weeds on a regular basis. Mowing is a great time to keep an eye out for these problems. Learn to recognize and treat problems quickly and appropriately before they become big problems.