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How to Have a Lawn Your Neighbors Will Envy in Iowa

Those of us in the Hawkeye state know that “Iowa nice” is a real thing, but when it comes to growing a lush and luxurious lawn, the competition becomes fierce. Given Iowa’s track record of dynamic and ever-changing weather, our state covers a lot of ground. After all, it wasn’t long ago in our state’s history that much of the state was covered in prairie grasses. We can rest assured that grass grows well locally, and if you follow these tips, you’re sure to have a beautiful lawn throughout the entire growing season.

Start With the Right Seed Mix

To have the finest lawn in the neighborhood, you want to start with the right seed mix. You can review the Iowa State Extension information sheet to confirm which USDA growing zone your town or county lies in. Although Iowa extends from zone 4 through zone 6, most of the state is in zone 5. The northern cities of Mason City and Cedar Falls-Waterloo are in zone 5A. If you reside in the eastern Iowa cities of Quad Cities, including Bettendorf and Davenport, IA, or in the Eastern Iowa corridor of Cedar Rapids-Iowa, then you are in zone 5B. The central Iowa cities of Ames and metropolitan Des Moines, including West Des Moines, Johnston, Clive, Urbandale and Ankeny, are in zone 5B. The Council Bluffs, IA-Omaha, NE metro area is also in zone 5B.

What Does That Mean for Your Choice in Grass Seeds?

That means you should consider a mix of cool-season grasses like bluegrass and perennial ryegrass if your property gets a large amount of sun. If you have areas with full or partial shade, you may consider using fine fescue or tall fescue in the shady areas.

Get Off to a Good Start

To prepare your lawn after a long winter, be sure to rake to remove the thatch and dead leaves. After raking, you want to aerate the soil. Removing the old layer of decaying grass followed by aeration allows more air, water, and nutrients to be absorbed into the ground, resulting in a higher quality, denser and thicker lawn.

Once you have prepped your soil, spread your seed mix and soak the ground with water. You want to be generous with the water, soaking the soil so that it’s moist down to approximately 2 inches of depth. After you have laid your seed mix, be sure to add a high-quality nitrogen-based fertilizer.

Patience is Key to a Beautiful Green Lawn

Be patient and give your newly overseeded lawn the opportunity to establish a strong root system. It may be tempting to do your first lawn mowing of the season as soon as you see the grass begin to grow in patches. However, if you can be patient, your lawn’s appearance will be improved in the long run.

The top lawn care professionals advise that you wait until your grass is approximately 2 ½ to 3 inches in length before you do your first lawn mowing of the season. Throughout the season, professionals advise that you should never cut more than 1/3 of the grass height in any given mowing session. This will help prevent your lawn from getting too dry and turning brown.

Consider A Team of Lawn Care Professionals

Having a beautiful lawn from the first buds of spring into the frosty days of fall is sure to pay dividends to you and your family. We understand it takes a great deal of time, energy and labor. You may consider hiring a team of lawn care professionals to assist you with the hard work of maintaining an award-winning lawn. Let the professionals help you with the hard work so you can enjoy the beauty of your backyard oasis.


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