SOURCE: TruGreen

April 26, 2010 08:00 ET

Healthy Home Turf

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - April 26, 2010) -  (Family Features) From a family celebration to an impromptu game of flag football, America's personal green spaces serve as a favorite spot to gather with family and friends. Passion for our lawns can extend to how we responsibly care for our cherished green spaces.

Healthy, Sustainable Lawns
"We know from extensive scientific research that healthy turf contributes to a healthier Earth," said Stephen M. Donly, president and chief operating officer, TruGreen. "As a part of our environmental stewardship, TruGreen is committed to making it easy for homeowners to achieve their lawns' full potential by delivering customized lawn care solutions that are effective, innovative and responsible."

To help homeowners grow healthier, more sustainable lawns, TruGreen suggests these 10 green space tips:

Tip 1: Plant the right type of grass for your lawn to ensure a green, healthy turf. Where your grass has difficulty growing, plant shade-adapted ground covers for landscape appeal.
Tip 2: Periodically test your soil for pH and basic nutrient content. Adjust your fertilizer needs accordingly to maximize your lawn's health and use of added nutrients and to allow new grass shoots to develop.
Tip 3: Ditch the lawn mower bag and recycle grass clippings back to the soil for added lawn nutrients.
Tip 4: Keep your lawn mower tuned, sharpen the mower blades twice a summer, and mow your lawn regularly, keeping the grass higher to prevent scalping and to save water.
Tip 5: Keep fertilizer applications on lawn target and off pavement. Sweep granules that fall onto pavement back onto the lawn.
Tip 6: Give your lawn a slow, steady watering only once a week, if water restrictions permit, using an empty, one-inch food can to measure the amount of water applied to the lawn.
Tip 7: Water your lawn early in the day and avoid windy days to prevent moisture loss from wind and evaporation.
Tip 8: Prevent grass clippings from entering storm drains by blowing clippings back onto your yard for added lawn nutrients.
Tip 9: Apply three inches of organic mulch to base of shrubs and trees to lessen need for string trimming, to conserve soil moisture, and to reduce weeds.
Tip 10: Read and follow all lawn care product instructions for proper usage.

These sustainable lawn care tips are examples of actions to assist homeowners in exhibiting environmental stewardship by adjusting individual lifestyles. Find out more at www.TruGreen.com.

When to Water
Watering is an important part of developing a healthy lawn. Rain should be the primary source of water. Here's how to know when you should turn on the sprinkler:

--Grass slowly loses its bright green color and starts to fade to yellow. Additional stress will cause it to turn tan, indicating drought dormancy. You may also notice wilting, which causes grass blades to roll or fold.
--If you walk across your lawn and your footprints remain in the grass, or lawn mower tracks remain visible, your lawn needs water.
--The experts at TruGreen say that the most accurate way to determine whether your lawn needs water is to use a screwdriver to probe the soil (through the turf) about four inches deep and feel the soil. Ideally, it should be moist, not powder dry, nor soggy and wet.

Mow High or Low?
Keeping grass at the right height helps to keep a lawn green and healthy. Mow regularly and adjust your mower height according to the type of grass you have:

Optimal mowing height in inches:

Hybrid Bermuda grass 0.5 to 1.0
Common Bermuda grass 1.0 to 1.5
St. Augustine grass, Bahia grass 3.0 to 3.5
Zoysia grass 1.0
Centipede grass 1.0 to 1.5
Rye grass, blue grass, fine fescue 2.5 to 3.0
Tall fescues 2.5 to 3.0
Get more lawn care tips at www.TruGreen.com.

Customized Green Spaces
To celebrate giving homeowners the freedom to customize their lawns, TruGreen is partnering with home improvement retailer Lowe's to offer The TruGreen Ultimate Backyard Makeover with a grand prize of a $30,000 Lowe's gift card.

In addition, 50 first prize $1,000 Lowe's gift cards and 35 weekly prize $500 Lowe's gift cards will be awarded. The sweepstakes is open to legal U.S. residents 18 years or older. Go to www.TruGreen.com/sweepstakes now through October 15 to enter and to obtain official sweepstakes rules.

Entrants can also participate by printing their name, complete address, daytime and evening phone numbers, age, and email address on a 3 x 5-inch card and mail it to: TRUGREEN "ULTIMATE BACKYARD MAKEOVER" SWEEPSTAKES, P.O. Box 511425, New Berlin, WI 53151. No purchase is necessary to enter or to win.

Kirk Hurto, Ph.D., vice president of technical services, TruGreen, helps demonstrate sustainable lawn care tips.