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HGTV Answers Your Toughest Lawn-Care Questions

We asked readers what problems stood between them and the lawn of their dreams, and boy, did we get a lot of response! From ant hills to weeds, to standing water, your grass issues cover the gamut, and we've got solutions for all of them.

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Your Lawn Problems Solved

If the grass is greener next door, give your turf some TLC. Learn how to solve common lawn problems with easy, practical advice and you could be on your way to a toe-tickling lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood.

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney

The War On Weeds

Too many weeds and barely any grass. Since the whole yard used to be a garden before I bought it, it’s all uneven. Been trying to fix it up for my daughter, but it’s proving to be harder than I thought. —Sheila

Sheila, I’m not sure what kinds of weeds you’re dealing with, but when weeds outnumber grass, that’s usually a sign to start from scratch. First, eliminate the weeds with weed killer. Consider choosing one that doesn’t kill grass to avoid killing the lawn you have. Remove weeds after they’re dead, and level out the ground with a mix of equal parts topsoil and compost. Tamp that mix, water it, and add more as needed to get things level. Let that settle a day or two, and sow grass seed or sprigs. Check with a local garden center to get the best type of grass for your region. If your lawn is large, consider hiring a landscaper to help, or simply tackle the lawn in sections. It might take a few years, but you’ll have pretty grass before you know it. Time your planting efforts for when grass grows best—fall or spring for cool-season lawns, late spring for warm-season grasses.

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Photo: Shutterstock/Ondrej Prosicky

Mole Invasion

We have lost the battle with the moles. Tried castor oil, grub treatment, pellets. They keep coming back and are taking over the lawn making unsightly mounds. What can I do to get rid of them? — Doris

Doris, it sounds like you’re doing everything right. Grub treatments using a combination of milky spore and nematodes usually takes out the mole’s food source. With castor oil, you need to apply the products liberally and frequently to get the stinky odor into the subsoil. Make sure you’re using castor oil products designed to drive out moles (the type for human use isn’t smelly enough). There’s a new organic mole treatment available called MoleZap, which floods tunnels with carbon dioxide, effectively smothering the critters. Try pairing that with some nematode treatments, and you might just win the war — and send those moles packing.

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Photo: Julie Martens Forney

Crabby Over Crab Grass

Please settle the crab grass issue. Can the war be won or should I kill it off and re-sod my lawn? —Steve

Yes, Steve, you can defeat crabgrass — it just takes diligence. Start by committing to use a pre-emergent herbicide in spring. These are often sold as weed’n’feed products. The trick is timing — put it on your lawn when soil temps are in the 55-degree range. (Monitor soil temps online by searching for "local soil temperature." Several companies and the National Weather Service keep accurate data.) Follow the product instructions carefully. That application keeps seeds dispersed by last year's crab grass plants from germinating. Crab grass is an annual, so in fall, any existing plants die when frost occurs, leaving bare spots. Repair these spots by sowing grass seed (you may have to wait until early spring, depending on where you live). The best defense against crab grass, Steve, is a healthy lawn. Commit to feeding your turf regularly, as recommended by your local extension office. Also, don’t scalp your lawn. Mow it high, with your mower set at one of the two highest settings. If you have a crab grass infestation, it may take a few years, but you can turn your lawn around.

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