With Daylight Savings Time upon us and spring nearly officially here, many of us are getting spring fever and looking to put in a garden or green up our lawns. If lawn care isn’t your specialty or you’re fascinated by the gorgeous patterns seen on MLB ballparks across the country and would love to learn how to do that to your own lawn, you’re in luck! Boston Red Sox groundskeeper and author, David Mellor joined me recently to share tips on how to get a great looking lawn, the secret to picking the perfect mower, and how to create the beautiful patterns he specializes in at Fenway Park.
Candace Rose: As the groundskeeper for the Boston Red Sox, what’s the first thing we should do to get a great looking lawn?
David Mellor: “Well, now is a great time to check out your equipment, change the oil and make sure you sharpen the mower blades. In fact, get an extra set so you can change them out after the first month of mowing so you get a nice clean cut.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any watering and fertilizing tips?
David Mellor: “Absolutely. Water is going to be important but you want to make sure you’re not wasting it. So the important time of day to water is between 2 AM and 6 AM so you’re not getting evaporation from the wind or sun at that time of day.
And fertilizing, you want to use it smartly and make sure you follow the instructions. It’s important to feed your lawn, so it’s healthy and strong for the upcoming year. But don’t think a little bit is good, but a lot must be better and waste it.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any advice for those whose lawns have been overtaken by crabgrass and bermudagrass?
David Mellor: “Well, now is a great time to put down a pre-emergent when the forsythia is starting to bloom to help you battle that this season. There certainly are chemical products that you can use that you could get out there with. I encourage you to follow the instructions on those or manually remove them.”
Candace Rose: Lawns grow so fast in the spring; do you have any tips on mowing?
David Mellor: “Certainly it’s important to follow the one third rule so you’re never removing more than one third of the grass at a time It’s not like you’re bailing hay out there which then actually stresses the grass, so you may actually end up mowing twice a week in the spring when it’s actively growing.”
Candace Rose: Are there any mowers out there that you recommend?
David Mellor: “I do. I highly recommend Simplicity mowers. They have many great features, one of which is a Free Floating deck that’s hooked up underneath the driver’s seat, but the back of the deck has full width rollers that follow the contour of the grass so you’re never scalping. Those rollers also enhance the striping patterns so you can either do a traditional checkerboard pattern or something festive and really add to that curbside appeal just like you see at ballparks.”
Candace Rose: What do these mowers offer that others don’t?
David Mellor: “Well, on three of the mowers this year they offer a new suspension comfort system that really takes 25% of the vibration and bounce of the feel for the operator which makes it much smoother. And it just has a great quality cut and I highly recommend them.”
Candace Rose: You make beautiful patterns on the field at Fenway Park. How is that done?
David Mellor: “Well, a light stripe is mowed away from you, and a dark stripe is mowed towards you, and the rollers that are on the back of the Simplicity deck really enhance bending that grass blade so that when the light reflects off of it, it really makes it show up. There’s tips on SimplicityMFG.com, as well as in my books “Picture Perfect” and “The Lawn Bible.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
David Mellor: “Well, I encourage people to have fun on their lawn. Create memories and really add to that curbside appeal, and check out Simplicity’s website when you have time.”