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Secrets from the pros for a lush, eco-friendly lawn and landscape

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(ARA) - Want a thick, green eco-friendly lawn and eye-catching landscape filled with beautiful trees, shrubs and flowerbeds?

It's really a lot easier than you think. Just follow these helpful lawn and garden tips from turf experts and you can grow a healthier green lawn full of abundant plants that are the envy of the neighborhood.

1. Take a test. According to Dr. Tom Samples, Ph.D., turfgrass extension specialist at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, "a pH of 6.5 is considered ideal for turf grass."

Since the pH level of your soil can determine the types of trees, shrubs and plants that will do well in your yard, he recommends that you buy a soil tester from your local retail store or garden center and find out the pH level of your soil and then adjust accordingly.

2. Take a walk and pull. Spotty patches and weeds are, literally, easy to spot. To avoid using harmful chemicals, pull existing weeds. Before you start, soak the soil in the area of the garden you'll be weeding to ensure that all the roots come out to reduce re-growth. And use a claw tool cultivator to make it easy to get at stubborn runners.

3. Lose the spots. If your lawn is blotchy with ugly yellow burn spots where your dog does his business or from winter de-icers, don't tear up the grass and reseed. Instead, the pros use organic SpotGone! from NatraTurf to turn burned-looking patches and high traffic areas into lush green grass again.

The organic, easy-to-sprinkle pellets are chemical free and OMRI-listed by Organic Materials Review Institute and complement any lawn care system, have no foreign grass seed and are safe to use around kids and pets. Just shake on affected spots any time of the year and your lawn will grow back uniformly.

4. Go au natural and reduce water use. A natural soil amendment like gypsum saves water and helps reduce your need for chemical fertilizers. Gypsum-treated soils retain moisture over a longer period of time and decrease evaporation on top of the soil. This reduces water run-off, letting you water your grass and plants less frequently. Plus it's an excellent source of calcium - a necessary plant nutrient - and removes harmful salts from your soil.

"Calcium bonds to the cell walls and improves cell strength," says Samples. "Gypsum supplies additional calcium and sulfur to lawns and plants without changing the pH level and is essential for plant growth."

Look for a high quality pelletized gypsum product like OMRI-listed HydroSave Residential from NatraTurf. It reduces "soil crusting" and loosens soil, making it more porous and a better home for earthworms, nature's aerators.

The pay-off is your grass and plants will develop stronger, more vigorous roots for a thicker, greener lawn, more robust flowers and even tastier vegetables.

5. Just a little off the top. Remember to use an energy efficient mower when you cut your grass and keep your grass at two to three inches high. Keep your mower blades sharpened for less damage to your grass.

With these quick tips your lawn and landscape will look like you left it in the hands of pros. But only you'll be the wiser. For more information visit www.natraturf.com.