DES MOINES, Iowa — We’ve reached the end of No Mow Mau but for some of us, this was “lots of mow May!” This is the month for a beautiful lawn so we went looking for those who made the most of all 31 days — the folks who made their yards the talk of the neighborhood.

What we found was a whole new round of Lawn Stars.


“Keeping it simple,” says Brandt Payne of Altoona. “Millorganite, lawn height, keeping the blade sharpened.”

“The real key for me,” says Jim Nixson of Johnston, “is I’ve gone on YouTube and I’ve done a lot of research.”

He also uses a very fancy Allett reel mower from England to cut the grass to less than an inch in height.

“Working in it almost every day,” says Julie Fothergill of Urbandale. “Seriously.”

“Basically I fertilize every two weeks.”

Bill Scott of the Easter Laker area in Des Moines is dead serious.

“Yes. I spoon-feed fertilizer, every two weeks. With my backpack sprayer.”


“I’m a mulch guy,” says Payne.

“I bag,” counters Fothergill.

“Always bag,” Scott agrees. “Always pick up everything.”

“Mulch whenever I can but I will bag when I have to,” says Nixson, splitting the difference.


“I pull weeds,” says Fothergill.

“I will pull sometimes” Payne says, “and there are times you can see there when I get lazy and I just have like a spray bottle of some weed killer.”

IF I see a dandelion it gets pulled,” Scott smiles, standing on an utterly weedless lawn.

“I’ve found one weed in my yard over the last three weeks,” Nixson admits. “The grass is so thick I don’t need to put weed killer down anymore.”


“Every day,” says Fothergill, surrounded by roses, coral belles, and what must be 12 types of hostas. “Somebody’s either pulling weeds, or mowing, or feeding…everyday.”

“I’m usually mowing every two days or three days,” says Scott, who uses two different types of mowers.

“Five days a week,” says Nixson, though he admits each session is only about 30 minutes long.


“I do get self-conscious sometimes if I’m out too much mowing and other people are like ‘c’mon guy, give it a rest!’” Payne laughs. “But it’s something I enjoy and take some pride in.”

“I’m kind of a fanatic when it comes to my cars and the grass,” Scott laughs.

“People don’t tease us,” says Fothergill. “I guess they admire us when they stop and talk out front all the time.”

“I just love taking care of my yard,” Nixson says, summing it up for Lawn Stars one and all.

For Lawn Stars, the next best thing to May is June, so we’re gonna keep this going for a while longer. If you know of someone who has an exceptional lawn — and I’m talking something that looks like it belongs in Better Homes and Gardens magazine — I want to know where to find them.

Email me here at the station at and include an address, a name, and if possible, a picture or two. We want to pick their brains in another edition of Lawn Stars. Thanks!