WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — “No Mow May” has hogged all the publicity, but May is also the month for really beautiful lawns. So let’s take things the other way and talk about those who really lean into the mower this month — the people who have those perfect lawns! Let’s rock out with the “Lawn Stars!”
WHAT’S YOUR SECRET?
“I get asked that a lot,” says Bill Mitton of West Des Moines, “and I tell about half of it but..I do keep half of it as a secret!”
“Aerate every year,” says Sam Brannan of Urbandale. “And I don’t bag the clippings. I let the grass grow long enough to go to seed, and then the seeds drop into the lawn.”
“Lots of work,” says Jack Arrasmith, also of West Des Moines. “Lots of water, lots of fertilizer, and lots of trips to Home Depot and Lowe’s.”
“Actually, I use the Scotts 4-Step program,” Mitton goes on to admit, “and also milorganite and ironite.”
SPRAY WEEDS OR PULL THEM?
“I’m a bit of both,” says Arrasmith.
“I don’t let them grow in the first place,” says Mitton. “Put pre-emergent down at the right time and I haven’t pulled any weeds.”
“You don’t see many dandelions!” Arrasmith laughs as he stands on a lawn that is utterly devoid of dandelions and all other weeds.
HOW MUCH WORK?
“We mow grass this time of year about every third day,” says Brannan, whose property features a tough mix of sun and dense shade.
“I spend 3-4 nights a week out in the yard doing various things,” Arrasmith admits.
“Right now it’s just whenever you can get out between the rainstorms,” says Mitton, whose edging is so straight and tall it seems cut with a laser.
ARE YOU OBSESSED?
“Yes,” says Mitton with no hesitation.
“It kind of makes me feel good to have a nice-looking yard,” Brannan shrugs.
“This is my pride and joy,” says Arrasmith, who has four dogs yet somehow a yard with zero yellow spots. “Like I tell my wife, Bridget, hers is her nails mine is the yard.”
“It is a hobby and I do enjoy it,” Mitton says, “and people say that I spend too much time at it, but it is what it is.”
Is there a Lawn Star in your neighborhood? Someone whose yard is so well manicured it looks like they use tweezers and nail file? I’d like to do another of these stories and uncover more secrets (so I can use them on my OWN lawn 😉 Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know where to find them. It would also help if you’d put in a good word for me with the Lawn Star! Thanks so much for your help.