“Prepare your lawn now for a healthy, green lawn next spring.

When the heat breaks, it's time for a lawn maintenance plan

When fall rolls around, your lawn needs some tender-loving care to recover from summer damage.

Fertilizing your grass now will help add nutrients your lawn desperately needs before taking that long winter nap.

Before fertilizing, however, horticulturalist Mark Viette suggests performing a soil test so that you do not needlessly waste nutrients. It’s also important to know the size of your lawn to help determine the appropriate amount of products to apply.

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Apply fertilizer and lime in September or October, and use a slow-release fertilizer.

“If you have trouble spots in your lawn or it isn’t well-rooted, you may want to consider using a mineralizer every couple of years,” Viette said. “Mineralizers have 50 to 100 different minerals and nutrient complexes that can help some lawns.”

If your lawn isn’t filling in properly, consider aerating. Core aerating opens up the lawn and airs it out. You can then apply grass seed.

“You don’t have to have a perfect lawn,” said Viette. “A few weeds and clover are just fine, but a well-rooted lawn helps prevent erosion and run-off of sediment into streams and waterways.”

To patch missing or brown spots, over-seed little sections by loosening the surface with a rake and then tossing grass seed over the spot.

Viette suggests mowing grass to 3 or 4 inches to help prevent weed problems.

‘If your lawn isn’t filling in properly, consider aerating. Core aerating opens up the lawn and airs it out. You can then apply grass seed.’ (Click to Tweet)

Try this healthy spin on a broccoli and cheese side dish, which uses yogurt to combine its ingredients.

See Recipe

Looking for a healthy, easy side dish for dinner tonight? How about broccoli?

Broccoli is an excellet source of many nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C and folate. It's also high in vitamin K and is a good source of dietary fiber. And with only 34 calories in 3.5 ounces, broccoli also helps keep your weight in check.

Virginia Cooperative Extension offers the following broccoli quick tips.

  • Choose broccoli with dark green, compact clusters and firm stems.
  • Store broccoli in a perforated plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for up to seven days.
  • Wash thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking.
  • Steam broccoli by placing it in a covered microwave-safe container with a small amount of water, low-sodium seasonings and minced garlic. Cook on high for about 5 minutes, until tender-crisp.
  • Grate broccoli and use like you would cabbage.
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Plan ahead for potential hurricanes, severe storms

What would your family do in the event of a tornado, hurricane or flood?

Planning ahead and preparing for the possibility of a storm is necessary for survival.

When a storm hits, there isn’t time to discuss what to do or where to go. The American Red Cross recommends that every family have a disaster plan and survival kit readily available, and stay informed about storm activity. Discuss your plan with your family ahead of time and know where you are going and how your family will work together.

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Be sure to include the special needs of every family member and pets. And don’t forget that each person will need personal identification.

Other planning tips include keeping an inventory of all household items—whether by photograph, a written list or video; and keeping documents such as wills, mortgages and insurance papers in a safe place outside of the home.

During a storm, remember to stay in the lowest part of the house, such as a basement, if possible. Hallways and bathrooms without any windows also are recommended.