If you didn't rake that first nice weekend in early March (and I know lots of you did), I hereby grant you permission to rake now.

Who am I to grant such a thing? Why, I'm the Greengirl who spends most of late winter and early spring begging you not to torture your vulnerable grass plants. I'm the Greengirl who tells about the evils of a lawn so badly damaged by premature raking that no amount of tender loving care (aerating, watering, fertilizing) can bring it back.

I'm the Greengirl who spends so much time and energy telling you NOT to rake that I forget to remind you TO rake.

So, YOU CAN RAKE.

You don't have to take my word for it. Take the word of Sam Bauer, a turfgrass expert with the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

Says Bauer: When the ground is firm (not squishy), when the grass is actively growing and mostly green, THEN you can rake.

But he's cautious, like me. He advises waiting to water the lawn. And waiting -- at least a week or two -- to fertilize.

He understands that good lawns come to those who wait.