When it comes to the old adage “the grass is always greener on the other side” it is always better to be the one whose grass is on the other side. Green, lush lawns are great to look at and even better to enjoy for cookouts, parties, games, and other summer activities. By following a few basic guidelines outlined below, that each build on the other, you can be on your way to the green grass on the other side.
What makes your grass look good above ground is dependent on what happens in the soil below ground. So, the foundation of a great lawn starts with knowing your current soil conditions, and a good soil test will reveal the specific nutrients your soil needs. Based on the testing results you can then tailor your fertilization and amendment program to give the soil what it can use without guesswork or wasted product. If you are looking for a good testing option, lawnserv.com offers a great test for all new and existing customers.
Just like the human body, your lawn needs food to be healthy and strong. Regular fertilization, in the correct amounts and nutrient makeup for a given time of year, provide your grass the food it needs when it needs it. In order to avoid wasting your time, and fertilizer, it is important to be on a program that is tailored to your lawns specific needs. Also, consider using a mulching blade on your mower to return clippings back to the ground and into nutrients that benefit the soil.
Because weeds compete with grass for sunlight, water, and nutrients, the best weed control is a thick healthy lawn. Early spring is a good time to kill potential weeds with a quality Pre-Emergent herbicide. If you are noticing weeds have already established a foothold in your lawn, there are both blanket post emergent and spot treatment options available. You can even tackle weeds by hand, if they are not to overwhelming. A good trick is to pull weeds after a rainfall or watering, when the soil is looser.
Proper mowing is an often overlooked part of an overall lawn care plan. Set your mower height so you don’t remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade, otherwise you risk stressing the lawn. Ideally grass should be kept at a length of 3-3.5” for the season. This height lets the grass block weed seeds, shades the soil, and reduces evaporation. Also, keeping your mower blades sharp will ensure the grass is cut by shearing rather than tearing. A torn end will usually turn brown after a few days and become more susceptible to pests and diseases.
Once you have your soil tested, fertilized, controlled for weeds, and the mowing is dialed in, following good watering practices will keep you on track for the thicker green lawn desired. Germinating grass seeds need consistent moisture and should not be allowed to dry out. For established lawns it is generally accepted grass needs about 1” of water per week, either from nature or irrigation. Less frequent watering, but in higher doses (to reach the one inch goal) has been proven to encourage deep root growth and an overall stronger more resilient lawn. Investing is a rain gauge or an electronic soil tester is also a helpful way to keep track of moisture levels.
By following the plan outlined above, your lawn will look great for the entire growing season, despite the parties, barefoot traffic, and other summer fun it endures. If you are looking for some more comprehensive help with several of the steps above, check out lawnserv.com for a DIY lawn service that takes the guesswork out of lawn care and delivers it to your door.