Taking care of your lawn for the first time is a great feeling. It takes time and effort and you can get tangible results. If you are new to the yard game it can probably be a little much on figuring out where to start.
One way to lighten your load is to not try to take it all on at once while you are learning. Lawn Serv, our do-it-yourself lawn care subscription box can help take some of the highly effective and technical science pieces off your plate to start as you learn more.
To learn more about some of the yard basics follow along to these items:
- Getting to Know Your Soil
- Fix Any Problems
- Knowing Your Grass Type
- Feed Your Grasses Well
- Fight Lawn Weeds
- Mowing is More Than a Saturday Chore
- Water is Likely Needed
- Stick with It
1. GETTING TO KNOW YOUR SOIL
When it comes to lawn care, what happens with the grass reflects what’s going on in the dirt it grows. An easy place to start is by testing your soil. Your local agricultural school or county agriculture office will have information on test kits and reputable soil laboratories. This will help you understand imbalances of pH, organic matter, macronutrients and provide insight into how much nitrogen should be applied at what times of year.
At Lawn Serv we consider this a major data point to both the long term and short term planning of products needed to apply and can dramatically improve results with less waste and environmental impact. That is why we include a free soil test for everyone who signs up.
2. FIX ANY PROBLEMS
You can use the soil test results to make decisions on when and how much product to apply from pH to nitrogen. One of the most common soil problems is a too high or too low pH which can lead to an unhealthy grass growing environment but a lush weed growing ecosystem. Lime, as an example, reestablishes balance to soil pH so grasses can take up available nutrients more easily. If your family includes pets, you’re sure to have some pet damage. But don’t worry; healthy lawns with good soil and happy dogs can coexist.
At Lawn Serv we include products for weed control, pH balancing, bug control, and fertilizer in our subscription boxes. If you run into any lawn diseases or need grass seed we can get you that also and include those products into your lawn box plans!
3. KNOWING YOUR GRASS TYPE
Grasses suited to their growing region create the best lawns.
Grass types vary in their climate preferences and tolerances for drought, shade and other conditions. Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, peak in growth during cool temperatures in fall and spring. They flourish in northern zones. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermudagrass, excel in summer heat and warmer climates. Region-appropriate lawn grasses require less water and other resources, including maintenance time.
4. FEED YOUR GRASSES WELL
Lawn grasses need proper nutrition. Nitrogen is especially important to keep your lawn lush, vibrant and green. LEARN MORE ABOUT NPKs OF FERTILIZER HERE. Your soil test results will recommend how many pounds of nitrogen your lawn needs annually (usually per 1,000 square feet), based on its organic matter and other considerations. LEARN MORE ABOUT SOIL TESTING HERE.
The numbers on fertilizer labels reveal the percentages of actual nitrogen and other nutrients products contain, so you can match the product to your needs. Be careful, though: feeding too much or too often causes more harm than good. Establish a feeding schedule that meets your lawn’s fertilizer needs, or sign up for Lawn Serv and we will take care of the timing and delivery of the appropriate products based on soil testing.
5. FIGHT LAWN WEEDS
Even new lawns usually end up with weeds and weed seeds as they can travel many ways and from near and far. Weeds compete with grasses for nutrients, water and light.
One lawn weed can quickly turn to more and not all weeds are cured the same way. In short manually hand pulling mature weeds, followed by pre-emergent control to stop weed seeds from germinating, with post-emergent weed control for weeds that do germinate but are hard to hand pull is the triple threat. When moving in the right direction a full lush lawn that crowds out weeds is going to be your ongoing defense.
6. MOWING IS MORE THAN A SATURDAY CHORE
Keep a sharp mower blade, know your grass cut height and mow based on grass growth, not day of the week. Mowing heights vary according to grass type and the season. Some grasses, such as Bermudagrass, are best kept short, while other types need more height. Hot spells warrant higher mowing heights all around.
7. WATER IS LIKELY NEEDED
Water-conserving grasses help reduce water use and bills. Watering and other lawn maintenance can vary from month to month through your seasonal lawn care calendar, but you should always accommodate what’s happening in your lawn. If you are applying products to your yard such as fertilizer the plant will need water during times of drought to absorb those nutrients. LEARN MORE ABOUT WATERING HERE. Keep in mind though that grasses can go dormant naturally. This happens during heat in the north and cold in the south as example and does not mean your lawn is dead necessarily.
8. STICK WITH IT
If you are even going to start with caring for your lawn you need to learn to love it at least a little bit and have fun. There are ups and downs, never ending weeds, and gratification that come from the opportunity. You don’t have to win every weekend, you just have to stick with it and over time you will most definitely see the results.