When I first started paying attention to my lawn, before I started working with clients, some of the recommended lawn care steps seemed mystical, to say the least.
It was after a lot of study and some trial and error that I started to understand why lawn care can be different from one yard to another.
Watering Your Lawn
Before sprinkling your lawn, examine the soil dampness with a trowel. The first 2-3 inches of dirt need to feel nearly dry before using any more water.
Always water young lawns and make sure to cover the whole area. It is best when nature and rain do their job, or if you have some sort of a water reclamation system that you can use. Some areas have laws for rainwater collection, so make sure to consult them. Lawn sprinklers are best for keeping yards hydrated, yet they utilize a lot of water, driving your bill up. Also, there are certain cities and suburbs that have watering restrictions in place. Don’t worry if a recognized lawn goes brownish, it does not mean that it is dead. It will simply change color and become more vibrant once more, when the rains come or after regular watering.
After watering, examine the soil. If the first 4-5 inches are not moist, proceed watering until they are. Grass root will certainly expand deeper and the grass will be healthier if you keep soil hydrated at that depth.
Watering in the early morning, generally between 4-9AM will prevent the water from evaporating too quickly or even from heating up too quickly and damaging the grass.
You should mow your lawn at least once per week in the summer season. You should increase the mowing to twice a week during spring and fall. Regular mowing encourages the grass roots to spread, creating a sturdier lawn and even partially preventing weed growth.
In the summer season, you should adjust your mower to leave the grass blades a little bit taller. You should keep your lawn mower well maintained, with sharp blades, so it does not rip into the lawn and keeps the cuts clean. You should perform maintenance if you notice ragged edges on freshly cut grass or even brownish edges.
Longer grass blades can help support and grow a stronger root system. Cutting the grass too short, also called “scalping the lawn,” encourages grass to spend more resources on re-growing the blades and not the roots. Scalping the grass additionally makes your grass more vulnerable to weeds. Taller grass blades keep the dirt cooler and prevent too much sunlight from reaching it, which makes it harder for weeds to grow. Tall grass, as long as it is clean and well maintained, also provides a softer, cushioned play and relaxation area.
As a rule of thumb, you should not remove more than 1/3 of the blade in one single mowing. The resulting grass cuttings can be used as a natural fertilizer, as long as they are small and they can decompose fast.
The very best time of day to mow a lawn remains in the early evening.
Trimming at the middle of day, when temperature levels are the highest, puts extra strain on both the mower and the yard. If you wait until the early evening, the lawn is generally completely dry (with the exception of rainy days), the sun is not as intense, and the lawn will certainly have adequate time to recoup before the following afternoon’s heat wave.
You should give sod a chance to grow stronger roots before mowing it, which means waiting a couple of weeks after installing it.
The dirt in your yard supplies a lot of the nutrients that your lawn needs, but not all of them and not for the whole season.
To provide the grass with all that the energy it needs for growing, you need to choose the correct type of fertilizer. The fertilizer should be labeled with all the necessary information, so choose one based on the following factors:
- Where you live
- Grass species
- The season when you intend to use it
Try to apply fertilizer to lawn when rain is expected. This way, the fertilizer will be carried to the soil by the water. This will prevent chemical burns to the blades. Whenever possible, choose organic fertilizer over chemical ones.
If there is no rain forecast, you should spray the fertilizer with a hose. It takes about a week to see the results, so keep an eye on it.
If you do not apply the synthetic, chemical fertilizer correctly, you might do more harm than good and ruin the topsoil composition. This is another reason why organic fertilizer is preferred as it releases the required grass food slower.
There are multiple types of grass and fertilizer application is different from species to species, based on the area where they are used and other factors:
- Cool-season grasses are best fertilized in the autumn (preferred) or spring (early-on)
- Warm season grass species are best fertilized in the spring, after they change color to a more vibrant green
For dry-climate lawns, a small increase in organic material in the top soil (such as five percent) increases its ability to retain water by 400%.
Seeding & Repair
Seeding is the most used method of planting grass and maintain your lawn’s lush appearance.
Before seeding, you should determine the grass species growing in your yard. If starting a new lawn, you should choose a grass type that is better suited for your region. You should also test the soil to ensure it has the necessary nutrients:
- Cool season grass is more prominent in the Midwest and they are best seeded from the middle of August to the middle of October
- Warm season grass species are best seeded between March and September
Native grass lawns are also an option, especially for decorative purposes, although we recommend using a seasoned landscaper, such as R & G Almanza Landscape to choose and install a native landscape.
After seeding a lawn, you should keep it well hydrated, by watering it more often until the new grass is about 1 inch in height. Make sure the soil is just lightly watered.
To repair bare areas, if you love to get a little bit more hands-on, you can grow your own bare patch fillers and then use a trowel to dig in and lay the turf.
Weeding Your Lawn
Chemical weedkillers should be avoided whenever possible as they are costly and do not necessarily help grass stay healthy
If you do choose to use weedkiller, it is best to use it when the weeds are just starting to grow. The lifecycle is different for different types of weeds: you should apply organic weedkiller (if possible) to crabgrass in the spring and dandelions in the autumn.
Try to prevent weeds from producing seeds and you have done at least half of the work.
Pull weeds after a rainfall or watering– it’s easier and also you are more probable to get the entire origin.