Do you ever find yourself walking the dog and becoming caught up by your neighbor’s lush, green yard only to be greeted by the crispy tips of your own sad lawn? Regular maintenance is an obvious part of achieving a healthy lawn, but there is more to it than regular mowings, waterings, and pest management. These tips will help you on your way to a healthy, hardy lawn.
Any amateur gardener knows that regular watering is an important part of keeping any plant alive and thriving. Yet, learning how and when to water your lawn is the first step toward a green lawn. It is better to give a few deeper waterings a week than to water a little every day as this will help deeper root development. Make sure to wet the soil 4-5” deep, and wait for the top inch or two to dry out before watering again. You also need to consider the type of soil in your yard as different soil types affect the drainage and retention. Soil that is more sand-based will drain much faster, whereas clay-based soil will retain water much longer.
Aerating is a significant part of the journey towards a healthy lawn as opening up little plugs allows the root system better access to oxygen, water, and nutrients. It also gives it more room for roots to develop and minimizes or reverses the effects of compressed soil. Many people opt to aerate in the spring. However, aerating in the fall, after the grass has seen its a spring and summer full of children’s games and family BBQs will tackle the compressed soil, and allow you to set up the lawn for a better start in the spring.
Keeping Things Clean and Tidy
One of the biggest contributing factors to yard pests is a messy lawn. When life gets busy it can be easy to leave that old, cracked flower pot sitting in its original spot, and spring cleanup can just be a huge task that gets put off week after week. These spots are perfect breeding grounds for unwanted pests. So, keeping your yard clean and organized will do more for your lawn than just keep things looking good.
The Science to Mowing
We’ve all seen those beautiful striped lawns that look as though they’ve been painted on. To achieve this look takes more than a strict mowing pattern. First, you need to develop a healthy system, blades, and roots. Regular cutting is a good place to start. Easy? Yes, but there’s more to it, and the lawn care professionals at www.lawnphix.com recommend that you do some research into the best practices for your geographic location. If you live in a place with a cool winter, mow twice a week in the spring and fall, keeping the blade lower for a 1-½” cut. Raise the blade in the summer so that you get 2”, keeping in mind a hot sun can cause the grass to go dormant so a cut once a week is reasonable. Other best practices include keeping your mower blade sharp and well cared for as ragged cuts lead to a dehydrated and nutrient-deficient lawn. Never cut the grass when it is wet as it increases the possibility of damage.
Leave the Grass Clippings
While it would seem a good idea to tidy up the grass clippings, especially considering the importance of keeping things clean to avoid pests, it can actually be very helpful to leave the clippings where they fall. While the lower part of the blade is more stalky the top ⅓ of the grass is usually leafy and can quickly decompose, which means that the nutrients are being fed back into the soil. Make sure not to cut the stalk as this can both expose the stem to the sun and shock the roots.
Critters That Aren’t A Bug
An obvious way to get your lawn in better shape is pest removal. However, not all visitors are bad for your grass. Insects like ladybugs, spiders, praying mantises, and certain beetles actually help to keep your yard free of more damaging pests. Encouraging the presence of helpful insects in your yard is an easy way to practice pest management. How do you get these little guys to come around more often? Opt for plants that they like to eat and to build their homes in. These often include native species.
Having a beautiful lawn isn’t difficult, and it doesn’t require ‘a green thumb.’ You just need to have a plan of action and some knowledge and understanding. With a few tweaks and changes, your lawn can be the envy of your neighbors.