A healthy, well-maintained lawn is just one facet of an all-round landscape plan, but it’s an important one, contributing significantly to your enjoyment of your home, while enhancing your property value. If you choose to maintain your lawn yourself instead of hiring a lawn service, we have compiled these tips to help you keep yours in tiptop shape from season to season… and be the talk of your community.
1. Choosing the Right Variety
Where you live will determine the types of plants you can plant, including the grass for your lawn. Make sure whatever you choose is appropriate for your area. If you live in a region where dry or drought-like conditions are a concern, be sure to consider drought-tolerant grasses that need less moisture to maintain a healthy appearance.
Also, plant a grass variety that will tolerate your region’s temperatures, whether cold season, warm season, or a transitional variety.
Pay attention to the amount of sunlight that falls in your yard when choosing a grass type. For instance, a shady yard will have bald patches unless you plant a shade-tolerant type of grass.
2. Mow the Right Way
There’s a right way and a wrong way to mow your lawn. It’s critical not to cut the grass blades too short. Trimming the blades more than a third of their length will cause your grass to grow faster and, over time, turn a lawn brown and make the grass more vulnerable to pests, diseases, and invasive weeds. So if you prefer shorter grass, you’ll need to mow more frequently.
Some additional mowing tips to remember:
- Grass should be dry when you mow.
- Keep mower blades sharpened.
- Don’t mow during the hottest part of the day.
- Change your mowing pattern each time, as grass tends to lean in the direction you mow.
3. Water Wisely
It’s best to water the lawn early in the morning so the sun can dry it. Watering at night leaves the blades damp too long and may encourage diseases. Be sure to soak the grass so the moisture penetrates. Merely wetting the grass is a waste of water.
4. Fertilize With Care
Sure, lawns need nutrients to produce all that green grass month after month, but over-fertilizing can burn your lawn. The first step is to find the pH of your lawn. You can do this with a test kit, or by taking a sample to a professional who will do it for you. The soil test will decide which fertilizer is best for your lawn. Your goal should be to bring the soil as close to neutral (between pH 8.0 and 7.0) as possible, which helps grass get the greatest benefit from the fertilizer. Then, easy does it with the fertilizer application in the spring, but you can apply it more heavily in the fall. It’s always best to consult a professional if you aren’t sure.
5. Away With Weeds
Be sparing with herbicides and pesticides, or you risk harming beneficial species that can help you maintain a more healthy landscape. However, you may want to apply minimal applications of pre-emergent in the spring to deter weeds such as crabgrass. Whenever possible, pick broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions, by hand. Always follow directions for pesticides or herbicides, and be careful around kids and pets.
6. Fix Those Bald Patches
Reseed thin or bald spots: seed for warm-season grasses in late spring, and for cold-season grasses in the fall.
Lawn Care Service
Don’t maintain the lawn yourself? Discuss the tips above with your lawn care service, to ensure they’re utilizing these best practices when working on your property.