A plush lawn will increase your curb appeal and be the envy of your neighbors. Fortunately, growing thick, beautiful grass does not require costly landscaping services. Follow these tips for maintaining a green lawn.
What's the pH of your lawn?
Test your soil's pH and determine if it's missing vital nutrients. Most local home improvement stores sell DIY kits, or you can take a sample to the nearest nursery for a professional opinion. You can begin to correct the issues with the correct fertilizer once you know the pH level.
TIP: For substantial acidity, add sulfur; to reduce it, add lime.
Have you seeded your lawn?
Get rid of bare or brown spots by seeding.
- Aerate your soil before spreading the seed evenly over the area
(by hand or via a seed spreader)
- Finish by covering the area with a light layer of soil
- Don't water too much, or you risk drowning the seed
Is your lawn properly fertilized?
Think of fertilizer as a vitamin for your grass. A healthy and active lawn requires nutrients that most soils cannot provide on their own.
- The first thing to think about is when to fertilize your lawn. The best times are at the end of summer and winter, because they are particularly harsh stretches of time on your lawn. Fertilizing in the fall will help build healthy roots for your lawn, and spring fertilization will help renew grass after winter. Fertilizing at both times makes for the healthiest possible lawn.
- Feed your lawn twice a year for ideal results. The key is to strike when your grass shows the most natural growth. Southern areas feature warm-season grasses which go dormant in winter months. They need fertilization in late spring with a second application in late summer. Cool-season grass appears in the Northeast and Midwest and should be fed a late spring treat and an early autumn snack.
- Of equal importance to when you fertilize is what fertilizer you use. There are many different types and brands out there. The two basic kinds are starter and slow-release formulas. The purpose of the former is to make new grass or sod thicker, while the latter helps to maintain older lawns by providing a consistent supply of nutrients.
- It's imperative to spread your fertilizer evenly, or you'll see grass burning/uneven greening. You can buy, rent or borrow a fertilizer spreader. Follow the instructions on the bag of fertilizer for mixing and pouring into the spreader. Push the spreader at an even pace and avoid over-fertilizing by only covering each area once.
Are you mowing and watering your lawn enough?
The more you fertilize, the more you have to mow. The length of your grass affects its health and appearance. Although leaving your lawn long seems counterproductive, mowing grass too short stunts growth and causes dry, yellow patches.
The same goes for watering. Balance is essential! Watering your grass too much drowns the roots; not watering enough leaves brown, dry grass. A thorough watering with the hose or sprinkler once a week should be sufficient for a beautiful lawn. However, if you have planted new seeds, water lightly once a day for about five to ten minutes.
- Weeds tend to crop in the places they're least wanted. A good weed killer will go a long way, but they've been known to kill the grass around them. Many times, the best method is digging them out. Just make sure you get the roots. If they roots are left intact, the weeds will grow back.
- If moss is growing in your yard, you can eradicate it with a moss killer. However, you should try to deal with the cause as well. Possible causes could include: water logging, poor fertilization, acidic soil and too much shade.
A well-fertilized and welll-maintained lawn will give you that lush green grass you want, making your home really pop!