A beautiful and luxurious lawn seems a work of magic but it couldn’t be farther from it in reality! A perfect lawn has a huge investment of sweat, effort, dedication and love. Understanding the ins-an-outs of lawn maintenance is a must for any homeowner.
How many times have you passed by a house with a beautiful turf and wondered how to get one for your own? Well, if you take proper care of your existing lawn, you might just get one!
The key to a great turf is maintenance, maintenance and some more maintenance! If you follow proper methods and take good care of your lawn, you can soon be the proud owner of a thick, green velvety turf.
The most common maintenance tasks involve mowing, watering, weed and pest control and fertilization. Let us take a closer look at the importance of each of these and take some pointers while we are at it.
Mowing is one of the most important parts of a lawn maintenance program. A proper mowing not only makes your yard look cleaner and visually appealing, it is also great for the grass itself. It increases the thickness of your lawn when done right. The length to with you should mow and the frequency will depend on the type of grass you have. Some grasses grow quicker while the others are a bit slow. Adjust your mowing schedule accordingly.
Always stick to the 1/3 rule: never remove more than 1/3 of the length at any one time. If your lawn is very healthy, it can sometimes survive a closer cut but repeated close cuts will cause a myriad of problems including stunting the growth and increasing the susceptibility to pests and weeds. Follow these general tips when you mow:
- Always mow the lawn when it is dry. If the blades of grass are wet, they will clump up on you making it difficult to mow and result in an uneven cut
- Always mow moving forward, whether you are using a hand mower to a powered one
- Leaving the clippings on the lawn can be a great idea. It is called grass re-cycling and can help return the nutrients back to the grass. Just make sure that the clippings don’t form clumps or rows
- Consider a mulching mower or adding an attachment to the existing one. Also, if you collect the clippings, consider composting them
Water is the most essential requirement of a lawn. Without proper watering, the lawn will suffer dearly. Extended period of dry weather with no rain can really parch the land and watering becomes an immediate need. Many people over water or under water their lawns. Here are some tips to help you do it just right.
- When to water is a very important question. As a rule of thumb, always water deeply but not too frequently. It is best to water your lawn between 6-10 am as there is less wind during the morning and your lawn has a full day ahead to dry. Watering during night is not a particularly great idea as it invites fungus and mildew. If you have to water at night, aim for 4-7 pm. That being said, in the dry conditions of the Southwest, this generalization does not hold good. In those regions, watering in the evening causes less evaporation which is good.
- It is important to make sure that you are watering enough. If you happen to use sprinklers, apply about 1/2 inch water about twice a week. One great tip I picked up from a veteran lawn expert was to use empty food cans to measure the amount of water sprinklers put out. That way you can estimate how long before you can switch the sprinklers off.
- In the present extra dry weather, it is sometimes wise to let the grass grow dormant. The new varieties of lawn grasses are extremely resilient to drought and they can easily survive a couple of months without water.
Weed free lawns are any home owners dream. Weeds are tenacious and persistent. If left unmanaged, they can completely engulf the lawn making it your worst nightmare. Thankfully, there is help, a lot of it. The market is filled with herbicides of many kinds from harsh chemicals ones to more gentler natural ones. Also there are many weeding techniques available to get rid of these pesky spawns of green menace. Here are some tips which might help you to not only wage a war against weeds, but to win it.
- A good plan is half the battle won. Remember that if you have a particularly weedy yard, no single herbicide or a weeding technique is going to get rid of all of them.
- Crowd them out. Weeds need some open space to grow. If you follow a good lawn care program and don’t let your lawn develop patches or bald spots, this problem will take care of itself.
- Don’t use too much fertilizers. Too little fertilizer may cause a space lawn which will provide opportunity for the weeds to grow. On the other hand, too much will nurture the weeds. So, striking a balance is important.
- Watering is also important in weed control. Frequent, shallow watering will cause grass to have shallow roots and help many weeds such as crabgrass and bluegrass to germinate. Water deeply and less frequently.
- Hand weeding is an excellent option if you have enough time and if there are not too many weeds in your yard. The best time to pull the weeds out is when they are young, before they flower and produce seeds. Try and pull them out when the soil is moist so that you can get them completely, any root piece left behind, may cause more weeds to germinate.
Pests in your lawn can be very frustrating. If you find moths flying up from the lawn when you mow or billbug are a common sightings on your driveway, its time to do some pest control of your yard. Some insects such as bees and butterflies actually benefit your lawns but others such as Grubs, make the grass sick.
There are a number of pests and insects that can invade your lawn. One of the easiest way to tackle them is using pesticides on the lawns. Here are some tips you might want to consider if you decide to use pesticides on your lawn.
- Buy quality pesticides and buy only as much as you need.
- Pesticides can be very dangerous and hence, proper care is a must when you are using them. Always make sure that you are using proper safety equipment.
- It is very important to follow the instructions on the packaging of the pesticides. It the package says it needs to be watered down, make sure you do it.
Fertilizers can be a boon to your lawn. Proper fertilization ensures that your grass will never starve out and have that lush green look. There are three major types of fertilizers that you can buy:
- Natural, organic fertilizers: Examples include compost, manures and agricultural by-products. These are the safest fertilizers that you can use but they are relatively low on nutrients. Thus, you will need to apply them more often than other chemical ones.
- Slow-release chemical fertilizers: These are more concentrated than the organic ones and have precise amounts of nutrients. They are designed to please the nutrients slowly over extended periods of time so that you don’t have to apply them very frequently.
- Fast release fertilizers: These are also chemical fertilizers but are designed to release the nutrients immediately after application. They are inexpensive and concentrated but you should be careful to not use too much.
Once you decide on what fertilizers to use, here are some tips to make the process easy and efficient:
- The best time to fertilize your lawn is in the fall for cold climate grasses and summer for warm climate grasses.
- Make sure to not over or under-fertilize. Read the package instructions carefully to determine how much fertilizers are needed for you lawn.
- Returning mulched clippings to your lawn also makes a great way to fertilize.
Something to take away
Proper maintenance and care of your lawn is imperative if you want a healthy, thick and lush green lawn. We hope that this article gave you an insight into lawn care and maintenance and will help you take better care of your lawn.