A well-cared for lawn is an asset for a homeowner. Even a very nice home will look lackluster against a drab yard. Lush green grass is the canvas upon which you may base your landscaping creativity, but it requires a bit of preparation. In addition to improving curb appeal, a beautiful lawn adds value to your home and provides the foundation for any successful landscape design scheme. With the right outdoor power equipment and planning, your lawn will be a source of pride for years to come.
During the growing season, it is important to make sure your grass is mowed, fertilized, and watered regularly. Fall and winter offer a break from many upkeep tasks, but there are some important steps that you must take to ensure that your lawn will perform well in the spring.
Your lawn needs water, food, sunlight, and air, so take steps to ensure that it receives everything it needs. It is always a good idea to have your soil tested for its pH level, which will determine the type of fertilizer that will work best for your grass, as well as the best types of grass to grow. You may purchase a do-it-yourself tester or have a professional test it for you. Some universities and cooperative extensions also offer soil-testing services for a modest fee.
Everyone knows that you should apply fertilizer during the growing season, but fertilizing before the cold winter months is the most important feeding your lawn can receive. Although the grass will be dormant over the fall and winter months, an application of fertilizer encourages development of a strong root-system, optimizes the soil, and provides necessary nutrients that sustain the grass in winter months. Well-nourished grass will perform well when spring arrives. A slow-release fertilizer is best for the spring and summer months, but it is important to apply a final fast-release fertilizer on your lawn at the end of the growing season, before the grass becomes dormant. Depending on your region, this time may be as early as October and as late as November or December in the south. Fertilizer spreaders can normally be found at your local power equipment dealer.
Attack winter weeds by applying a pre-emergent herbicide such as corn gluten meal, which is available at most garden supply centers. Getting a jump on weed development ensure fewer weeds to pull come springtime. If your lawn has bare patches or appears sparse, now is the time to overseed. When seeding your lawn, it is helpful to aerate the soil to ensure that water, nutrients and beneficial microorganisms are available during seed development. You may rent an aerator or hire a professional to properly prepare the soil. It is important to keep the area well-watered to promote seed germination and growth.
To keep your grass healthy, you must keep it properly trimmed. Mowing regularly ensures fresh growth and the greenest grass. Although grass is dormant during the colder months, root development continues throughout the winter. At the end of the growing season, be sure to cut the grass to a minimum of 1.5 inches for most types of grass to keep the roots insulated during cold weather. Cutting the grass too short increases its need for fertilizer and water, and weakens the root system. Cold weather is stressful enough, so don’t forget this important step.
Falling temperatures are a harbinger for another important lawn care chore-removing fallen leaves. Remove the bulk of leaves for composting to make sure the grass isn’t smothered. Dethatch your lawn now if the thatch layer is greater than 1/2 inch. The last scattering of fall leaves may be shredded with a mower and left on the grass to decompose and serve as a protective covering and nutrient source for your lawn.
It goes without saying that during the hot summer months water is vital for the health of your lawn. It is just as important in the winter that the grass receives plenty of water. If there are long periods of winter drought, you should water the grass every 2 or 3 weeks when the ground is not frozen. Each watering should last about 15-20 minutes to ensure plenty of moisture for roots and crowns.
When the air begins to turn chilly and the cool winds begin to blow, don’t forget that your grass needs just a little bit of tender loving care to survive the winter unscathed. Properly fertilizing, watering, and mowing will promote the health of your lawn and lessen the chances of disease. Following the steps above will help ensure a lush lawn in the spring, with fewer weeds and less upkeep throughout the growing season. Improve the value and appearance of your home with a verdant lawn that you can be proud of. With a little bit of preparation, your yard will be the envy of the neighborhood.