Summer is quickly approaching, and this year you're committed to growing a thick lush lawn. Maintaining your lawn in a way that promotes healthy green grass is not as difficult as you may think. However, it does require regular assessment and upkeep. Follow these guidelines to grow beautiful grass that will impress your neighbors and guests.
Grass develops an extensive network of deep roots which need deep watering. Water enough each week to keep those roots moist. As a general rule, if you don't know your soil type, water to a depth of three-fourths to one inch. However, focus on applying an appropriate quantity of water each time you turn on the sprinkler rather than focusing on frequency. Shallow waterings every few days only keep the surface moist, but do little to encourage healthy roots.
Rather than following a strict watering schedule, assess your type of soil and climate conditions. Most lawns need watering only about once a week. However, in dry hot climates, observe the grass to determine when it needs a drink. For example, if footprints remain in the grass and the leaves start to curl or appear brittle, it's time to water.
Also, some sprinklers may not reach every spot of your lawn. Assess dry areas and treat them accordingly.
If you have clay soil, give the lawn one inch of water. For loamy soil, reduce the water to three-fourths inch. Finally, sandy soils need one-half inch of water.
The best time for watering is the morning. The sprinkler will rinse off problematic disease spores trapped in morning dew, and the grass will dry in the sun, preventing fungus and other problems.
Set your automatic timed sprinkler to be completed by 9:00 am. Adjust your watering if you live in a rainy climate. Avoid letting puddles of standing water form and check for muddy areas.
Healthy grass requires moist well-aerated soil. Compacted clay soil is too thick, preventing air and beneficial insects from getting to the roots. Conduct a soil analysis to determine the pH and other nutrient deficiencies. Consult a lawn expert for recommendations, and remedy soil accordingly.
Break up thick soil with an aerator. Rent one from a garden center or hire a lawn company to perform the service. Water your lawn well before aerating. If it results in holes or empty patches, fill in the gaps with peat moss.
Use a hand rake to remove loose dead grass, weeds, and other obstructions in your yard. Rake over the same area several times from different directions to clean it out.
Pull out weeds by hand if necessary, taking care to remove the entire plant including the roots. To prevent weed infestation, apply a chemical herbicide just as they begin to sprout. Take special care when applying a weed killer or pesticide to your lawn, as the chemicals can easily kill off healthy microbes in your soil.
If you have more than one-half inch of thatch, you may need to rent a dethatch machine to remove it. Using a rake would be too labor intensive in this case.
Apply fertilizer at least once a year to your grass during its growing season. Carefully select the fertilizer depending on your type of grass and follow manufacturer's directions. It's easy to damage your soil, resulting in fertilizer burn if not applied properly or overfeeding. Apply fertilizer before watering your lawn. Afterwards, turn on the sprinkler, which helps distribute it into the soil. Wait at least two days before mowing your grass again.
Periodically scatter humus on the surface of your grass or gently mix it in. Or consider adding white table sugar to your lawn. As a general rule, apply one pound of sugar for every 300 square feet of lawn.
Cut grass regularly on a high blade setting so that grass is 2 to 3 inches high. Cut no more than one-third of the height each time. Trimming more than that causes stress to the grass and weakens the roots.
In addition, shorter grass blades enable weeds to grow more easily. Taller grass also has the benefit of shading the soil, encouraging beneficial pests, and reducing the need for watering.
Keep lawn mower blades sharp, balanced, and in good condition. Ensure that you achieve a clean cut each time. Clean cuts help the grass to recover more quickly. In addition, mow in different directions each time so that you don't train the grass to lean to one side.
Rather than collecting your grass clippings, leave them on the lawn. The grass clippings provide nitrogen and healthy sugars to the soil.