Posted on April 20th, 2023
Your lawn is more than just a patch of grass. It’s a blank canvas that allows property owners to express their creativity and create a unique, relaxing space that meets their needs.
When maintained correctly, a lawn can elevate a property’s curb appeal and benefit the environment. A lush, beautiful lawn also helps improve air quality, enhance biodiversity and helps hinder soil erosion.
In this article, we cover five essential strategies that are crucial for achieving a healthy and beautiful lawn.
Regular mowing is an essential part of lawn care. It encourages healthy grass growth by stimulating root development and preventing weed growth. Mowing supports the grass in producing new shoots and leaves, leading to a lusher and livelier lawn.
A well-mowed lawn can improve the overall appearance of your property. Mowing also assists in pest management, as tall grass can provide a habitat for insects and rodents.
The ideal mowing height for most grasses is 2 to 3 inches. Cutting grass too low can trigger weed growth and create a shallow root system, leading to a thin, patchy turf.
Gradually cut grass and remove no more than ⅓ of its total height. Cutting less than this can minimize stress caused by mowing and promote optimal grass health.
As a rule of thumb, mowing once a week or once every two weeks is enough to keep your lawn healthy. Most lawns require weekly mowing during the growing season. Base the cutting frequency on your lawn’s grass type and its seasonal growth rate.
Avoid constantly mowing in the same direction every time. Grass tends to lean in the direction of mowing, resulting in an uneven and unattractive lawn. Alternating the mowing direction helps the grass grow upright rather than lean in one direction.
Repeated mowing in the same direction can produce ruts in the lawn where the mower wheels press down on the soil, compacting it and harming the grass roots. Alternating the mowing direction can inhibit rut formations and create an even, beautiful lawn.
Grass clippings contain 80 to 85 percent water and decompose faster than other grass plant parts. Grass clippings left on your lawn will decompose back into your topsoil. They’re packed with minerals and nutrients, reducing the need for applying lawn fertilizer.
Grass needs water to transport nutrients and sugars from the soil to various parts of the plant. It’s also necessary for photosynthesis, the process by which plants produce food. Without adequate water, plants can become stressed, wilt and ultimately die. If you want a lawn that is lush and green all summer, watering is important.
When grass blades turn from vibrant green to a duller, bluish-gray color, it indicates that the grass needs more water. Older leaf blades will also begin to curl up or wilt if they’re dehydrated.
You can also check your lawn by walking on it: If your footprints linger when the grass is walked on, it’s because the grass blades don’t have sufficient moisture to spring back.
A newly planted lawn must be watered twice daily so seeds can germinate and develop a solid root system. Fully grown lawns don’t have to be watered every day. For optimal growth, ensure the soil is soaked with 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week.
The best time to water your lawn is early morning, ideally before 10 AM when the temperature is relatively cool and the winds are calmer. This allows water to effectively penetrate the soil and be absorbed by the grass roots before it evaporates.
In case you need to water your lawn in the evening, it’s best to do it between 4 and 6 PM. This provides ample time for grass blades to dry before nightfall. The later you water, the greater the risk of diseases such as mildew and fungus occurring in your lawn.
For a lawn to flourish, it needs three nutrients:
Over time, soil will naturally lose nutrients plants need to grow. Fertilizer replenishes the essentials your lawn needs to look better and last longer. If you want to achieve a lush, green lawn, applying fertilizer is the quickest and easiest way to do so.
The appropriate fertilizer for your lawn will depend on several factors, including:
Since fertilizing your lawn can be complicated, seeking guidance from a qualified professional is advisable. The experts at Turf Unlimited can provide a treatment plan built around your specific requirements. We’ll help you select a suitable fertilizer and apply it correctly.
When deciding on a ratio, pay attention to the three numbers found on a fertilizer label. This is your “nitrogen – phosphorus – potassium (NPK)” ratio. It indicates the proportion of each macronutrient contained in the fertilizer. Ultimately, the right ratio for your lawn will depend on the quality of the soil and the type of plants or grass you’re growing. Performing a soil test can reveal certain nutrient deficiencies.
When it comes to fertilizers, more isn’t always better. Excessive application of fertilizer can cause plants to grow too quickly and weakly. Make sure to read the label and follow instructions carefully.
Weeds compete with surrounding grasses for soil, water, nutrients and space. When fertilizer is applied, weeds can rapidly soak up the nutrients, depriving healthy plants of vital resources. Weeds also spread and grow quickly, taking up valuable lawn space and crowding out other plants. This makes your lawn more vulnerable to disease, drought and pest infestation.
If left unchecked, weeds can become hosts for various plant diseases and pests.
There are several ways to eliminate weeds in your yard:
One way to control the spread of herbaceous and floating weeds is to uproot them through pulling. You can do it by hand or using weed wrenches. However, weed wrenches may not be the best option when dealing with perennial weeds whose stems are buried deep underground.
The great thing about weed pulling is that it’s cheap and causes minimal damage to surrounding plants. The main drawback is that it’s a time-consuming and labor-intensive job. It may not be the most efficient approach for managing weeds in large yards.
Mulch is a layer of material, typically hay, grass cuts or wood chips, spread over the soil surface. Once it decomposes, it provides nutrients to the soil beneath it. It can help retain moisture in the ground, regulate soil temperature and combat weeds.
Mulching impedes weed growth by blocking the sunlight in areas they’d usually sprout.
A layer of mulch can smother weed seeds and retain moisture in the soil, making it harder for them to germinate.
Lawn aeration is a technique that involves punching holes a few inches deep into the sod. This enables air, water and nutrients to move freely into the soil and seep into your lawn’s roots.
When a lawn is situated on hard, compacted soil, it can be challenging for water and nutrients to penetrate the soil and reach the grassroots, leading to poor plant growth. Aeration helps alleviate this problem, allowing essential nutrients and hydration to penetrate the ground instead of being trapped on the surface.
Aeration is beneficial to lawns, but improper timing can stress the grass. The best time to aerate your soil varies according to each plant type. It’s best to aerate during or before grasses peak for natural growth.
For cool-season grasses such as perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass and fine and tall fescues, early fall or spring are the best times for aerating.
For warm-season grasses like Zoysia grass, Bermuda grass and Bahia grass, consider aerating during late spring or early summer. Scheduling aeration during the active growth period allows grass to recover faster and fill areas where the soil is exposed due to aeration equipment.
Proper upkeep is key to achieving a beautiful lawn. However, effective lawn care requires skill, knowledge and consistency.
At Turf Unlimited, we’ve helped thousands of clients revitalize their lawns and boost their property’s curb appeal. We have over 27 years of experience delivering custom lawn care strategies to happy customers. Contact us today to achieve that healthy, gorgeous lawn you’ve always wanted.