Tips on Maintaining a Fresh Green Lawn

Just in the USA alone, the percentage of people with a grass lawn is about 78%, but new research shows that the majority of those people lack basic lawn care knowledge, resulting in unattractive and unhealthy gardens, which, therefore, will take a bigger piece of the common homeowner’s salary, as well as more time and effort. The number one argument for unhealthy lawns is lack of time but, by following these simple tips and guidelines and by putting a little bit of effort and more regularly, you’ll be able to avoid opening your wallet when the situation gets too nasty to handle.

Three aspects will make or break a lawn – the weather, the soil and the lawn care. Unless you have magical powers or a machine that makes it rain, controlling the first one is out of the question. Most people already have a finished lawn, so choosing the type of soil is only an option for those who are still in the process of building a garden. That leaves us with the last one but most powerful – proper lawn care practices. In this article, we’ll offer you a variety of tips that will get you the lawn of your dreams, without breaking a sweat!

How to Mow Correctly

Mowing your lawn might look like an easy task on paper, but once you discover the harm you could be making to your grass, you’ll probably want to know a bit more on how to properly do it. These are the key aspects you need to take into consideration:

Mow High

No one enjoys extremely tall grass, but you should think twice before cutting it too short. This is how it works: if your grass is four inches tall, its roots are also four inches and if you cut it to two inches, its roots, over time, will also become two inches. You need a good root mass to avoid diseases, droughts and weed infestation, which means the taller the grass, the healthier the lawn.

Don’t Shock It

Cutting more than one-third of the height of your grass in on go will likely shock and stress it, making it more vulnerable to diseases.   

Sharpen your Blades

If you mow with a dull blade you will get ragged tips, which will brown much faster and, again, will become more vulnerable to diseases. In order to avoid that, we recommend that you regularly sharpen your blades with the adequate equipment (can be done manually or with a grinding machine).

Be Creative with Your Mowing Patterns

If you keep mowing the same way, every time, the wheels of your lawnmower will keep running over the same areas, which can cause bald spots and weaken the grass. Switch it up a little once in a while to avoid this.

Mulching is Caring

Mulching is a fundamental task in lawn care, even though we think that most people never heard about it. Mulch can be a variety of materials that, layered above your grass, have various beneficial properties – conservation of the soil’s moisture, improvement of its fertility, an increase of its overall health, a decline of weed’s growth and a more beautiful and greener lawn. Even though there are tons of lawn mowers out there, only a few are capable of mulching and able to deliver great results, be sure to read this guide  to discover the best ones on the market.

Because pesticides and chemicals can be harmful to the environment, to you and to your family’s health, the more common material for mulching is the freshly cut grass clippings. Even if you bag them and apply them later you’ll lose large amounts of nitrogen – perfect for fertilizing and maintaining biological activity in the soil. Still, we recommend using some kind of fertilizer, at least once a year, in the late spring and fall.

You should also ask a lawn care professional to test your soil’s pH balance and, if wrong, what to do to correct it.

Water It: Not Too Much, Not Too Little

Watering your lawn depends on a variety of aspects, like the weather, the soil and the humidity in the air. You should start by reading about those in your area, but we can give you some tips that will work for the majority of lawns.

Especially during dry summer months, we recommend you watering your lawn a few times a week, with one to one and a half inches of water (except if you just planted your seeds – if so, twice a day is ideal). The best time to do it would be in the morning – a good excuse to get up early and enjoy the sunlight! It goes without saying, but don’t water your lawn when it’s raining, as overwatering can cause your roots to rot.  

There’s an old trick, still used today, to better control your irrigation system. Set some old tuna fish cans around your lawn and when they fill up, check the time the sprinklers were on – that’s the minutes you should set them, every week (they will usually fill between 30 minutes and an hour). Also, if you see a couple of them not filled, your irrigation system is not properly calibrated and is unevenly watering your lawn.

Lastly, never use hot water! Some people use water tanks that are left in the summer’s warm, which can be enough to scold the tips of the grass.

Aeration Might Be Necessary

If you’ve got a compacted, poor or clay-heavy soil, aerating your lawn, once a year, could save it from big problems. That’s also a good idea if you notice that there’s a lot of foot traffic or big equipment rolling around on it. How to aerate it, you ask? Easy! Even though there are specialized machines for it, a simple pitchfork can do the trick. Start by normally mowing your lawn. After that, stick the pitchfork’s teeth, full length, on your grass and repeat it in four to six inches intervals (works best if the soil is a bit moist, after raining or having been watered a couple of hours before). Then, work by rows, till you’ve done it on your full lawn. Lastly, turn your sprinklers on so the water can penetrate the root zone.

Final Thoughts

A lawn is, usually, the first thing that stands out in a house and who doesn’t enjoy making good first impressions? With these effortless tips, you can have a beautiful and elegant yard, almost taken out of a movie, without breaking the bank and without a ton of effort. Thanks for reading and as enjoy your gorgeous lawn!

Amelia
 

Amelia Robinson is a lover of plants and gardens, as well as an educator on this topic. It’s her goal to make sure that you get the chance to learn what you need to about gardening to succeed with your own home garden at the blog RobinsonLovePlants.com. You’re not going to find just a collection of basic articles about gardening here. Instead, she wants to answer the difficult questions for you. She tweets at @robinsonplants

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