Your yard is a microcosm of soil, bacteria, bugs, and nutrients working together to create a lush green forest of grass. Establishing and maintaining a healthy, vibrant lawn takes careful planning, attention to details, and a little elbow grease. Like the human body, you grass need essential vitamins and nutrients as well as water, sunshine, and careful grooming to grow healthy and strong. Whether you’re keeping up with the Jones or you just want that picture-perfect yard for the kids to play in, check out these tips from the experts at TurfPride Lawncare.
Mowing is an integral part of your yard maintenance. A well-manicured lawn not only keeps code enforcement away, but it also encourages new, healthy growth. Just like cutting your hair, cutting your grass helps it grow, especially when you use the right tools. Horsepower doesn’t really matter when it comes to lawn mowers, but the condition of the blade is paramount to a healthy trim. Dull blades tear the grass rather than making a clean cut. Grass is at its healthiest when it’s between 2-3 inches tall, so adjust the height of your mower’s blade accordingly. Never cut more than a third of the total height or you’ll risk stunting the grass.
Sunlight and water are the essential components of photosynthesis but over watering your yard can be just as damaging as drought. Most grass species need at least 1 to 1.5 inches of water a week. Use a rain gauge or the tuna can method to monitor the moisture levels in your yard. Turn on your sprinklers until the tuna can, or gauge is full; the time it takes to fill the container is how long you need to water. If rains during the week, adjust your sprinkler settings accordingly to prevent overwatering and save money on water.
Since plants make their own food through photosynthesis, fertilizer doesn’t necessarily feed your grass. Fertilizer actually treats your yard and the tiny microbes living in the soil, creating a nutrient-rich environment for your lawn to flourish. Leaving your grass clippings–a controversial topic in this industry–can provide your yard with a third of the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium it needs on an annual basis. However, if you’re treating your grass for diseases or pests, take up the clippings using a mower with a bag attachment. Supplement your yard’s nutrient needs in the spring, summer, and early fall with a high-quality fertilizer formulated for your species and the season.
Weeds are a constant struggle for homeowners who want that perfect yard. Store-brand herbicides can burn your grass and disrupt the nutrient balance in your soil if you apply too much. If left untreated, however, weeds will take over your yard and choke out your grass, stripping the earth of the nutrients grass seeds need to take root. Removing weeds by hand prevents them from spreading in addition to a professional herbicide treatment by a commercial lawn company.
Aeration is an often neglect part of annual lawn maintenance, but this technique increases water penetration in the soil. Aeration equipment penetrates the soil, making holes and breaking up soil plugs and thatch so that nutrients and water seep into the ground quicker. The best time to aerate is during the spring or fall but aerating too frequently will loosen the soil and compromise the grass’ root system.