Although grass grows almost everywhere, it seems like it never grows where you want it to grow – in the yard! A great-looking, healthy lawn requires a lot of hard work.
Unfortunately, many homeowners make common mistakes that work against their hard efforts. Whether using a commercial lawn service or doing the work yourself, following are some helpful tips on how to grow a lush, robust lawn that looks great!
Following is some basic information on how to properly mow grass to keep it in the best condition:
Height – For most commercial lawn services, the ideal height for most lawns is 2 to 2 ½ inches. This promotes strong roots and requires less watering and weed prevention than a shorter lawn. Grass should only be mowed to one-third of its height at any one mowing to prevent shock.
Frequency – According to commercial lawn services, lawns should be mowed as often as necessary to achieve an ideal height of 2 inches of grass. This might be once weekly or once monthly depending on climate, grass species, and season.
Conditions – Mowing should always be done with a sharp blade to prevent damage and never when the grass is wet or during the heat of the day. As long as grass is not too tall, clippings can be left; however, longer clippings should be removed as too much mulch will kill the grass underneath.
To ensure the best lawn health, following are some tips that commercial lawn services recommend the following:
Amount – A well-watered lawn requires deep watering to keep soil wet to a depth of a few inches. An inch of watering when necessary is best to promote deep root growth and prevent thatch. One inch supplied by a sprinkler fills up an empty tuna can; automatic sprinklers can be adjusted to deliver the right amount.
Frequency – Grass should only be watered when necessary. Most people water too frequently and not deeply enough, causing poor root growth. When grass retains a footprint after being walked on and soil is hard to push a screwdriver into it, that is when it needs a deep watering.
Conditions – Commercial lawn services also suggest that the best time to water is in the early morning or the late afternoon as long as lawns can dry before dusk. Deep watering at night should be avoided. If soil is hard, packed, and does not absorb well, supplying one-third the recommended amount overnight, three nights in a row, should help conditions. Continue with regular watering so the soil does not harden again.
Fertilizing and Weed Control
Products – Test soil every few years by using a kit from the local garden center; sending a sample to a local soil testing lab or having a commercial lawn service determine soil condition. Based on the results, professionals can determine what products the soil and lawn need for balance and health.
How Much/How Often – Whether choosing synthetic or organic fertilizers, use it sparingly and according to package directions. More fertilizer than necessary is often used, creating waste and releasing excess chemicals into the environment. Fertilizing in the spring and in the fall is all that is required to maintain good lawn health.
Weed Control – Pre-emergent herbicide should be spread very early in the season, well before the grass begins to grow. Remaining weeds can be treated with post-emergent herbicide mid-season. Spread according to instructions. Organic products are also available to prevent weeds.
Using these tips, whether doing your own lawn care or working with a good commercial lawn service, improvement should be seen within a few months.
If lawns continue to look bad or have brown, dead patches, there may be other problems, such as disease or insect damage. For the best results, contact a lawn and landscaping professional for additional help!