You know a healthy lawn when you see it: a smooth, lush green carpet, perfect for lawn games and a picnic. So why doesn't your lawn look like that? To get that perfect lawn you may have to change your mindset. Here are some seasonal tips to help you achieve that perfect looking lawn.
It’s that time of year again when students go back to school, the sun’s setting sooner, and the air is starting to get a chill. Yes, the fall season will be upon us soon and your yard will soon be going through a lot of changes. Here are some tips to prepare your lawn.
- Continue to water and mow as necessary. As the season draws to a close, drop the mower blade to the lowest setting for the last two cuttings. By doing so, this will allow more sunlight to reach the base of the grass and there will be less leaf to turn brown in the winter.
- Rake leaves as soon as possible. If you wait for all of the leaves to fall, they will become wet from morning dew and rain. This will then cause them to create a mat-like covering that could suffocate the grass and cause fungus, as well as other lawn diseases, to grow.
- Fall is the time to fertilize your lawn. Your grass will store the nutrients in its roots as it goes dormant over the winter, and your lawn will be ready for when spring warms the ground.
Winter lawn care requires special attention. If you follow these basic tips, catering them to your specific climate, your lawn and garden will spring back to life once the winter is over.
- Cut off the water. You should stop using sprinklers entirely. They simply aren’t needed. Plus, if they go off just before a big freeze, your lawn will suddenly become a sheet of ice. Also, completely drain your sprinkler system because the pipes can freeze and burst.
- Be careful of the frost. A frosted lawn can be easily damaged by walking. The frozen grass tips can crack underfoot, weakening and potentially killing your lawn. This makes your lawn a prime target for crabgrass come spring, so keep off the grass until the frost is gone or enough snow cover is down to protect the grass.
- When it snows try to avoid plowing the grass. Snow protects your lawn throughout the winter. The area that has been exposed won’t be protected, so it will lag behind your other grass when spring arrives. Plus, plows and shovels can gouge and damage your sensitive lawn, so do your best to leave the snow where it fell.
Now that winter is over and your lawn will need to be maintained again, there are a few things to do to prepare your yard to be cut. Your grass will now start growing in earnest, so be ready for the first cutting.
- Sharpen mower blades to ensure clean cuts. A dull blade tears the grass, leaving jagged edges that discolor the lawn and invite pathogens.
- Tune up your mower with a new sparkplug and air filter.
- Buy fresh gas. Gas that’s been left to sit over the winter can accumulate moisture that harms small engines. This is especially true for fuel containing ethanol, so use regular grades of gasoline.
- Clean up your lawn. Cleaning up old debris clears the way for applying fertilizer and herbicides.
Once you have prepped, follow these steps to help prevent your beautiful lawn from being overtaken with weeds, stressed by drought, and heat.
- Apply a pre-emergent crabgrass control in the early spring. Timing is critical, as it must be applied prior to the soil temperatures reaching 55-60 degrees.
- Fertilizing in the spring jump-starts your lawn from its winter slumber. It provides a nutrient build up that will give it the strength to withstand heat stress and drought through the summer months.
- Core aeration is a great thing to do to your lawn in the spring. It is important, because it allows water and air to reach the root zone faster. Resulting in new growth and increased root development.
Here are a few tips to guide you through the heart of grass-mowing season: The taller the grass, the deeper the roots, the fewer the weeds, and the more moisture the soil holds between watering. Your grass is starting to grow fast, and you might even be cutting more than once a week to keep up. To keep grass healthy, mow often enough so you’re removing no more than 1/3 of the grass blade.
- Reduce or eliminate fertilizer and weed control applications before you expect the temperatures to start increasing toward summer highs. While fertilizers encourage growth, they also create a lush rush of growth that does not withstand the high summer temperatures very well. Weed-killing herbicides, while targeting unwanted plants, may also place grass under stress that reduces its rate of growth.
- Gradually raise the cutting height of your mower as the temperatures increase during the summer. Longer grass encourages deeper roots and shades the soil better.
- Water your lawn late at night or early morning, at a rate that can soak deeply into the soil. Most lawns need about one inch of rain or irrigation water every week.
The secret to keeping your yard thriving throughout the year lies in the lawn care techniques you implement during each season. By getting started early, you'll develop a resilient lawn that's resistant to the effects of the elements, weeds, pests and heavy foot traffic. If you follow some of these tips we have provided, you can rest easy knowing that your lawn will look great all throughout the year!