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As homeowners most of us have put hours and hours into lawn care with little results. Dream of a lush, green lawn? You know, one of those lawns that tickles your barefeet with softness as you walk out to get the paper. I’ll be the first to admit this isn’t the easiest endeavor. But with a consistent and patient approach, and these 10 expert tips you can get there.
1. Water deeply and less often.
When you water your lawn frequently for short periods of time you teach your grass to have a shallow root system. This makes it easier for weeds to emerge, and also makes the grass more susceptible to disease.
To prevent this you should water less, for longer periods of time. This trains the grass to grow deep, healthy root systems. This will help your lawn stay green, even in periods of drought. An old post of mine addresses all types of watering tips – https://grilloservices.com/grillo-blog/watering-tips-for-a-lush-lawn/
2. Alternate mowing patterns.
Think of your lawn like your own hair. When hair is constantly brushed the same way, in the same direction, it develops a sort of memory and falls in the same way most of the time. Lawns are very similar and many of us fall into the same mowing routine. We walk the same paths trying to finish as quick as possible. This will not only cause the grass to lay in one direction, but it can also cause compacted ruts from the mower. To prevent this mow in alternate directions, and change your patterns. This will lead to a better looking, more even lawn.
3. Make sure mower blades are sharp.
Believe it or not just because your blades cut grass doesn’t mean they are sharp. Almost any blade will cut grass but a dull blade will leave the grass’ tiny blades sticking upwards. This can cause the grass to become brown. A sharp blade will sever the blade evenly, eliminating this problem.
4. Corn Gluten Meal.
Never heard of it? Neither had I until very recently. Corn Gluten Meal is a safe alternative to products like “Weed and Feed.” Corn Gluten Meal is able to prevent the germination of weed seeds, naturally. It also is high in nitrogen acting as a natural, organic fertilizer. For those of you that use “Weed and Feed” take a look at this article – https://www.beyondpesticides.org/pesticidefreelawns/resources/weed%20and%20feed%20factsheet.pdf
5. Topdress with screened compost.
Spreading a thin layer (1/4 inch or so) of screened compost over the entire surface of your lawn will replenish organisms, bacteria, and fungi which play a vital role in healthy soil. As these organisms move through the soil they will actually help to diminish compaction and improve the soil structure. Compost is also extremely organic, and will act as a natural fertilizer. Compaction is a problem for many lawns, especially for those of you that have heavy lawn tractors. We have a past post on this very topic – https://grilloservices.com/grillo-blog/benefits-of-topdressing-lawn-with-compost/
6. Mulch your grass.
Despite what you may have heard mulching is very healthy for your grass. If you don’t have a mulching mower you can buy a specified mulching blade. After the mower cuts of the initial piece of grass blade they are designed to chop these pieces several more times. The result is a very small piece of grass that will break down quickly. This layer of finely shredded grass blades adds nutrients to the soil as they decompose. They will also act similar to mulch, helping the lawn retain water.
7. Cut at the recommended height.
Grass has roots as long as it is high. So those of you that mow to an inch and a half hoping to put off the next cut for as long as possible are doing more harm than good. A healthy height is around 3″. Also VERY IMPORTANT do not mow more than 1/3rd of the height of your grass at once. If you need to cut off more than 1/3rd of the height you should plan on cutting the lawn twice if necessary. Failing to do so will weaken the grass making it susceptible to drought and disease.
8. Mow when dry.
When grass is wet it is difficult to cut, and quickly clogs mower decks. Besides this these wet clumps can be compacted on the surface of the lawn, cutting off water and oxygen to these areas.
9. Don’t over-water.
Believe it or not you can over-water your lawn. This is easier to do if you own a sprinkler system. Basically grass performs better under slightly dry conditions than wet conditions. Water when the lawn starts to show signs of drought, such as when footprints stay in the turf for long periods of time. Again, remember to water less frequently for longer periods of time, as mentioned in #2.
10. Aerate in Spring and Fall
Aerating is extremely beneficial to your lawn. A core aerator is a gas powered, self propelled machine that has hollow cylindrical metal spikes that penetrate your lawn/soil. A cylinder shaped plug of soil is pulled from the ground as the machine propels itself. This does a few things:
- It gives your lawn’s roots room to grow
- It allows water and nutrients to penetrate your soil, helping to reach the grass’ roots
- Microorganisms from the soil are left on the surface, aiding in the decomposition of thatch
See how happy they are? Note they are also barefoot. Great lawns=Happiness.
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