A healthy lawn is the foundation of a beautiful landscape. When you gather with friends and family in your outdoor space, you want a vibrant backdrop that makes everyone want to stay outside for hours. However, if you don’t take care of your lawn, it’ll become an eyesore when hosting outdoor activities. These seven tips teach you how to get and maintain a healthy lawn so you can enjoy lush, green grass all season long.
Tip #1 — Aeration
Grass needs a healthy mix of oxygen, water, and nutrients to look its best. When your grass gets too thick, these essential components can’t penetrate to the roots where they’re needed. This is where aeration helps. Aeration is the process of poking small holes in your lawn, allowing water and nutrients to reach the roots. Aerating your lawn has several benefits, including improved air circulation, better root growth, and reduced soil compaction. A powered aerator is the best tool for this job, but if you’re too busy to do it yourself, you may want to hire a gardener to aerate your lawn professionally.
Tip #2 — Fertilize
Fertilizer is food for your lawn that helps your grass grow thick and healthy. When it comes to fertilizing, timing is important. You want to start fertilizing your lawn in the early spring once the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps kick-start root development. After the first lawn fertilization, feed it again about four weeks later, then do it every six to eight weeks during the growing season. Also, you’ll want to use a slow-release granular fertilizer to help prevent burning your lawn.
Tip #3 — Use Sharp Mower Blades
Keeping your mower blades sharp and well-maintained makes a big difference for your lawn. Sharp blades cleanly cut the grass, allowing it to recover more quickly and reduce disease risk. Dull mower blades tear the grass rather than cutting it. This can damage your lawn, leaving it susceptible to discoloration and disease. Damaged grass also needs more water and nutrients to recover.
Sharp blades benefit not only your lawn but also your mower. They put less stress on the engine, help prevent clogging, and make it easier to mow. How often should you sharpen your mower blades? Two to four times a year after the eighth mowing is a good schedule to follow. You can do it yourself, but with your busy work and family life, you may want to visit your local hardware store to sharpen them for you.
Tip #4 — Change the Mowing Height
Adjusting your mower’s cutting height is a great way to improve your lawn. You don’t want to mow your grass too low because as mowing height decreases, the root depth decreases, and the upkeep increases. Taller grass provides more shade, absorbs more moisture in the soil, and creates a deeper root system.
The right mowing height depends on your grass type, so check the recommended settings below to see how high you need to adjust your mower:
- Bermuda: 1–1½ inches
- Centipede: 1½–2 inches
- St. Augustine: 2½–3 inches
- Zoysia: 1-1½ inches
- Kentucky Bluegrass: 2–2½ inches
- Tall Fescue: 2–3 inches
- Fine Fescue: 2–2½ inches
- Perennial Ryegrass: 1½–2½ inches
Tip #5 — Water Your Lawn the Right Way
Deep, infrequent watering helps promote deeper, healthier roots for your lawn. Light, frequent watering encourages shallow root growth, increasing the need to water your lawn more often. To get deeper watering, we recommended an impact sprinkler with a ¾ inch hose.
Generally, lawns need about 1–2 inches of water per week in three- or four-day intervals, either from your sprinkler system or Mother Nature. However, this recommended watering depends on several factors, including temperature, grass type, and soil conditions. If your lawn is in sandy soil, you might need to water your lawn twice as much since this soil type drains quickly. On the other hand, you may only need to water your lawn half as much if you have slow-draining soil. Whatever you do, ensure you’re watering your lawn in the early morning to help mitigate wasteful evaporation.
Tip #6 — Grasscycling
Don’t rake and bag your grass clippings. It takes a lot of time and energy that you’d much rather put towards your work and family life. Instead, keep them on your lawn. Grasscycling helps recycle nutrients, so you don’t have to use as much fertilizer. Grass clippings also help retain moisture, which means less watering for you. Additionally, grass clippings provide food for the worms that naturally aerate your soil.
Tip #7 — Pick Up After Your Pet
You may think dog poop helps fertilize your lawn, but it does more harm than good. For one, dogs have a high-protein diet that creates highly acidic waste, which is not good for your grass. Secondly, it’s an eyesore, and you and your kids will likely step in it whenever you’re enjoying the outdoors. To keep your lawn healthy, hire a local dog waste removal service to do the dirty work for you.
Dog urine also contains acid that can create brown spots on your lawn. If your furry friend has a favorite place to do their business, be extra cautious and flush the spot with extra water to dilute the acid.
A healthy lawn provides a beautiful backdrop for your summer BBQs, patio cocktail hours, and breezy fall brunches. Of course, it does take time and energy to maintain your lawn.
If your schedule is too busy, you may want to hire a landscaping service to regularly keep your lawn looking its best. Check out the POLYWOOD blog for more related articles on lawn care and gardening.