Home lawns are an essential addition to the landscape and provide an excellent setting for lounging, ball games, and cookouts. A stunning lawn enriches any landscape by improving the over-all value of the home aesthetically and economically but it also provides many environmental benefits as well. A dense, healthy lawn prevents soil erosion, reduces glare from the sun, helps lower temperatures on hot summer days, provides oxygen, and filters out contaminants in air and water. Below are five great lawn care tips to get you started on enhancing your landscape:
1. Begin by getting rid of all weeds.
Broad-leaf weeds can be easily controlled by simply pulling them out by hand but a large lawn loaded with weeds may call for an application of a broad-leaf herbicide. I personally try to avoid using chemical herbicides on my grass but it can make weed control much easier when working with large areas. The best weed control program is achieved by prevention so be aggressive on weeds when they’re young and eradicate them before they mature and start producing seeds.
2. Keep up with regular maintenance of your garden tools.
Clean, repair, lubricate, buy and sharpen all of the garden tools you’ll be using throughout the growing season. A good mower is especially important for maintaining a healthy lawn so be sure that the blades are nice and sharp. A mower with dull blades makes rough cuts damaging the grass each and every cut.
3. Take a soil sample and have it analyzed for nutrient content by your local Agriculture Extension Office.
Soil testing is crucial for developing an accurate grass fertilizer program before planting grass seed and should be done every three to four years of an established lawn. A soil test will give you a reading of what your lawn needs and how much to apply. (Visit Spreading Lawn Fertilizer post). Balanced fertilizers such as 15-15-15 or 16-16-16 are well suited for most lawn care programs and should be applied once a month during the growing season but keep in mind that they are only good sources for the macro-nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A complete soil test analyzes the soil for all nutrients including most of the micro-nutrients that can become deficient over time. Soil tests will also be a guide in case any soil conditioners such as gypsum, lime, or compost need to be applied.
4. Fine-tune your watering.
If you do not already have an automated irrigation sprinkler system installed, do so immediately because it will make life so much easier. The best time to water your lawn is in the early morning right before sun rise but splitting your watering times by completing half the required amount in the early morning and the other half in the evening is a good practice as well. Watering in this manner will enable your grass to utilize your water more efficiently. Avoid watering in the mid-day because most water is lost in the full sunlight through evaporation and transpiration. Having said that, during excessively hot, dry and windy days, especially during the middle of summer, your grass may need a rescue water application during the day.
5. Mow regularly.
Mowing on a regular schedule will condition your grass to grow at the selected mowing height and will prevent unattractive scalping marks. Try not to remove more than 3/4 inch of grass at any single mowing and mow during cooler temperatures like in the early morning or evening. DO NOT mow your lawn when its wet because you will scalp your grass horribly and it can take weeks before your lawn fully recovers. Check out these lawn mowing tips to help improve your mowing skills.
There you have it!. Five useful lawn care tips that should help you get your lawn into great looking shape in no time!