The grass can be greener on your side. Here’s how:
1. Sharp and Frequent
Keep your mower blades sharp and cut that grass regularly, especially in the springtime when it grows quickly. Leave clippings to mulch and feed the soil. As the clippings deteriorate they return nitrogen to the soil and keep your grass verdant green. Sharp blades will ensure that the grass is cut versus torn which will make it vulnerable to disease. If possible, the blades should be sharpened after 8-12 hours of use.
2.Don’t Scalp the Grass
To maintain a healthy lawn keep your grass cut to 3” in height. Taller grass equals healthier grass because it shades out pesky weeds and stops them from sprouting. The tall grass also encourages soil microbes to increase and multiply. These microbes transport nutrients from the soil to the grass roots so they can be absorbed and converted into lush growth. When grass is cut high, the roots grow deep, making your lawn strong and tough.
3. A Long Slow Drink
Water infrequently, but deeply. About an inch of water will do the trick. You can measure this by setting an empty can on the grass to collect water. Too much moisture will cause thatch to develop on your lawn. This brown tangle of matted grass and roots is ugly and will dull the blades of your lawn mower. One way to know when it is time to water the lawn is to walk across it. If your footprint remains flattened, it is time to water.
4. Mow When the Grass is Dry
Mowing the lawn when it is wet will compact the soil and cause the grass roots to suffocate and turn brown.
5. No, No, No to Chemicals of Any Sort
Repeat after me – No, No, No, to pesticides, insecticides or fungicides. They KILL the earthworms that aerate your grass and the beneficial bacteria and microbes that fix nitrogen in the soil to feed your lawn. Besides, pesticides, insecticides and fungicides will harm your children and pets. There are many safe alternatives that can be used that are just as effective as chemicals and will do no harm.
6. Water at the Right Time of Day
The best time to water the lawn is early morning. Watering in the heat of the day is not a great idea since a large amount of moisture will evaporate before hitting the surface. Turn your sprinkler on early in the morning when the air is still cool and there is no wind to blow the water away from the grass.
Timing is crucial when fertilizing the lawn. It’s important to know what type of grass your lawn sports so that you can feed it accordingly. For example, fescue grasses should be fertilized in early spring whereas zoysia is a warm season grass and should be fertilized a little later. Read the labels so you don’t over-fertilize the grass, or use natural fertilizers like dried manure which are released slowly and work just as well as synthetic fertilizers.
8. Pest Control
Before you worry that your grass is diseased or being attacked by grubs, make sure your lawn is not burned from too much fertilizer or dog urine or winter salt. The best defense against weeds is a thick, vigorous lawn which will smother weeds and prevent their seeds from ever germinating. Aerating the lawn will help oxygen reach the grass roots and over-seeding will add thickness to the turf. Nematodes are an excellent natural way to get rid of grubs, should you have them.
By: Beverley Burgess Bell