The grass need not be greener on the other side when you know how to grow and maintain your own lawn. For many new gardeners, a beautiful bright green carpet can be difficult to achieve. Here are some basic care tips that can help you grow that enviable green lush carpet:
Getting Your Soil Ready
A great lawn starts with great foundation. Regardless of what you’re planning on growing, thoroughly prepared and treated soil gives them a better chance at surviving and thriving. Look for the usual problems that are encountered in your area to help give you an idea on what to expect. Chances are, your local government or nursery have this information available for their residents. Remove weeds up until their roots before tilling at least six-inches deep to properly aerate the soil, preventing compaction and providing great drainage. Check the soil’s acidity and add a mix of loam and compost to your topsoil, addressing any PH problems with your soil. When packing the soil, many expert lawn owners add a slight slope to allow for better drainage
Carpet Vs Seeds
The easiest way to a beautiful lawn is a rolled out carpet sod. Not only are they now sturdy, they’re also quick. But if you're covering a larger area, these carpet sods can get a little pricey. This is where seeds come in. You can seed the area manually or use hydroseeding: a method that uses a slurry of seed and mulch. The latter option is ideal for covering large land areas.
Trim Don’t Shave
One of the biggest misconceptions in basic lawn care that many new gardeners make is cutting the grass too short. This stresses out the grass and dries out faster. To promote better root growth, just trim the top third of the grass.
Just like other plants, grass greatly benefits from getting thoroughly watered and drained to avoid root rot. Watering deeply not only ensures that your entire lawn is getting the H2O they need and prevent chinch bugs that thrive on dry lawns. Take into consideration the type of soil for your lawn to know how frequent you need to water them. A good rule of thumb is once a week for normal days, less frequent for clay soils and more often for sandy soils. Water more when the weather gets too hot and dry. For a lawn that has been newly seeded, make sure the soil is damp lightly watering daily, being careful to avoid too much water so as to not wash off the seeds. Once they sprout for about half an inch, you you can start watering a little more deeply to encourage growth.
Regular fertilizing ensures your lawn gets all the nutrients they need to thrive. Choose a complete fertilizer that has sulfur, copper and iron and feed your lawn with this at least twice a year. Remember when we recommended you test your soil’s PH before planting? This is where it comes in handy: over time, fertilizers can lower the soil’s PH, making it more acidic. Now some areas do not have this problem, but for areas that do, applying dolomitic lime after a few years restores the soil’s PH while reintroducing calcium and magnesium that may be depleted over time.
There’s nothing worse than weeds that sticks out in an otherwise very beautiful lawn. To combat these garden invaders, the best line of defense is healthy, regularly mowed grass - healthy enough to keep out weeds naturally. While many experts avoid herbicides, if you really need it, we recommend going for natural blends that does not use chemical ingredients.
Aerate When Necessary
Soil compaction is a problem that even grass encounters. It gets difficult for water and other nutrients to thoroughly penetrate the roots. To prevent this, simply poke small holes in your lawn to improve oxygen circulation and to make sure your grass gets all the nutrition it needs.
There you have it, some basic lawn care tips that can help you grow and maintain grass better. Other factors that you may want to consider when setting up your lawn are types of grass and the seasons that they grow. A mixture of warm-season and cold-season grass ensures that your lawn is green all year round.