We all want to have a beautiful, lush lawn! But by mid-summer, the grass is looking yellowish, a little worse for wear. To resurrect your lawn or start from scratch here is what you need to know.
My grass has a type?
You need to know what type of grass you have and what this particular kind of grass requires to thrive. Research how much water; pest resistances, shade tolerance, and amount of nutrients needed. If you’re starting from scratch, do some research to identify the best grass type for your climate and soil type. Also test your soil. Inexpensive soil pH testing kits are available, or you can use litmus paper. Have your soil’s fertility tested by your state's cooperative extension service or a commercial soil-testing lab. Your local nursery can then make recommendations for the care of your lawn, based on the test results.
How much water?
Most homeowners do not water correctly. The key is to water thoroughly and only when needed, when the grass begins to wilt, the color dulls and footprints stay compressed for more than a few seconds. Actually, drip hoses are the most efficient way to water a lawn. An in-ground automatic sprinkler system is the next best thing. To figure out how long sprinklers should run, turn them on and set a timer for how long it takes for the water to penetrate four inches into the soil (open up the ground periodically with a shovel). Lastly, water only in early morning or evening.
Mowing and Fertilizing
Mowing your lawn frequently makes grass require more water. Maintain your mower’s blades and never mow when the grass is wet. Cut no more than 1/3 of the grass’s length at a time. Leave your lawn a little high will produce healthier, more pest-resistant grass.
The best fertilizers are organic, slow-release types. Your soil's test results will indicate specific organic fertilizer recommendations. Although you can spread fertilizers by hand, you'll get more uniform coverage with a spreader (drop or broadcast type). Make two passes at opposite angles. Water thoroughly after applying fertilizer or apply it before an expected rain, unless the directions state otherwise.
Additionally, be sure to use herbicides and pesticides, following package directions. Apply weed-killers when they first start to grow, before the weeds go to seed. You can easily apply these products with a hose-end sprayer or with a garden spreader.
Finally, Be sure to aerate your soil once every year. This helps to remove thatch, the dead, un-decayed material at the soil line. This material adds to a number of lawn problems. Before aerating, be sure to give your lawn a good, hard raking to loosen up and remove the thatch.
It is a little bit of work to maintain a beautiful lawn, but so worth the effort for the enjoyment it will bring you, your family, and the value it can add to your home!