Having a healthy and beautiful lawn is much easier than you might think. Instead of splurging on growth products and herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and all other kinds of -cides, learn how to spruce up your home’s exterior by maintaining your lawn properly by applying these simple but effective lawn care tips.
Test your soil
While most of us know that fertilization is necessary, not many people test the soil in their garden. Soil contains minerals and nutrients that are needed for healthy growth, and a soil test can determine if your garden dirt is lacking certain essential nutrients. Collect the soil samples and send them to a specialized lab, and the results will tell you what blend of nutrients you should use. The most common nutrients that are lacking are phosphorus, potassium, and lime.
Most of the lawn-related issues can be prevented if they are discovered early. Check your lawn regularly for pests, weeds, and pollutants. In most cases, damage to the grass is not caused by pests, but rather by poor growing conditions, inadequate maintenance, road salt, dog urine, etc. A few shots of crabgrass or a patch of clover is not the reason to go all-chemical. Instead, pull the invading weeds out, soften the patch and sow grass seeds again. In case you suspect of pests like mole crickets or Japanese beetle, splash a bucket of soapy water on a suspicious patch, and any insects hiding beneath will surface. Consult people at your local garden centre about the threshold number for certain critters.
Discoloration is OK
When grass blades are under stress, for example during droughts or summer heat waves, lawns go dormant. Grass that enters the dormant state may turn brown, but it doesn’t mean it will die off. Once the cause of stress is gone, and the lawn receives water, the natural green colour should return. However, if the brown colour persists after watering, you may need to call an expert to evaluate the lawn condition and suggest the next steps.
Don’t keep it too short
Many amateur gardeners make the mistake of cutting their lawns too short, believing that the grass will grow thicker this way. However, lawns which are kept at longer cut have richer green colour, improved resistance to weeds, and need less water. According to people from the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the ideal cutting height is 7.6 to 8.8 centimetres. However, in order to keep the grass blades at desired lengths and prevent tearing, you need to keep your blades sharp and the mower conditioned. Luckily, a lot of quality John Deere parts are now available from online vendors.
Let it breathe
Aerating the lawn allows air, water, and nutrients to reach the grass roots, which is essential for stronger, healthier, and more resilient lawns. Aerating tools, like spiked rollers, aerating pitchforks or spiked sandals, penetrate and de-compact the soil. While aeration can be performed at any time of year, the best time is the spring or autumn, when grass is growing faster. The number of times your lawn needs aerating depends on several factors, so talking to a landscaping professional will give you the most accurate estimate for your garden.
Mix it up
If you have persistent trouble maintaining a healthy lawn, consider adding a selection of different plants and grasses into the mix. A diversified lawn is not only better for the environment, but also easier to maintain. Biodiversity attracts butterflies and other pollinators, which are a welcome sight in any garden, as well as birds, which feed on lawn pests. Alternative plants that make good ground covers include, hosta and lily of the valley, which are especially thriving in shaded areas, creeping phlox, periwinkle, bugleweed, thyme, and creeping juniper, which is highly suitable for steep sections of the lawn. Also, consider pest-resistant native species, as well as alternative landscapes like mulched beds or rock gardens.
Having a healthy lawn boils down to understanding the nature of different elements in your lawn and the way these elements work together. By using the right approach, you too can take pride in a lawn healthy enough to resist disease, weeds, pests, and drought without growth inhibitors and other chemicals.