A lush, well-manicured lawn is one of those features that helps define suburbia. Large swaths of neatly-cut grass aren't typically a dominant characteristic of the big city landscape, but lawns sure seem important in the 'burbs. And the greener the better.Learn More
Want a lush, healthy lawn this year but don’t know where to start? Fallow these 8 simple lawn care tips and you’ll have a better lawn by the start of the summer.
1) Spring Clean up – Rake up all leaves and debris from your lawn. Old leaves and sticks left on your lawn will smother and kill grass below. These bare spots are a perfect place for new weeds to form and grow if left. If this does happen rough up the area slightly and apply some fresh soil and grass seed. Use a metal rake and apply pressure as you rake. Your goal is to not only remove leaves and debris but also remove thatch from your lawn surface. Thatch is a thin layer of inter-tangled dead and living organic material between the soil and green grass. Once your done raking, you might be surprised with the amount of thatch you have. Collect all this up and put it into your compost pile.
2) Aerate your lawn– Aeration removes plugs of turf approximately 2-3 inches long in your lawn. This creates artificial pores in your turf allowing nutrients and moisture into the soil where they are needed the most. These pores allow bad gases such as carbon dioxide to escape, while, oxygen is allowed in, helping the plant breath and oxygen to circulate within the soil structure. This ensures optimal results for fertilization and lime treatments as it allows easier access to the soil and root structure of your lawn. Core aeration helps relieve compacted soil on your lawn which is one leading cause to pests and weeds. Aeration lessens thatch build up in your lawn and allowing the cores created by the aerator to be left on the turf, these core soil plugs will again help break down thatch in your lawn. Aeration can help fight common pests in your turf creating a much better lawn for you and your family.
3) Lime – Here on the east coast it is important to apply lime to your lawn due in part to acid rain and clay soil. Lime or soil conditioners help restore PH levels in the soil. Soils are classified as acid, alkaline or neutral and described by their pH value. A pH below 7 is acid, above 7 is alkaline and 7.0 is neutral. Turfgrasses like Kentucky bluegrass found on most Halifax lawns prefer a pH between 6.5 and 7.2. To determine the amount of lime needed for your lawn, I would suggest using a soil test kit from the NSAC. If you want to skip the soil test this year, the general rule of thumb for liming is 1 bag of lime per 1000 square feet.
4) Fertilize – Like lime, fertilizing your lawn is best done in the spring time. When fertilizing wait a week after liming your lawn, although lime takes some time to break down and work, fertilizers work better when lawns have a more neutral ph balance. Fertilizing is essential to achieve a healthy, green, and thick lawn. Fertilizers help promote new growth in your lawn while adding amendments not typically found in your soil structure. In terms of keeping this article simple and to the point for homeowners i would suggest fallowing the Scott’s fertilizing program found here. The reason I offer their program is that their spreaders are all ready calibrated to the fertilizers they sell. Fertilizing a lawn can be tricky and NO more is not better when it come to fertilizers. Read the directions on the bag carefully and make sure you fallow the directions located on the bag about spreader settings.
5) Over Seed – Although the best time of year to over seed your lawn is in the fall, overseeding is the spring can help to thicken your lawn and help fight weeds. The thicker your lawn the harder it is for new weeds to establish and grow. Overseeding can also help diversify your lawn with different types of grass that will make it less susceptible to disease and pests. You may also want to consider overseeding your lawn in shaded areas with grass blends designed for low light areas. As before, it is recommended for home owners fallow the steps outlined in the Scott’s lawn care guide.
6) Mow your lawn once a week – Once your grass has reached the height of about 4 inches you can start mowing your lawn. It is important to set your lawn mower height at 3 to 3.5 inches. Taller grass has the tendency to shade out competitive low growing weeds as well as help retain ground moisture. Its important to know that grass roots mirror the grass blade length at the top, the deeper the roots, the better the grass. Mowing once a week ensures you maintain the optimal growing height year round. If you let your grass grow to long, the grass blades will topple over one another shading out the grass beneath creating hole for the weeds to grow in.
7) Pull weeds out – Have you ever noticed that weeds start coming out after the spring rains have stop? This is the perfect time to go and remove these pests from your lawn. The ground is still soft from the rain and the weed roots are just starting to take hold. It is always important to remove most if not all of the rooting system of the weeds as they can come back.
8) Water your lawn – Yes, even here in Halifax it is important to water your lawn. The key to watering your lawn here is knowing when typically after a long hot dry spell it is always a good idea to water your lawn to maintain its healthy lush look. If you pay close attention look for a bluish tinge in the color of the grass and also when you walk on the grass your foot prints will be readability visible. The best time to water your lawn is in the morning but if your lawn is in dire need the evening can do. Never water your lawn in the full sun as the little water drops can act as magnifying glasses and burn the grass blades. The right amount of water is just as important as the time of day. Generally you want to water your lawn long enough so that the water penetrates down about 5 cm’s. A easy tip, place a empty tuna can under your sprinklers to catch the water, once it is full move the sprinkler to another spot and start over.
If you fallowing these 8 simple steps to a better lawn you will see results before summer and have your neighbors asking whats your secret.