Home Lawn Maintenance Can Be A Walk In The Park
Here's the ultimate guide to maintaining a healthy, trim, lush and resilient lawn your neighbours will be jealous of.
You may think it takes a lot of work to get your lawn looking great. In reality, a winning lawn is easier to achieve than you think. You don’t need an advanced degree in lawnology, or experience working the greens of a famous golf course in Scotland, to enjoy a lush, healthy lawn.
All it takes is a simple and regular routine to enjoy green grass all summer long.
A healthy lawn starts with healthy soil. You’ll want good topsoil that is weed-free and nutrient-rich. Adding compost on an existing lawn or on a newly seeded lawn will give your grass even more of what it needs to grow strong. You can get a lot out of good compost available at retailers or the stuff you produce in your own composting bin. A little goes a long way to helping your lawn grow healthy and lush.
Mow your lawn regularly with a mower blade set to a height of 2.5” to 3”. This will keep the grass long enough to keep the roots cool and help it retain moisture. Think of the grass as sunscreen for your lawn’s topsoil.
Ensure the blade of your mower is kept sharp by checking it each spring. A dull blade will give your lawn the botanical version of a bowl cut. Mow when the grass is dry but avoid the heat during the middle of the day. Consider using a mulching blade to return the clippings to the soil where they will compost and add nutrients back into the soil. It’s the circle of lawn life.
Water your lawn deeply but infrequently. Ensure your lawn receives about an inch of water each time you turn on the taps. How can you tell you’ve watered an inch? Place a Frisbee (people still have those, right? If not, use a shallow dish or lid.) upside down and move the sprinkler when it’s full. Water your lawn in the morning to avoid moisture loss during the heat of the midday sun.
You’ve seen those lawns that look like the homeowner has a pet goose? You know what we’re talking about. Those cylindrical bits are actually signs that the lawn was aerated. This allows for better moisture and oxygen penetration. It can also loosen compacted soil and remove thatch. Aeration can be done each spring when lawn maintenance kicks into gear.
Speaking of thatch, that organic build-up over the topsoil can be a good thing if it’s less than half an inch thick. Any more will prevent moisture absorption. Too much thatch is like dandruff on your lawn. Remove it with a hand rake or a dethatching blade on your lawn mower.
A good lawn fertilizer should be applied beginning in the spring, likely not before May long weekend though, as we always seem to get snow here in Canada. The fertilizer you choose should contain nitrogen for green growth, phosphorus for root growth and potassium for resilience. This is often called 3:1 fertilizer. Be sure to choose a slow-release variety for best results. You can also use natural fertilizers such as compost. Fertilize regularly throughout the summer. Be sure to water your lawn thoroughly after fertilizing and avoid spreading it during a hot day which can cause the fertilizer to burn your lawn.
Over seeding sounds bad, but it’s not. Over seeding simply means spreading grass seeds into your existing lawn. Seeding over the existing grass = over seeding. Got it? These seeds will sprout new grass and make your lawn even more lush. Over seeding will also prevent the emergence of weeds and help renew worn out patches of lawn. Sprinkle some topsoil, and compost if you’ve got it, down and then evenly spread the grass seeds. Water thoroughly after.
Lawn care A, B, C’s
Whether you’re looking for a lawn that your neighbours will be seriously envious of, or just want to have better grass than last year, these basic tips will help get you there.