This summer, when someone says “the grass is always greener…” make sure they are talking about your lawn. Spring is the perfect time to take the steps needed to make sure you have the best lawn in the neighborhood. It all comes down to taking the necessary time to get the season off to a great start. Here are the best projects you can do to make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.
Clean up the lawn
Now that you’ve done your spring cleaning in the house, it’s time to clean up the yard. Get out the rake on a dry day and tidy up the dead leaves, blades of grass, and grass clumps that have built up over the winter. Spring tines work best for general cleanup early in the season. Check out our World’s Greatest Rake
if you don’t already have one.
If there’s too much debris in your yard, including grass clippings from last season, your lawn may be thatched. Dethatching the grass is a simple process that will help new grass seeds germinate and reduce the risks of fungus. Fescue is the least likely grass to need dethatching, while Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda, and zoysia tend to have more problems with thatch buildup. With mild cases of thatch a special rake with stiff tines can be used to rake deeply and break through the built up material.
Heavily thatched grass and high trafficked areas of the yard that have gotten compressed can benefit from aerating to allow more water, air, and nutrients to get down to the root zone. Cool season grasses should be aerated in early spring or autumn, while warm season grasses are better suited to aeration in late spring or early summer. Core Aeration
will pull hollow plugs from the lawn and drop them on top, where they break down to disperse nutrients from deeper in the ground to the topsoil. This is the method preferred by most pros and definitely works better for heavily compacted grass. Less compacted yards can benefit from Spike Aeration
, which pokes holes in the ground rather than plugs.
Repair & Seed
If you have bare spots in your lawn, don’t wait for weeds to fill in the holes. Instead, you can patch those spots yourself. Loosen the soil in the bare areas and patch it with sod or take a plug from a corner of the yard to fill in the space. Yard Butler’s Sod Plugger
makes a perfect 3x3 inch square plug, the same size as those you can find in stores.
You can also fill in gaps by sowing seed, covering it with topsoil, and then tamping it down. Remember that the seeds will have to be watered well and kept moist until they begin to sprout.
Last week’s post discussed Hand Watering Your Garden and these tips also apply to watering the rest of your yard. Like all plants, grass needs regular watering to grow, nearly an inch a week as a rule of thumb. The best bet is to water early in the day long enough to let the water soak deep down to the roots. If grass doesn’t bounce back after stepping on it, or becomes curled or wilted, those are signs the lawn needs more water.
Most lawn care guides recommend mowing no more than the top third of the blades of grass to avoid damaging the lawn. Longer blades generally mean longer, healthier roots. We recommend looking up the best height setting for your specific type of grass, to ensure optimal length. Remember not to mow wet grass, and make sure to change up the direction and pattern each time to keep the grass looking its best. Also, keep in mind that grass should be mowed when it’s needed, and not necessarily on a schedule. Monitor the length to prevent overgrowth. Leaving the clippings on the lawn will put nitrogen back into the soil, but it can also eventually lead to thatch. If it starts to build up, bag the clippings behind the mower or rake them up and put them in your compost pile instead.
One you’ve got a healthy, beautiful, green lawn growing you can point your attention to the little details that really make your home stand out, like edging. Neat, trim edges down the sidewalk and around paths and plants show the world you really take care of your yard. A Step Edger makes the process easy and efficient. Just go around the edges of the lawn, trim them up, and enjoy being the envy of the neighborhood.
With these projects completed, your yard will look pristine and beautiful all summer long. The grass really can be greener.