Any suburban dweller with a plot of grass in front of their home knows the status that comes with having a green, lush, weed-free lawn. Though it may seem like having a great lawn is a luxury for those with endless free time to spend on their precious grass, it is not as far out of reach as you may think. Follow these simple tricks and soon you’ll be basking in the glow of your “best lawn of the month” award…without spending four hours per day on yard work.
Figuring out the ideal time to water and the amount of water that your lawn actually needs can be tricky. However, it is the single most important step in cultivating a healthy, lush lawn. Though it may be tempting to turn your sprinklers on for 10 minutes each morning and evening, this light, sporadic watering doesn’t really do much for your grassroots. Ideally, you should water your lawn at least one inch per week.
Most sprinklers put out an average of 1 inch for every hour. However, if you want to measure your sprinkler output, simply place a few containers around your yard, set a timer, and let your sprinklers run until there is 1 inch of water in the bottom of the containers. This test will also help you discover any inconsistencies in your sprinkler system and adjust where necessary.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your sprinklers on for at least 20 minutes in the early morning on three days of the week to help your grass establish roots and store water for hot, dry periods. Of course, depending on your climate and any watering restrictions, you may have to adjust the timing and frequency accordingly.
Train your dog
If you have a dog, you know how destructive they can be on a yard. While the best thing to do is to keep them out of the front yard entirely and fence them an area in the back, where your yard is not as prominent, you still want to keep your backyard grass healthy. Designate an area that is specifially for “potty time” and train your dog to go to this area to do his business. Be sure to give him plenty of exercise, toys, and attention and avoid leaving him alone in the yard for long periods to prevent any destructive behavior such as scratching and digging.
Keep the mower blade sharp
Using a dull blade to mow your grass pulls at the grass and creates jagged edges that are more susceptible to drying out and turning brown. These hacked-off blades of grass require more nutrients and water to recover and can become diseased. Perform regular mower maintenance and sharpen the blade at least three times per year.
Use natural fertilizer and weed killer
Not only are natural fertilizers a better choice for the health of your family and pets, but they can also make your lawn look greener and lusher as well. Only use organic, non toxic products to fertilizer your lawn and spray an organic week killer in the spring before weeds can pop up. You can also pull out large weeds such as dandelions by hand.
Choose the right type of grass
If you are starting from scratch with a totally barren, tilled piece of land for your future yard, you will want to choose your grass seed or sod carefully. Research what type of grass does best in your area and plant according to the package directions.
Don’t cut too short
Though you may like to skip cutting your grass for a week by shearing it down incredibly low, this is practically asking for weeds to sprout. Set your mower taller so that you are only cutting off about 1/3 off the top of the grass. That way, the shorter grass clippings can decompose and will add vital nitrogen to the soil.
Aerate your lawn
Aerating is essentially punching holes in your yard to help break up compacted soil and prevent issues such as poor drainage and inadequate air circulation. Now don’t just grab a spike and start stabbing at your grass, you will want to purchase a hand aeration tool and use it once per year. This will encourage a healthier, greener lawn with beneficial organisms such as earthworms.
What are your tips and tricks for keeping a healthy lawn? Let us know in the comments below!