A thick, green lawn provides hours of enjoyment for the whole family. It provides a place for the kids to play, a setting for gatherings with family and friends, and a peaceful spot where you can relax with a good book or your favorite podcast. But sometimes, a lush and healthy lawn just doesn’t seem like it’s worth all of the work that goes into getting it that way.
What if I told you that you can have a healthy, green lawn without putting in backbreaking hours of labor? It’s true — greener grass can be yours, and with minimal labor. Here’s how.
For a low-maintenance lawn, the right fertilizer is crucial. Not only does fertilizer provide your grass with the nutrients it needs to grow up healthy and strong, it can also help you control weeds. You just need to follow the right schedule and use the right products.
Your fertilizer schedule and appropriate products depend on where in the country you live, and what kind of grass you have. If you live in Texas, for example, you’re probably growing one of the warm-season, drought-resistant and heat-tolerant grasses that do well there, such as the native buffalo grass, Bermuda grass, or St. Augustine grass.
Whether you tackle lawn care all on your own or enlist the help of a lawn care service, you should fertilize in April, with an all-nitrogen fertilizer for clay-rich soils, and a high-nitrogen fertilizer for sandy soils. Choose a fertilizer that contains a pre-emergent herbicide to kill weeds before they sprout; just don’t use such a fertilizer if you’re planting grass seed, because it’ll stop those seeds from sprouting, too.
A slow-release fertilizer applied in early spring can help keep your lawn fed throughout the growing season. A soil test in May can tell you whether you need to re-fertilize at this time. Some varieties of lawn grass may require continued fertilization every eight to 10 weeks throughout the growing season.
At the end of the season, in October, give your lawn a last winterizing feed with the same fertilizer you’ve been using all season, watering it deeply into the ground. This helps give grass a boost when it becomes active again at the beginning of spring.
The healthiest grass is mowed regularly, and with sharpened blades raised high. Cut your grass when it’s three to three-and-a-half inches tall, and don’t cut off more than one-third of its total height.
Don’t bother bagging up the clippings; leave them right where they fall, so that their nutrients can go back into the soil and feed your grass. Leaving your grass relatively tall helps prevent new weed growth. It also lets you mulch with clippings, feeding nutrients back into your soil, without worrying that huge clumps of dead grass will foster brown spots on your lawn.
Furthermore, you should sharpen your mower blade each season. Dull blades tear, rather than cut, grass, which stresses it and leaves it more vulnerable to disease.
To sharpen your own mower blade, disconnect the spark plug, make sure the gas cap is empty or almost empty and that the cap is tightly closed. Remove the blade with a wrench, and then use a mill file to sharpen the blade and smooth out damage.
The use of a fertilizer with pre-emergent herbicide can prevent new weeds from growing in your lawn, and the application of a broadleaf weed killer can take care of any that do come up. If you want to cut down on your use of chemicals, you can dig weeds up by hand. Apply granular weed control products in the morning, when dew can help them stick to leaves.
Improper watering can also cause numerous problems for your lawn, including weakening drought resistance, promoting fungal growth, and leaving grass vulnerable to disease. Watering late in the day could leave grass wet all night long, promoting fungal growth, and leaving it vulnerable to other diseases, so watering should be done early so that grass gets a chance to dry in the sun.
If you find that your grass dries very easily after watering and has a spongy feel your lawn might have a thatching issue, and you should consider lawn aeration in order to correct it.
Light watering also does more harm than good, fostering shallow root growth and leaving grass more susceptible to drought stress. Water your lawn for at least an hour once a week. Keep your eyes peeled for common lawn pests, and train your dog, if you have one, to do its dirty business in a specific spot so that it doesn’t kill your grass.
Provide your dog with a mulched bathroom area; it’ll be easier to recognize, and cut down on the chances that the dog will decide to go on the grass.
Keeping your lawn lush and green doesn’t have to be a headache. With a little careful planning, you can have a healthy, thriving lawn that’s the envy of your neighborhood — and plenty of free time to enjoy it.
Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.
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