It would be wonderful if the reverse were true, but a yard doesn’t just take care of itself. Getting a yard to look great is one thing, but keeping it that way is another. Let’s look at 7 helpful tips for maintaining a healthy yard.
1. Aeration and Dethatching
The thatch is a layer of decaying organic material between the soil and the top of the grass. Left untended, it can contribute to areas of poor growth or dead grass, which in turn attract weeds. Aeration is a way of managing the thatch by poking “holes” into the turf. This may look ugly immediately afterward, but this process “churns” the soil and allows water, sunlight, and nutrients to penetrate to the roots better. Raking is another way of removing excess thatch material from the lawn.
2. Manage Leaves, Weeds, and Pests
Weeds like crabgrass and insect pests such as grubs can cause a lot of damage to lawns. Every lawn is going to have some grubs, but large infestations can result in brown patches. To prevent them, you can apply milky spore each year, and if you notice damaged areas, it’s best to call a lawn-care expert to treat the lawn.
To manage weeds, you can apply pre-emergent herbicides in the spring that are effective at preventing weeds like crabgrass from getting a hold. Some weeds such as dandelions aren’t stopped by pre-emergents, so post-emergents that target particular plants or spots are available. When weeds appear, act fast before they spread.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to rake up all the leaves that fall. Yes, large, dense mats can kill the grass beneath them, but a thin layer chopped up into small pieces by a mower serves as a free, all-natural mulch.
3. Mulching and Composting
Instead of buying mulch from the garden center, you can turn grass clippings into a mulch. Just make sure the grass you cut doesn’t have weeds in it or you’ll be helping to spread the weeds!
Composting adds natural organic nutrients to the soil. The end of fall is the best time to do this because the ingredients then have all winter to break down and work themselves into the soil.
4. Proper Mowing
Keep your grass cut to the higher end of what’s recommended for your region. Grass cut too low can sustain damage in hot weather, and lush, healthy grass is more resistant to weeds and insect pests.
Proper mowing also involves choosing the right mower for the job. Take into account the size of the property and the thickness of the grass. Push mowers are inefficient on properties with a lot of acreage, and thicker grass may require more horsepower.
Keeping the mower blades sharp is also key to proper mowing. Duller blades can rip grass instead of cutting it cleanly, leaving a ragged appearance.
5. Proper Watering
Water deeply and less frequently. Overwatered lawns can get soggy and muddy, with grass damage resulting. They can also turn into breeding grounds for mosquitoes. To stick to a proper schedule and avoid overwatering, use a timed sprinkler system that you can adjust as needed. In the summer, water early in the morning or in the evening to reduce evaporation (and save money).
6. Seeding and Fertilizing the Right Way
The best times to add new seeds are early spring and in the fall. Early spring provides grass time to grow and fortify itself against summer, which is harsh on grass. Fall seeding allows it to grow ahead of winter so that it gets off to a great start the next spring.
Since lawns don’t have enough naturally occurring nutrients for grass, you’ll have to supplement it. As with seeding, early spring and fall are the best times to fertilize, though people sometimes do a round in the summer as well. If you are using pre-emergent herbicides, make sure you’re not inhibiting the growth you want!
7. Work with the Weather
This might sound like plain common sense, but a lot of people can get so into routines that they forget to mind what the weather’s been doing lately when working on the lawn. If it’s been wet, reduce watering and hold off on mowing until the grass is dry. During a period of heat and drought, increase watering while mowing less frequently.
Comprehensive Lawn Care by LandArt
If you don’t have the time for keeping up with the yard, or if you worry that you might not do it right, just look to LandArt Solutions for expert help. Just tell us what you need, and we’ll get back to you in short order with a quote. With LandArt, you can leave the hard work to us when it comes to maintaining a healthy yard.