Having a lush, green lawn is at the top of most homeowner’s priorities. The curb appeal your home has can increase or decrease its value. The exterior of your home is also the first impression people have of you when they visit. If you have concerns about your lawn such as patchy spots grass not growing, brown grass, or lots of weeds, there are a few ways you can improve lawn condition at your home.
Lawn aeration is the first step to improve lawn condition and should be down in the spring. Aeration is needed because over time lawns can become compacted due to traffic such as dogs and children. The soil becomes packed together under the grass which leads to poor drainage, air circulation, and the grass ability to absorb nutrients.
Aeration is the process of punching 3-inch holes in the soil. This process can be down using an aeration machine, or you can use a handheld aeration tool. Aeration machines can usually be rented from large rental centers. Using an aeration machine is a lot like using a lawn mower and is much faster and more efficient than using a handheld tool.
Aeration is great for lawns because it loosens the soil and allows for worms and other organisms to do their jobs and care for the soil. Aerate your lawn before putting fertilizer or seed down. Aerating annually will lead to greener, lusher lawns and better-quality soil.
Few people understand how to correctly water their lawns. Many people water not only too often, but not deep enough. The key to watering your lawn is to saturate the ground thoroughly only a few times per week. Lawn care experts recommend that lawns receive one inch of water weekly. To measure the water that your lawn is receiving you can put a rain gauge in your yard. Check the weather forecast for any heavy rain that is coming and avoid watering the day before, of and day after.
When you water your lawn deeply but less frequently, you are giving the roots of the grass a chance to grow deeper and become more stable. The deeper the roots of the grass, the more resistant the grass is to heat and drought. You can use an electronic soil tester to determine how much moisture is in the ground and should only water if the top three inches of soil is dry.
There are many chemical fertilizers that claim to do wonders for your grass, but these fertilizers only feed the grass. Chemical fertilizers do nothing for the soil quality which is what a lawn truly needs to be healthy. Natural fertilizers such as compost work better than chemical or synthetic fertilizers and are better for the environment and human health.
Mowing the Grass
You should understand the type of grass you have growing in the lawn and cut it to the recommended height requirements. Most grass is recommended to be cut to around three inches on average, but this can be more or less depending on your grass species.
Another major factor to taking care of your lawn is to keep your lawn mower in good working condition. Lawn mowers need at least annual maintenance including an oil change, new air filter, and sharpening the blades. You should also make sure that you clean the grass clippings off of the lawn mower with each use.
Some people choose to leave their grass clipping rather than mulching them or collecting them for compost. This process is called grass-cycling and provides nutrients to the soil as the grass clippings decay. Grass clippings also hold moisture and can help your lawn to stay moist and cool. If you do not like the look of grass clippings in your yard, collect them for compost and use as a natural fertilizer.
Getting Rid of Weeds
The best way to get rid of weeds is through natural methods. Chemical herbicides kill the weeds that have already grown and do not prevent them from growing back. While these chemicals do an excellent job of killing the plant on top of the soil, weeds should be eradicated at the root. There are many natural methods to getting rid of weeds. The old-fashioned way of pulling weeds is the best way to remove them but there are organic herbicides and DIY methods that kill weeds.
After the weeds are gone, put a layer of corn gluten meal to prevent weeds from permeating the lawn turf and also helps to fertilize the soil. Using cornmeal is an organic method of weed prevention but does not kill the weeds that are already established.
If you are trying to improve your lawn during the summer and the grass is brown, then your lawn has gone dormant. Trying to improve a dormant lawn is very unlikely to be successful and you should wait until fall to start your lawn rejuvenation project.