If you own your own home or maintain your own lawn, you probably ask yourself this question every time you drive down the street. Why does the neighbor’s lawn always look so much more lush? How is it perfectly green- do they pump a gallon of Miracle-Gro into the sprinkler system every morning? The truth is it’s really less complicated to maintain a soft, vibrant green lawn than it looks. It may seem like the ones who have more time have a better yard, but with a little know-how you can have it just as green in less time.
Proper Mowing Technique
Did you know such a thing as a proper mowing technique existed? It does! An even cut across the entire expanse of your lawn is key in keeping it green and lush. Now that you know, let’s discuss what techniques are there to mowing a lawn.
For starters, you want to keep your grass at its proper height. You can figure this out simply by knowing whether you have cool season grass or warm season grass. Cool season grasses are most actively growing in the spring and fall when soil temperatures are 65 degrees or lower. The most common include Blue Grass, Fescue, and Rye. These should be kept 2 to 3 inches high. The main warm-season grasses are drought-tolerant and can withstand cooler temperatures better than the other warm-season grasses. These grasses include Bermudagrass, centipedegrass, and zoysiagrass are and should be kept at to one inch tall. If you have Bermudagrass, you may need to mow up to 3 times a week!
Now that you know how high your grass should be, the Weekend Gardener offers these tips:
- Mow based on grass height, not day of the week
- Vary your mowing pattern- grass leans and grows in the direction you cut it, going the reverse direction every other mowing keeps the grass from flattening
- Do not cut wet grass
- Keep the height even by raising the deck on your mower when you get to uneven spots
- Keep your mower blades sharp
Proper Soil Nutrition
Keeping up with lawn nutrients keeps the grass healthy, resulting in grass that doesn’t dry up easily. Nitrogen is the fertilizer ingredient to look for, and it should be applied based on the cool or warm season nature of your grass. For example, research tells us that nitrogen should be applied to cool season grasses mostly during warm weather, and applied to warm season grasses during their peak growth in warm weather. This list of fertilizers will help you choose one that is best for your lawn.
Weeds are plants that grow in your lawn that are not grass plants, thus stealing nutrients away from grass, and creating a variation in your perfect landscape. Most people turn to synthetic herbicides to destroy these pests, but are actually doing more harm to their environment than good. Strong chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides can end up polluting our drinking water, our groundwater, and surface water, so it’s important to consider the longer term effects of using them, and to instead make the choice to use a gentler herbicide.
One handy way to control weeds is to grow a lawn so thick and lush that it crowds out the weeds. The grass will shadow the weeds roots, limiting sunlight and killing them. The most environmentally friendly way to get rid of weeds is to pull them up, dig out the roots, let them dry in the sun, and then add them to a compost or mulch pile. However, that method can also take quite a bit of time. If you are looking for a quicker way to effectively get rid of weeds this anti-weed guide has more information on environmentally friendly options.
How does your lawn look?
Do you still feel overwhelmed with your green expectations? Write out a good schedule based on the information that all a lush lawn takes is a little yard maintenance and knowledge, good mowing techniques, correct fertilizer timing, and weeding. With a good summer routine, you can get that lawn to green perfection in no time!
Do you already have that coveted greener grass? How did you do it? If you have any time-saving tips for a manicured lawn, share them! We need our readers to give their input so we all have the bigger picture. We love seeing your responses and answering them!