A green and healthy lawn is not just a feast for the eyes; it gives you a place for recreational activities, helps cool your home by working as a natural air conditioner, releases fresh oxygen into the air to help you breathe easily, and captures dust and dirt (which might otherwise float into your home through the windows) to keep you healthy. But lawns do not just grow healthily out of the earth; they need to be taken care of properly.
So here are seven useful tips for keeping your lawn healthy and green:
- Choose the right species of grass: Some grasses are better suited to the climate and soil of your geographical area than others. So choosing the right grass species can make a big difference in how green and healthy your lawn will become. Also, there are warm season grasses and cool season grasses. Find out which one is better for your location. If you have a longer warm season, then the obvious choice is warm season grass. You probably already have the right season grass on your lawn. But if your grass never seems to grow healthily no matter what you do, then it’s probably time to change your grass.
- Make sure your lawn is receiving enough water: With so much grass growing on it, your lawn needs a lot of water. To stay green and healthy, lawns need one to two inches of water every week. This is no problem in the rainy season as your lawn gets enough water from rain, moisture in the air, and from underground sources. But the dry season is when you should put the hose to work. You should water your lawn regularly to make sure that the grass doesn’t die because of a lack of water. Even in the rainy season, you should water your lawn if there is no rain for several days. The best time to water the lawn is early in the morning because less water is lost to evaporation and it gets plenty of time to dry out. Leaving a wet lawn overnight is not good because the grass becomes vulnerable to moisture-loving mold and fungi.
- Aerate the lawn if the grass is not growing properly: Air is as important for the health of grass as water. You may think that plants get plenty of air as it exists in abundant supply everywhere, but what you may not know is that the roots are often deprived of air, and this is detrimental to their growth. Aerating the lawn reduces soil compaction, improves soil quality, and helps the grass absorb water and nutrients more efficiently. Dig a small section of the lawn – about a square foot – and look at the roots. If they do not extend deeper than 2 inches, it means they are not getting enough air. Water the lawn a day or two before aerating it. Use a core aerator to complete the job. If you don’t have a core aerator, you can rent one. After aerating the lawn, apply sand or compost over the aerated area.
- Get rid of the weeds before they become a menace: Weeds are the enemy of a healthy lawn. They consume resources, take up space, hinder the growth of grass, and make your lawn look unkempt and unattractive. While there are chemicals to remove the weeds, the best solution is to pull them out with a hoe or handheld weeder. When removing the weeds, pull them out completely, roots and all. If you leave the roots, they will quickly grow back. Chemical weed removers are also effective in getting rid of weeds, but make sure to read and follow the instructions from carefully.
- Mow the grass to a uniform height: Left to itself, grass does not grow uniformly over the lawn. It grows unevenly, giving your lawn a neglected look. Mow your lawn at regular intervals to ensure that the grass has a uniform height. But do not cut the grass too low. A healthy lawn should have a height of between 2.5 and 3 inches. The frequency of mowing should depend on how fast the grass grows. You may need to mow more frequently in spring because grass tends to grow faster at that time. To help prevent soil compaction, change your mowing pattern each time you mow, such as at a 45-degree angle to your last mowing direction. This also helps grass grow upright.
- Remove the thatch before it suffocates the grass: Thatch is the matted accumulation of organic debris between the roots and grass blades. Let it become too thick, and it will suffocate your lawn – preventing sunlight, water, air and nutrients from reaching the soil. A one-inch thick thatch can kill the grass wherever it is, causing dead patches and open spaces. Remove the thatch using a thatching rake. You can also use a power dethatcher if you have one. Your lawn will not look nice after dethatching, but the grass will grow back in three to four weeks, and it will look greener and healthier.
- Fertilize your lawn to keep the grass well fed: Air, water, and sunlight are not enough for grass to grow healthily. It also needs a lot of nutrition in the form of minerals, such as carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. Some soils are rich in nutrition; some are not. Growing grass can quickly use up the nutrition in the soil. So you should fertilize your lawn at least once a season and especially when the grass is growing. Use a fertilizer with slow-release nitrogen for cool season grasses and quick-release nitrogen for warm season grasses. But be careful not to use too much fertilizer. Over-fertilizing the lawn can be as bad as not fertilizing it at all. Excessive nutrients in the soil can cause adverse effects on the health of the grass and contribute to environmental contamination.
As you have seen, keeping your lawn green and healthy doesn’t require much hard work as long as you do the right thing at the right time. The important thing is to have a clear idea about what your lawn needs for the grass to grow healthily.