If you feel green with envy when you look out the window at the lawns of your neighbors, you are not alone.
Many people try dozens of ideas to make their lawns look better. The first thing a home owner should tackle, especially if looking to increase their home’s curb appeal, is the lawn.
With these five tips for a better lawn, your lawn can be healthier, greener and even more environmentally friendly.
Dealing with problem spots.
Fixing problem spots should be done as quickly as possible.
Aeration can fix a lot of problems, such as thatch, mildews and sparse growth.
Thatch is a layer of decomposed material that lies on top of the soil and beneath the leaves of grass.
A thin layer is a sign of a healthy lawn. However, when this layer becomes too thick (more than a half inch), it can start to become a problem. It can prevent moisture from being absorbed by the grass, provide a habitat for fungi to survive the winter, and then attack in the spring and summer.
Spring and late summer are the best times to remove excess thatch.
You can use a vertical mower set to slightly penetrate the thatch layer, or use an aerator to promote thatch decomposition. Aeration helps with most lawn problems, as it jump starts the chemical processes needed to promote healthy grass growth.
When and how to seed.
Whether you are starting a small patch or planting an entirely new lawn, be sure to choose a seed type that can handle the climate conditions.
The experts at a farm and garden store recommend mixing different grasses together in a seed blend. This promotes healthy growth by introducing a little bit of competition, but not enough to be harmful.
Different types of grasses also have different nutrient requirements.
A lawn with only one type of grass can quickly deplete the soil, while a mix means you won’t have to fertilize as often.
Be sure to do your own research on what seeds and grasses work best in your home state. Keep in mind the length of the growing season, the level of heat and amount of rain.
The best time to seed is usually in late summer.
It is extremely difficult to achieve the correct seed-to-soil ratio by simply throwing grass seed on the bare soil.
The best option is to aerate the ground beforehand to give the seeds some purchase in the soil.
After you prepare the soil, spread the seeds twice, first going in one direction, and then going in the other.
Make sure the soil is moist to a depth of 4 to 6 inches for best results.
The height of the grass is an important determinant of its health.
Taller grass promotes deeper and stronger root systems.
For most types of grass and in most climates, a grass height of 2.5 to 3 inches is ideal.
The frequency that you need to mow will depend on how fast the lawn grows past this ideal height.
Keep your lawnmower’s blades sharp for a clean cut, which will prevent the blades from snagging and pulling up the grass by its roots.
Fertilizing your lawn during the spring and autumn helps to ensure that it gets the proper nutritional mix for optimal growth.
The fertilizer also helps to strengthen the grass so that it can block out any weeds that might try to grow.
The right type of fertilizer depends on the type of grass that you have. You will need one that offers a slow release of nitrogen throughout the growing season.
Once weeds have emerged in your lawn, take quick action so that they do not go to seed and propagate more of themselves.
Use a citric or acetic acid solution and spray it onto the weeds. Add a few drops of clove or garlic oil for enhanced weed control.
Be wary of industrial strength herbicides, as these can often be indiscriminate in what they kill.
If you only spot a few weeds, pulling them by hand—and making sure you get the roots—could be the simplest solution.
Getting a green lawn takes time, energy and patience.
Your lawn did not get scraggly or brown overnight, and it will not turn around overnight.
With attention and proper care, your lawn can regain its beauty and health and you will be able to look out your windows with pride.