5 Ways to Keep Your Lawn Green and Beautiful
We all see those neighbors with the perfect lawn and we wonder what the secret is. You mow your lawn before it gets out of control but it's still ugly. How come some people have great lawns that are perfectly green, weed-free, and always perfectly manicured? You might not have loads of extra time and money but the truth is that there are a handful of EASY steps you can take to make great improvements to the way your lawn looks. The best news of all is that you can start RIGHT NOW.
Below are 5 simple things you can do from here on out to get your lawn looking great.
1-THE POO PROBLEM
Let's start with something simple. If you own a dog and he spends any amount of time in the backyard, chances are you have a big POO PROBLEM. While some people are extremely diligent about cleaning up after their furry friends, many others tend to treat their backyards like a big cat box for dogs....(a dog box?). If you want a beautiful back yard, you've got to find a way to solve the poo problem.
What's the problem, you ask? Isn't it just natural for dogs to go to the bathroom in the grass? The answer is yes, it is natural but it's also natural for a lawn to look like a overgrown field instead of like a million bucks!
Obviously the first problem is that poo in the yard is gross. It makes the yard unusable and not the relaxing, comfortable environment you want. The second problem with poo is that if it's left on the grass it can create dead spots (so can pet urine, by the way). Anything that covers grass can eventually kill the grass underneath. The third problem is that when the poo begins to decompose, it leaks a lot of nutrients into the soil in a very particular spot. It's like fertilizer but it doesn't get spread around. Instead it can make certain areas green and growing while leaving other areas less vibrant. The result is a spotty looking lawn.
So what's the cure? Well they say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks but that's just not true. You can train Fido to go to the bathroom in a particular area (it is easier with puppies of course). I did this growing up with a German Shepherd. We taught him never to go to the bathroom in the lawn and you can teach your dog to do the same. Just take him out for the bathroom on a leash until he understands where the bathroom area is and make sure you let him know that going on the lawn is a no no.
If that's too daunting, just make sure you're really diligent about daily land mind clearing. If you have dead spots from dog waste, flush well with water, remove dead grass, and reseed. If you keep up on it, your lawn will thank you.
2-KEEP IT OFF THE GRASS
Grass is a humble plant and just needs a few simple things in order to grow. It needs sunlight, air, and water (among other things). A lawn is made up of thousands or even millions of individual grass plants. When a grass plant doesn't get what it needs to survive, it begins to die.
Lawns have become the place for many things; leisure, play, etc and as a result many different items wind up on the lawn. Whether it's a lawn chair, hose, sprinklers, plastic play place, toys, you name it. Your yard is a great place for activity but when these types of things get left on the lawn they can leave you with dead spots.
When a plant doesn't get the sun, air, and water it needs due to being covered, it begins to get yellow, thin, and eventually dies off leaving you with a dead spot in your perfect lawn.
Even if the grass doesn't die completely, a weak spot invites weeds to grow. So if you don't want dead spots that look ugly and provide a home for weeds to thrive, keep your stuff off the lawn. The same can be said for grass clippings. They can provide a little extra nutrient to your lawn but if they clump up, they can cause dead spots just like anything else.
If you don't fertilize your lawn you probably don't really know what the deal is so let me break it down. Fertilizer is simply food for your lawn. Animals get all their energy and building material from their food. What we eat provides everything in one product. Everybody knows that plants just need sunlight to grow, right? Wrong. Plants do require sunlight but those warm rays only give the plants ENERGY. The sun can't also provide building materials. That's where fertilizer comes into play.
The three primary nutrients that a plant needs to thrive are Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. Each on serves a specific purpose and if your soil is low on any or all of these nutrients, the grass will suffer. Most soils contain these nutrients to some degree but the grass plants absorb the nutrients in order to grow. When they get too tall, you usually come by and chop off the tops of the grass with a lawn mower, and remove all that plant material from the little ecosystem along with all the vital nutrients stored in the blades of grass. By virtue of simply taking care of your lawn, you are depleting the soil's nutrient content.
Fertilization is simply a way of recharging the soil so that the grass there has exactly what it needs in order to grow. If you want your lawn to look truly amazing, you're going to have to feed your grass. If taking on this job is more than you want to take on, consider hiring a professional lawn care company like Twin Pines Lawn Care, LLC to handle it for you. Hiring a professional ensures the job get's done right and when your grass doesn't get forgotten.
4-WATER LIKE A PRO
You're no idiot. you know that you should water your grass but how much water does your lawn need? How long and often should the sprinklers run? Glad you asked! If you haven't really studied the topic, it's easy to get it wrong. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there. If you're like most people, your probably watering TOO MUCH and TOO LITTLE at the same time!
Here is the basic idea: Plant's get their water from their roots. So you can think about it like you're actually watering the soil, where the roots live, and not the plant itself. A strong plant has strong, deep roots and a plant with strong, deep roots is much healthier and better able to stand up to summer heat, disease, pests, and invasive weeds.
Here's a little analogy that can demonstrate how to irrigate: Human's don't generally live in areas with few or no natural resources. We usually don't choose to live in the middle of the Sahara Desert or the middle of Antarctica because it's so hard to find what we need to live in those places. Plants have the same basic instinct. They're not going to live in a place that doesn't have what they need to live. If soil has no moisture in it, roots will not grow there because there is no incentive to grow there. If your soil is only ever watered so that the top half inch get's wet, the roots will never grow deeper than that half inch. If, on the other hand, you water in such a way that the top 4 or 5 inches soil is moist, then the roots of the grass will grow deep.
So the idea is not to water for 5 minutes, 3 times a day, every day. You want to WATER THOROUGHLY. You want to aim to get the moisture level down as far as you can get it. Six inches is a good place to aim but 4 or 5 inches is ok too.
On the other hand, you don't want the grass to always be wet. Too much moisture leads to fungal diseases, mud, and other problems. I you have mushrooms, your lawn has too much water. Your lawn can actually drown in too much water. So what's the solution?
Water DEEPLY and INFREQUENTLY. It's ok (even beneficial) to let the top half inch to an inch of soil to dry out because you've watered further down and the moisture deeper in the soil is still able to be utilized by your lawn. So how often and how long is ideal? Well, in most areas of the country, you can actually get away with only watering once a week! I know how crazy it sounds! Make sure it's a thorough watering though (45-60 minutes per zone). In the height of summer, you may have to increase.
Every lawn is different. If you have hard or clay-like soil, you wont be able to water for as long and so may have to water for less time but more frequently. One easy test is to take a screwdriver and plunge it into the soil. When it becomes difficult, you've hit dry soil. This is an easy way to see how deep the water has penetrated. Aim for 4-6 inches. Happy sprinkling!
5-THE PERFECT CUT
No, I'm not talking about steak. I'm talking about mowing. You mow your lawn or have it mowed so you may think this point isn't worth reading but if you're not doing it right, your lawn aint gonna look good.
I mow residential and commercial lawns for a living so I know mowing. For the purposes of this guide, I'll keep this section to two simple concepts: When to mow and how to get the perfect cut.
There are many people out there who mow every weekend, whenever they have some spare time, or maybe just when the HOA sends them a warning (YIKES). But when SHOULD you mow? The answer is whenever the lawn needs it. That's right. The best homeowners take their cues from the lawn. Ideally you never want to remove more than a third of the overall plant height. So if your mower height is set to 3 inches, you should mow before the lawn gets taller than 4.5 inches tall.
Seems simple enough but if you wait to mow and cut off more than a third of the plant, you're injuring the plants. Injured and week plants are susceptible to disease and pests plus the lawn never looks as good when too much height has been removed.
Getting the perfect cut is the second important thing you can do when it comes to mowing. Not only does a clean, precise cut look good but it also allows the grass to recover faster and resist common lawn problems more easily. The two things you MUST do to ensure a clean cut is to keep your mower in tip top shape and to sharpen the mower blades often. If a mower is sluggish, the blade doesn't spin as fast and get's bogged down more easily.
Similarly, a dull mower blade is like getting an amputation with a dull axe to a grass plant. It leaves the cut edge all ragged and the whole surface of the lawn uneven. Dull blades leave a dead, brown tip on each blade of grass which takes a way from the glorious green splendor of a perfect lawn.
You want your mower to sound like a purring kitten, (a really loud and angry purring kitten but still...) and your mower blade to be as sharp a surgeon's scalpel. Keep up on these two things and you'll get a much better cut every time.
I appreciate you reading this post and hope you got something out of it. Lawn care can seem complicated and time consuming but there are a few easy things you can do today that will drastically improve your curb appeal. Stay tuned for more upcoming posts on lawn and garden topics and let me know what you want to read about!
If you need a professional lawn care company in the Nampa, Idaho area be sure to call Twin Pines Lawn Care, LLC. If not, I hope you found this topic valuable. Thanks again for reading! Until next time...