You know the guy. The one who is out in January working on his yard. It’s below freezing, the snow has barely melted, and he’s already getting his lawn ready for those summer months. The thing is, he always has the nicest grass in the neighborhood… until now.
Preparing and maintaining a lush, healthy yard is easier than you think. It will also make the rest of your house look a lot better. The first thing passerby’s notice is your grass. Is it brown? Is it crabgrass? Or is it that nice color that everyone strives for. Oh, and those mowing lines sure do clean up the place. If you want that baseball field look, you might have to do a little work for it, but it’s not a full time job. Simply adhering to a few tips and tricks can take your yard from brown and bare to green and growing. All you have to do is follow these easy rules:
- Fertilize: The early bird gets the worm. Or maybe in this case, doesn’t get the worms. Start early and fertilize often. There are different combinations for every season. Just make sure you pick up the right one. Start with the spring mix and don’t finish until fall is over. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of options at your local hardware store. It’s recommended that you use natural fertilizers though. As long as you match up the correct fertilizer with the current season, your yard will look like a million bucks. And all you have to do is read the back and dump it in your spreader.
- Aeration: The golf courses don’t aerate by accident. They know how to get that… uh… well, golf course look. The trick to poking holes in your lawn is as simple as it sounds. Removing sod allows the soil to breathe. It also lets fertilizer, water, and nutrients seep through to the roots. The real question is: when do you aerate? Most agree that you should practice this method during the times of most rapid growth. That means spring and fall are likely your best options.
- Watering: It’s all about quality, not quantity when it comes to watering. Allowing water to soak into the soil is much more effective than watering multiple times a day. Your roots need a drink every now and then; so really let your sprinklers penetrate when they turn on.
- Cut your grass the right way: Ever see that burnt, shortly cut grass? Yep, that means someone cut their lawn incorrectly. The type of grass you have also matters for cutting height. And of course, you’re going to want those mowing blades nice and sharp. Cutting the grass means just that-cutting. If your grass blades are breaking off, chances are that your color is going to be off too.
- Don’t be afraid to compost: Those grass clippings are actually good for your yard. Who knew? The nutrients get distributed back into the soil as the blades decompose. They also act as a retainer for water. So next time you’re ready to break out the bagger, maybe just leave it behind. Don’t be afraid to put some of your other food waste in your garden either. The same principle applies for your table scraps.
- Weed control: Buttercups may be nice to look at, but they are harmful for your yard. So are the dandelions, crabgrass clumps, and spots of ground ivy. A simple weed killer from your local hardware store will do the trick.
- Keep the pests away: The insects that kill your grass won’t be quite as cute as those pretty little lavender flowers. Worms, grubs, ants, and beetles all take a toll on your yard. You’d think pesticides might be the way to dispose of them, but there are better ways. The good news is that if you water and fertilize properly, these pests won’t ever get comfortable enough to root. If you do find yourself with some critter friends, it’s best to reduce thatch and even experiment with planting other types of grass.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to the nicest lawn in the neighborhood. The only problem is that you’ll also be responsible for hosting the annual block party. You can handle that, can’t you?