id you know that grass is the biggest irrigated crop in the United States? It’s no wonder, considering how almost every house in America is accompanied by a lot filled with the stuff. Whether your yard is small or big, taking care of your lawn is so important if you want your home to have eye-popping curb appeal and beauty. Many of us don’t realize it, but grass that is well taken care of makes any home look prettier and better maintained.
There are a lot of steps in taking care of a lawn, but it’s not nearly as complicated as it may seem. By just practicing a few basic lawn care tactics, you can make your yard look like a million bucks.
Cutting, Mowing, Clipping — Whatever You Call It, Do It!
Overgrown and unruly grass may be a pleasant sight for a nature reserve but not for your lawn. Regular mowing is an essential step in lawn care.
Almost everyone knows that grass needs to be cut. It’s the practice that may be the quintessential American teenage career. (Seriously, there have been iconic teen films seemingly centered around the act.) But you don’t have to be a teenager to learn the art of cutting your grass!
Cutting your grass is known to be an aesthetic practice, keeping your lawn looking the best it can, but proper mowing does a lot more than keep your grass looking pretty. By cutting your grass by a maximum of two-thirds of its blade length — never cut below a third of the length! — you can make your lawn look better as well as prevent weed growth! Close cutting your lawn — also known as breaking the one-third rule — can be disastrous for the grass, making for an overall ugly and unhealthy looking lawn.
Lawn mowers are the tools that most people use to cut their lawns, and with a lot of options on the market, it can be a bit overwhelming for new homeowners to pick a machine that will work best for you. For yards with acreage, you may want to consider investing in a riding mower, but most people will be fine with a standard push mower to cut their grass. Ask an employee at your local home improvement store which models they recommend for your lawn or check out this handy review.
Fertilizers to Feed Your Grass
Believe it or not, lawns are comprised of millions of little plants that all need energy and nutrients to look their best.
You can think of fertilizers as food for your grass. These mixtures really just comprise of essential nutrients that will allow your lawn to be as healthy and thriving as possible — which means a more beautifully green yard for you.
With fertilizing, timing is perhaps the most important aspect. The most important times to fertilize your lawn are in the early spring and fall, with a couple of applications in between to keep your grass happy and healthy. By fertilizing in the early spring, you are able to get your lawn off to a good start, and with a few more applications later in the spring and summer, your lawn will be thriving. A final application in the fall will get your lawn ready to last through the hardy winter, so that by next spring you can start the process all over again!
While there are plenty of companies that are able to apply fertilizer to your grass — giving you peace of mind and freeing you of the labor yourself — you can easily fertilize your own lawn all by yourself! Fertilizers are only one step in properly “feeding” your lawn, bringing us to…
Watering Your Lawn
Putting water all over a lawn? Is that even possible? Yes, but here are a few tips so you don’t have to water without knowing what you’re doing.
When you think of watering a lawn, images of elaborate sprinkler systems setting off at inopportune times probably flood — ha! — your mind. But in reality, watering your lawn is a lot less complicated, and these pricey systems are not at all necessary for most homeowners.
All plants need water to survive, and grass is no exception. For grass to be in its best condition, most varieties need an average of one to two inches of water per week, a number that may sound like a lot but can usually be covered by mother nature herself. Think your grass may need an extra drink here or there? Simply step on it. If it springs back up, it’s properly watered. If not, maybe it’s time to break out the old hose.
To water your grass, we recommend watering early in the morning, so that your lawn can be quenched before the hot, summer sun can dry it out. Sprinkler systems may sound like an easy fix, but they are extremely expensive and can actually promote overwatering. (Overwatering means higher water bills for homeowners.) Hand watering by hose may sound like a drag, but think of it not as a chore but as a way to connect with the nature that your home sits on, a weekly ritual to keep you in touch with your lawn. For those looking to replace or install new grass, make sure to purchase seeds that are best suited for your region, so you don’t have to worry too much about over or underwatering these precious plants.
Aerating to Let Your Lawn Breathe
Not many people are aware of lawn aeration, but this valuable step can make your grass look better than ever!
Anyone familiar with some basics of lawn care knows about thatch, that piled up layer of dead material lying beneath your live, green grass. It’s a natural and healthy occurrence, but too much thatch can do a great deal of damage to your lawn. To check if your lawn has a problematic amount of thatch, measure if the layer exceeds a half an inch, an indicator that an issue may soon arise. Another familiar issue is highly compressed soil, an issue that usually occurs in lawns with a high amount of traffic or that sit beneath newly constructed homes.
Combating high levels of thatch or overcompressed soil is not a tough job and really only requires a tool known as an aerating machine. These tools can be as simple as a manually pressed aerator to more advanced, gas-powered models. Aerators do exactly what they sound like they do — they aerate your lawn with small holes to provide better airflow and water-flow to your grass! When aerating your lawn, make sure to do so on a day where your soil is moist and your lawn is not needed to look super pristine, since aeration makes your lawn look a little beat up afterwards.
Aerating is not nearly as regular as a practice as the previously mentioned lawn care basics. It really only needs to be done reactively, once a problem has arised in your lawn. Mowing, weeding, and fertilizing are more proactive lawn care on the other hand, since they are done to a healthy lawn to keep it that way.
Weeding, Weeding, Weeding
It may sound tedious and trite, but weeding your lawn is one of the most important steps when it comes to lawn care.
Because lawns are so spacious, weeds have a tendency to thrive in your beautified patches of grass. But don’t let this common occurrence get you down, because weeds are not the end of the world. You really don’t want these plants — placed by anything from the wind to a bird flying overhead — in your lawn due to their ability to spread, well like weeds.
To get rid of these pesky little guys, you have a few options. The first is to pull them up manually. This can be done by hand or with a weeding tool — but always make sure to pull the whole plant out of the ground or else they may come back! Your second option is to use an herbicide to take care of the weeds for you. This method is a bit less physically strenuous, but you should be careful with what herbicide you choose and where you apply it, since it may poison other plants or be toxic to your family (including pets). Either way, by eliminating weeds from your yard, your lawn looks and is healthier and more attractive.
Taking care of a lawn may sound like a lot of work, but the time, care, and love that you put into this wonderfully alive outdoor decor connects you to what lies outside of your home and even prompts a bit of exercise. These basic lawn care tips that we’ve laid out hopefully have given you the knowledge and confidence you need to be well on your way to producing a truly stunning lawn.