There are plenty of different approaches to the care and maintenance of lawns. Some people are happy to cut every couple of weeks and leave it at that, while others view lawn maintenance as an ongoing challenge and responsibility. Some will spend hours every weekend trying to produce perfect, weed-free, evenly grown turf. For the average homeowner, a thick and lush lawn is only a few steps away. Here is what you need to know.
The health of an overall lawn depends largely upon what is hidden from view, the soil. A good quality, well drained topsoil is needed to produce healthy turf. Much of lawn maintenance involves maintaining the soil, so that it can continue to nourish and support the grass.
Compacted soil makes it tough for turf to survive. With reduced open space, neither water nor air can flow freely in the soil, where both are needed. Frequent use for casual sports, riding lawn mowers and other typical uses will all contribute to soil compaction.
Aerating your lawn every year is an effective way to counter compaction. Rent an aerator or, for a comparable price, have a landscaping maintenance company do the work for you. The aerator will take out tiny plugs of soil, creating voids to encourage root growth. It’s a good idea to dethatch your lawn at the same time, raking out the dead grass and debris that accumulates just above soil level.
Topdressing a lawn can be done immediately after aerating. Spread a thin layer of good quality topsoil or compost evenly over the lawn surface. Some of this material will find its way into the holes left from aerating. If there are low spots in your lawn, topdressing will help to level them.
Topdressing and aerating can be done either in spring or fall.
A balanced fertilizer will encourage growth both above and below ground. If you want more green growth in the summer, spring is the time to fertilize. Balance this out with an early fall fertilization to promote root growth while the rest of the turf is dormant. If you fertilize just once per year, many turf experts say fall is the best time. Optimally, however, you will fertilize four times annually.
Weeds, insects and diseases can potentially wreak havoc on your healthy, green lawn. The occasional weed can be hand-pulled, but if you have a problem that is spreading, talk to a lawn care professional. There are a variety of organic methods on the market. A lawn expert can identify your pest and tell you the best solution to get rid of it.
Overseeding and slit seeding are both great ways to revitalize a lawn suffering from neglect. Lightly scattering seed by hand or machine can be done in conjunction with aerating. A slit seeding machine cuts narrow vertical slices in the soil and drop seeds into those spaces. Topdressing and fertilizing is often recommended at the same time.
As a living organism, your lawn is not going to look 100 % perfect all the time, but these basic maintenance chores will keep it in good overall condition. If you are unsure about what your lawn needs, talk to the professionals at Lawrence Park Complete Garden Care. We know the best times, the proper steps and can make your lawn the best on the street.