Three-quarters of US adults live in a home with a lawn or some form of landscaping, yet 69% say that their lawn could use improvement, and 1 in 3 aren’t sure how often they should be watering their lawn at all.
A healthy lawn offers many benefits, and Spring is a great time to ensure that you’re experiencing them.
Benefits of a healthy lawn
A healthy lawn helps to absorb pollutants, produces oxygen, assists in reducing noise in urban areas, and can have a positive effect on mental health. It can also be helpful when selling your home, with recent studies showing a 10-12% increase in property value where a healthy lawn is present.
Well-maintained lawns can even help to keep your family safe from fires, acting as a natural fire barrier. Studies show that a watered, maintained lawn is not combustible, and even dry lawns can be highly resistant to flames. If you live in an area that’s prone to fires, then buffalo, couch, and kikuyu grass variants are worth your consideration.
If you’re unsure as to how best to optimize the health of your grass, you should consider hiring a comprehensive lawn care and maintenance service such as Tyler Lawn Care, or study the following tips to achieve a healthy lawn on your own:
Choosing the right grass for your home is critical in ensuring that your lawn is healthy and low maintenance. When choosing which grass to use, take into consideration the conditions of your property. Is it mostly shady? Do you experience extreme climates? How often are your family or pets using the lawn?
Some lawn varieties require lots of sunshine to thrive; others might not bounce back from lots of foot traffic; some variants actually require shade to grow. Choosing the right lawn for your lifestyle will ensure that your grass looks fresh with minimal maintenance, but a lack of knowledge on the subject may see you accidentally ruining it.
Kentucky bluegrass is a popular lawn choice. It can handle a moderate amount of foot traffic, and is a good choice to complement gaps in lawn varieties with less coverage; however, it is not drought-tolerant. If you live in a drier climate, St Augustine is a solid all-rounder option. St Augustine can handle moderate amounts of foot traffic and hold up to drought conditions well, but it can be very sensitive to chemical weed treatments.
How often you water your lawn is dependent on several conditions, and over-or under-watering can be detrimental to its health. If you have heavier soil at home, thorough watering once a week should suffice for the summer months; you should increase this to twice a week in cooler months, or if your soil is on the sandier side. Grass variants with high drought tolerance require less watering and are perfect for a low maintenance option if you don’t spend much time at home.
If your lawn is newly established, then watering is extremely important to promote growth. Watering too often can cause the grassroots to stop growing at shallower levels, making your yard look patchy. Although overwatering can be tempting with a new lawn, stick to the guidelines for the best results.
Set aside some time in your schedule to ensure that you can provide deep and effective watering at regular intervals. Frequent, light watering which does not penetrate deep into the soil can actually damage your lawn, by making your grass soft and vulnerable to disease.
Mowing your lawn not only makes it look neater; it promotes the health of your grass, too. With regular mowing (weekly in summer, twice a week during the rest of the year), you encourage the spreading of the grassroots, which helps to prevent weeds and to make your lawn look lush.
Ensure that you’re not mowing your lawn too short. If your grass is cut too short, then shallow roots become more prevalent, which may help weeds to grow. Aim to remove only a third of the height of the grass during each mow, adjusting your cutter height where necessary.
If you have a large yard or a yard where some of the grass is on steep terrain, consider a ride-on mower to prevent fatigue; just make sure to choose one with a small turning circle if your lawn contains obstacles. For most yards, a cordless push mower will suffice just fine. Ensure that you pick a mower with a high enough horsepower for your grass variant, and maintain it regularly to keep the blades sharp.
The soil in your yard can become compacted through regular weather events, temperature changes, or applied pressure from foot traffic, furniture, or equipment. If your lawn becomes compacted, you may start to see patchy-looking grass caused by regular growth being prevented, or pooling water causing boggy conditions.
Aerating your lawn regularly may prevent the negative effects of compacted soil. Aeration of your lawn simply means puncturing the ground with specialized equipment, allowing water, air, and fertilizer access to the grassroots to promote healthy growth.
Depending on your yard size and budget, you can aerate your lawn using a regular gardening fork, or purchase purpose-built aerator tools. Larger properties can benefit from hiring a power aerator to save time.
Feeding your lawn is an often underrated, but critical step in maintaining healthy grass. Applying fertilizer every six to eight weeks helps to restore nutrients to the soil, making them available for your grassroots to utilize for growth.
Fertilizer is best applied when rain is forecast, as water will ensure that the nutrients penetrate the soil to the grassroots level, and also stop the chemicals in the fertilizer from burning the visible blades of grass (if you’re not using an organic formula). If you live in a low-rainfall area, ensure that you water your lawn after the fertilizer is applied. The grass should appear visibly greener within a week of being fed.
A healthy, green lawn can go a long way in making your home look and feel idyllic. No matter how much gardening experience you have, you can create and maintain a beautiful yard yourself by following these tips and keeping yourself educated on lawn care.
If you prefer the benefits of a professional touch, consider having your yard expertly taken care of by a lawn care and maintenance service.