A new lawn is just like a new-born baby. It would help if you had a lot of patience and care while handling it.
While even a little mistake can result in an awful outcome, a slight careful nurturing can help it grow into a beautiful and lovely yard.
Moreover, when you see a lustrous green environment in your surroundings, it gives you a sense of happiness and satisfaction.
But that does not mean you need to work your finger to the bone to grow such a beautiful lawn—all you need to know some golden rules of lawn care. Complementing the guidelines with a few simple tricks and tips will make you an expert in the lawn care process.
This article covers all the basic rules you must follow to achieve your lustrous green yard goal. Additionally, we have included a year-round plan for your garden so that you don’t have to browse through different articles.
Five golden rules for Lawn Care
Water, being one of the grass’s essential components, occupies almost 85% of its body. The grassroots absorb water from different soil layers to transport it to its every cell with the shoots’ help. And the excess of the absorbed water gets discarded from the tiny stomata openings.
Water plays a crucial role in delivering the essential nutrients and minerals to every cell of the grass. This helps the grass seed to germinate and thrives. It also helps the grass leaves to harness the sunlight to prepare their food. Other than that, in the warm summer days, it acts as a coolant to prevent the plant from drying. Moreover, during winter, water traps the sunlight’s heat to prevent the leaves from night-time freezes. So, whole year-round, you need to water your lawn generously, but up to the requirement.
This makes you think: How much should I water?
So, here is the answer. When the grass seeds start germination till it develops its shallow root, they need plenty of water supply since they can’t draw it on its own from the soil layers.
The soil should never get dry. So, during the first week of the newly laid sowed seeds, it is recommended to water them twice a week. After a week or ten days, the turf’s roots start growing and develop into shallow roots. That means they become capable of drawing some amount of water from the shallow layers of the soil. During this period, i.e., from the 2nd to 5th week, watering 2 to 3 times a week will be enough. And when the turf reaches the 6th week, they need to be watered once a week.
The amount of water should be slowly reduced so that the roots can grow longer in search of water. This helps them to develop a deep and robust root system, resistant to drought.
Whenever you water your lawn, try to do it in the morning time. It helps them with the process of photosynthesis and transpiration. And most importantly, water them enough such that the ground remains moist at 4 to 8 inches below the surfaces. You can check that by pressing a long screwdriver in the ground.
Prevent Wear and Tear
During the first few weeks of sowing seeds, they remain fragile when they germinate, and a baby grass comes out. These grass saplings use all their energy to adjust to the growing environment and establish their roots in a deeper soil layer. This is also the case when you install a new turf layer.
Though the grass is said to remain healthy and durable because of the fast healing capacity, yet during this period, they need more attention and care. At that time, establishing themselves in the new ecosystem is more important than repairing wear and tear.
So, during the first three weeks after laying turf or sowing seeds, try not to walk on them. When you need to walk around your lawn for watering even after using a lawn hose, always use laying boards to spread your weight uniformly. This will lessen the damage. And it would be great for your lawn grasses if you avoid any heavy traffic like partying or playing games, etc., on your lawn for the first three months.
Also, never walk on newly laid lawn turf when it is frosty. When it is icy, the water molecules in the grass body freezes and expands. Any physical activity, like walking, mowing, or pressing heavy objects, can cause significant cellular damage.
Mowing and Trimming
When the lawn grass grew too high, they need to be leveled to give it a neat and healthy look. This is where mowing and trimming come into play. Moreover, it also helps the grass grow and keeps the turf thick, velvety, and healthy.
But doing it too early can rip the newly grown grass right out of the soil, wasting all your earlier effort and watering.
So, when you trim and mow?
Once the roots start working their way healthily into the soil, the shoots begin to grow. By the end of the 7th week, they almost reach a height of 3 ½ inches, which indicates you: It’s time to TRIM and MOW !!
First, start with trimming. It is because the mower will chop the cut clippings, reducing the job of raking. Trim the edges and the necessary spots of the lawn neatly.
After trimming, you can start with mowing, but it should be broken into two steps. It is a job that should be done patiently; otherwise, you can stress out the grasses and risk their health. For the first cut, set the mower to its highest setting and mow the grass’s tips. In the next cutting step, follow the one-third rule of mowing, i.e., don’t remove more than one-third of the grass. If the grass loses too much green part (which they use to make and store food), they will struggle to survive.
Leave the small and finely chopped clippings on the lawn. It will undergo slow decomposition and will add fertility to the soil. But remove the clumps to make the lawn smother.
Tip- For trimming and mowing, choose a mild day when the grass remains dry. Wet grass can lead to ununiform cutting.
Before mowing, make sure the blades are dry, which will ensure an even cut. Ragged cuts encourage the spread of diseases, making the lawn look brown.
Alternate the direction of mowing every time you mow. It helps the grass to grow upright and helps to prevent soil compaction.
To give the lawn a neat finishing look, mow at a 45 or 90-degree angle.
Just like human beings, grasses also need nutritious food to remain healthy and green. Without them, they grow weak and yellow, giving a dull look to your lawn.
The most important three nutrients are – nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and phosphorous (P)- together called NPK. They are very much essential for keeping your lawn healthy, healing wear and tear, and building a strong and deep root system.
With a deficiency in food, the grasses become weaker to function and fight diseases healthily. Moreover, in the soil with low nutrients, the weeds can quickly outgrow in number, thus taking away the amount of food available to the grasses.
As per experts, you must feed your lawn four times per year with an equal interval between them. The reason for this frequent feeding is that the lawn losses the nutrients very quickly and easily. Some easily-soluble nutrients like nitrogen compounds get easily washed away with the rainwater, while a few get locked in the soil as unavailable nutrients to the plants.
But out of all this, mowing causes your lawn to lose nutrients in a large amount. When you mow, many of the grass body gets removed, which causes them to lose an adequate amount of minerals and nutrients.
So, to replenish the lost supplements, you need to make sure you feed your lawn sufficiently. It will be more beneficial if you provide some NKP right after mowing. This prompt feeding will help them restore the lost nutrients and give them sufficient time to absorb and use the supplements before the next mowing session.
Hygiene and tidiness
An ample amount of sunlight, fresh air, and water acts as adequate ventilation for the lawn. It also helps to keep the diseases at bay, giving your yard a healthy and hygienic look.
As for the tidiness, try to keep the lawn surface as clean and free as possible. That means to rack the dry leaves or broken twigs and branches and never let the clumps or other dirty objects accumulate on your lawn.
Try not to keep garden furniture or swing on the lawn. If you directly put the patio furniture on the grass, the places beneath it will not get enough sunlight, causing it to be too weak and dry. Sometimes, it may happen that the weight of the furniture has caused it to sink in the garden, causing a depression in that spot. Moreover, every time you will mow, you need to remove them to trim the grasses under it. So much hassle!
In case you need them on your lawn, clean the area and install deck or patio tiles to place the furniture over it.
Suppose you plan to install flower beds and shrubs, hand pruner them to keep them in shape. Or, if you want to plant trees in your yard, make sure to surround it with any good quality weed-suppressing fabrics. The radius should not be less than 3 to 5 feet. It will keep the unwanted weeds and grasses from growing around the trunk of the trees. Thus, the trees can get the underlying soil nutrients all by themselves. Moreover, it will also save you from mowing that sensitive area full of roots. And if still, any grass sprouts, trim them with hand.
Year-round Lawn Care – Season-Wise
The main four seasons of the years are spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Each season has its element, which is why your lawn needs a different lawn care routine in different seasons.
Test lawn’s soil
To get a healthy and lush green lawn, you need to work your way up from the bottom. Before you do on the grasses, you need to make sure the soil is fit for sowing.
A soil test can help you with this. It will tell you about the pH level and the missing nutrients of the soil. Therefore, start every spring with a soil test to know its deficiency and prevent all-year-round problems.
Grasses grow best in the soil with a pH level of around 6.5 (neutral) with the right amount of NKP (nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous). However, adding extra nutrients and fertilizers will do more harm than good. Moreover, it will also be a waste of time and money.
Wake up your lawn
The best way to show your love for the lawn is by cleaning and tidying it up. Giving a thorough trimming and mowing to your yard in the springtime can make it look great!!
Moreover, it will also encourage the grass to grow faster and denser.
However, some lawn grows too dense thatch to allow the soil to breathe and perform nitrogen exchange. In such cases, spring dethatching is an essential tool to maintain an overgrown yard’s soil moisture and temperature.
Elimination of weeds
As mentioned earlier, preparing the soil is the leading job in the lawn care process. The elimination of the weeds should complement it.
In late February, just before the arrival of spring, treat your lawn with a two-step weed removal process. Suppress the weeds before they can even get a foothold in your yard. Please treat them with fertilizer with a pre-emergent herbicide. In the next step, instead of using weed and feed to kill the weeds, use a nitrogen fertilizer to strengthen your yard. And as for the weeds, spot sprays a separate and selective weed control in the places you think are necessary.
This individual treatment of the weeds will give you a more effective and efficient result at a less high price.
After treating your yard with weed controls, please clean up the excess of it from the driveways, walkways, or grass. Otherwise, it will wash into the public waterways, which can be harmful.
Just like we sweat too much on hot summer days to keep ourselves cool, the plant also undergoes the same sweating mechanism (transpiration) to fight the heat. That means they lose more water in summer than in any other season. This is why they need more water to compensate for the lost part. So, it is recommended to water your lawn very profoundly in the summer with an adequate time gap between each session. However, the time gap should be changed with the changing air temperature.
For scorching summer days, water your lawn for at least 4 to 5 days a week for an hour. And when the temperature slightly lowers down, water once a week for an hour time. Never water less than one cubic inch.
Another important thing is you should not water your lawn too frequently. They will always get the available water on the soil’s upper layers and never develop a deep root system. This will cut them down from getting water from the deep layer and prevent them from absorbing more minerals and nutrients.
So, on summer days, keep your lawn hydrated and green by watering generously.
Trim your lawn height
No matter which season is going on, a little trimming will make your lawn look fresh and healthy. A height of 2 to 2 ½ inches is appreciable after applying the 1/3rd cutting rule. Each time you mow, the canopy gets opened, which lets more sunlight reach the ground, thereby causing weed infestation. It also prevents the direct evaporation of water from the soil, keeping it cooler and moist.
So, give your lawn trimming but don’t have it too short.
Generally available broad-spectrum pesticides are designed to kill many insects that may not be present in your region. So, targeting the specific insects damaging your lawn gives you a more effective result with less expense.
Use a low-nitrogen fertilizer and a particular, granular pesticide that targets the specific pest you want to get rid of. This method battles the bugs with the use of the least chemicals.
Remove the thatch
If you have slacked on dethatching in spring, you can do it in autumn. But make sure not to do it too roughly and aggressively, as it may damage your lawn. Make three to four shallow passes and increase the depth of the tines a little after each pass.
Seed your lawn
If you want to reboot your lawn, late autumn is the best season to do so. It is because new seeds need an ample amount of water to germinate. And autumn brings more precipitation, which reduces the need for extra watering from your job list.
As for the seeds, the experts say to buy some proprietary turfgrass seed that can be readily available in nurseries or the internet. Though these grasses are a bit more expensive than those available in the home centers, they are strong and healthy. They grow immensely and don’t require frequent seedling. So, you can save your money in the long run.
Clean the fall leaves
As soon as autumn approaches, the trees and plants prepare themselves for the upcoming winter season by shedding leaves. So, often in the fall season, we find our lawn completely covered with yellow-brown leaves. But if they are left on the lawn for an extended time, they will reduce the underlying grass’s photosynthesis rate, making them weak and underfed. And if the yard enters the winter season with a declined health condition, there is a high chance for them to turn brown and die.
So, rack the leaves away to prevent their accumulation on your lawn.
Feed your lawn
Before your lawn enters the challenging winter season, feed it enough to survive the winter. So, it is time to use another fertilizer!!
Winterizer, specially designed to feed in winter, contains a high amount of potassium. It not only enhances the cold tolerance of your lawn but also developed its root system.
Take some notes
This is the time when you can take a break from landscaping. However, you can utilize the time by taking notes about what went right or what went wrong when trying out any new things. You can also do some research on the local sources, which will help you better understand your lawn.
Clean your equipment
After using the gardening tools all year round, it’s time to clean and store them in a dry place. It is because a sharpened sword will help you to win a battle quickly.
So, what you need to do is:
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Do as the manufacturer say
The manufacturer knows the machines best. So, if he tells to empty the engine before storing, do that way. And if he advises keeping the device with the engine full of oil, make sure to follow the suggestion.
But ethanol-gasoline decomposes very quickly, and if it is left to sit for the whole winter, it can damage or ruin your equipment. In that case, you can mix fuel stabilizers to prevent the fuel-decomposition process.