6 Steps to a perfectly green lawn
Every homeowner wants to keep their lawn looking green and healthy. After all, a tired, wilted lawn makes your whole property look a bit of a mess, so it’s important that you take care of your grass. However, this is easier said than done. There are plenty of mistakes that people make with their lawns, from over-watering to not putting down enough fertilizer for their grass to grow properly. If you want to keep your grass green, then read on to discover our top tips for a garden that looks great all year round.
1. Know how and when to fertilize your lawn
Before you even think about laying down those grass seeds, you’ll want to ensure that your soil is already in top condition to promote grass growth. To do that, you’ll need to use a high-quality fertilizer. A good fertilizer should provide a healthy amount of nitrogen, so that the grass has all that it needs to grow properly. However, too much nitrogen can be as bad as having none at all, so be careful not to overfertilize your lawn. If you do, you might find that you experience “yard burn”, where there are large patches where no grass grows, or that your lawn is discoloured in places. The same thing goes for phosphorous and potassium, the other key nutrients needed for grass growth.
Of course, it’s not enough to just lay down fertilizer before the grass starts growing, to keep your lawn looking green and healthy, you’ll want to put together an annual fertilizer programme for your garden. This doesn’t have to be too complicated, and it can be as brief as a reminder of what to put down at what time. In the autumn and winter, opt for a fertilizer that’s rich in potassium, to make the grass stronger and more frost-resistant. Applying this type of fertilizer from September to December will give you the best results. Then, in March, choose a nitrogen-rich, quick release fertilizer to encourage springtime grass growth, before a final application of slow-release fertilizer in May, which should see you through the summer.
2. Aerate before you fertilize
As well as putting down a healthy amount of fertilizer, you should also think about aerating your lawn before you sow your grass seeds. This type of lawn care is done with a tool that contains multiple spikes, which you roll across the lawn. This makes a series of small holes in the soil, which allows water, air, and important nutrients to better soak in. Ideally, you should aerate your soil twice a year, in the spring and autumn, just before you fertilize the lawn. That way, you’ll get the maximum results from fertilization, and you’ll see a rich, healthy lawn grow up in a much shorter space of time.
3. Don’t forget to water your lawn
Of course, as well as fertilizer, the other thing that grass needs to grow green and healthy is a suitable amount of water. We’re lucky in the UK in that we tend to get a suitable amount of rainfall for a healthy rainfall throughout the year, so unlike in the US, you probably won’t need to invest in a full built-in sprinkler system. One or two sprinklers should be plenty, and you should water any parts of your garden that the sprinklers won’t reach with a hose. You only really need to do this during the summer, and how frequently you need to water your lawn will depend on the type of soil on your property. If your soil is rather sandy, then the grass will need to be watered after a few days of warm, dry weather. On the other hand, those of you with clay-rich soil will likely be able to go a week of this weather before watering.
Although you might feel the need to water your lawn pretty frequently, you should only really do so when the grass starts to dry out. Keep an eye on the grass itself, and when it starts to shrivel a little at the end, it’s time to get the hosepipe out. If you water your lawn too much, the grass will only grow shallow roots, limiting its ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. If you know there will be times in the summer when you can’t water the lawn, such as a lengthy holiday, then choose lawn seed that’s drought-resistant, so that when you’re back home it will quickly bounce back to a luscious green lawn.
4. Don’t cut that grass too short
It’s certainly tempting to mow your lawn as low as possible. After all, by doing that, it will take longer to grow too long again, and you’ll have to mow less often, saving yourself a lot of work. However, if you’re really committed to obtaining that perfect lawn, it’s recommended that you let it grow a little bit longer, and therefore mow more frequently. By mowing your lawn as short as possible, you’re putting extra stress on the grass, limiting its ability to grow to its full potential. The roots won’t be as deep, and what’s more, the grass will be less able to resist weeds and survive dry periods. On the other hand, by setting your mower blade to a length of around three inches, you’ll be giving your grass an easier job of growing up strong.
5. Overseed to cover up barren patches
No matter how hard you try to keep your whole lawn looking green and lush, it might be the case that you have patches which simply aren’t as green as others. This is especially common around September, when your current crop of grass will likely be tired and drought-damaged after the summer. If this happens to you, then there’s no need to worry, there’s an easy fix which will soon sort out the problem. Firstly, you should mow the area you want to overseed as short as possible, so that the new seeds can easily germinate and grow without having to battle it out with the worn-out grass that’s already there. The best time to overseed your lawn is after a healthy amount of rainfall, so bear that in mind, too. Then just mix the seeds in with some compost, ensuring that the mixture is nice and moist, then spread it over your lawn and apply some fertilizer. You should find that within a fairly short space of time, those empty, worn-out patches are now filled with healthy looking green grass!
6. Watch out for weeds
Finally, if you care about the appearance of your lawn, then you should put weed and moss control at the top of your priorities. As with fertilizing, you shouldn’t use weed-killer too often, since this can end up damaging the grass itself due to all the chemicals in it. Instead, limit yourself a couple of times a year. May is the best time to put down weed-killer, since this is when all the weeds will have germinated- allowing you to eliminate them root and stem. Avoid weed-killer throughout the summer, since it can burn the grass in hot weather. If any weeds crop up during this time, then it’s best to pull them up by hand. If you find that a lot of weeds grow on your lawn, then put another round of weed-killer down in September, to wipe the rest out before the winter.