In the case of the lawn, green is the color of health. However, planting, growing, and maintaining a healthy, green lawn isn’t easy. It is no surprise that wealthy homeowners hire professional gardeners to upkeep their lawn.
However, you can have a green lawn without spending too much if you stick to the following 10 simple maintenance tips.
Water infrequently but water deep
We presume you have already installed a sprinkler system in the yard. You probably turn it on for a couple of minutes each week, right? This method of watering, if we can call it that, is utterly ineffective.
For the grass’ root system, it is as if you didn’t turn the sprinklers at all. The trick to watering ta lawn properly is to water the grass deeply but less often. The deeper the water penetrates the ground, the deeper will the plant’s roots grow.
When drought hits, deep roots will help the plant survive, as it can imbibe water from deeper layers of earth. The exact timeline of watering is going to depend on the local climate, soil composition, grass species, etc. On average, you’ll want to water the lawn once a week.
How to tell when to water the lawn?
Watering the lawn is hardly an exact science. No two lawns are the same, so it’s worth learning to recognize the signs of a “thirsty” lawn. Experts advise homeowners that they need about an inch of water across the lawn but how can you be sure that you've reached that inch?
What you need are small containers of all shapes and sizes that you would place all over the lawn. When you start watering the lawn, you will watch the containers fill up to the desired “depth” of one inch. This technique is useful for beginners, as you’ll soon learn to measure that one inch by the naked eye.
Dealing with depressions in the ground
The test with small containers is also good for determining if the grass is watered evenly. When you notice that some containers are filling up faster than other ones, then you might have a drainage problem. One of the main causes of poor drainage are depressions in the ground.
Few yards are 100% flat but even terrain doesn’t mean that you cannot cultivate a verdant lawn. The watering problem is easily solved by adjusting sprinkler heads, so they squirt less water on lower ground. In parts of the yard where you notice dry patches appear, the sprinkler should deliver more water.
Aerating the lawn
The basic rule of landscaping states that in order to have a green lawn, people shouldn’t tread on it. On the other side, we are not at the Versailles where lawns are used as outdoor decorative pieces. The backyard lawn is going to be traversed by adults, children, and pets.
In order to prevent the soil from becoming too compact, you need to aerate the lawn often. This might sound complicated but in reality, “aerating” is just a fancy term for punching holes in the ground. The holes are usually 3 inches long to allow for improved air circulation underground.
When the soil is compacted and hard, earthworms and other organisms beneficial for soil cannot live in it. The quickest way to aerate a sizable lawn is to rent an aerating machine or use more rudimentary handheld aerating tools (that look cool, though).
Storing the tools
Like any other job, lawn maintenance requires a unique set of tools. From the aforementioned aerating shoes to an auto wind hose reel used for watering, all gardening tools need proper storage. The garden shed and the garage are ideal storage units, as watering utensils don’t take up a lot of space. However, they shouldn’t be kept out in the open if you wish for them to last long.
Cut the grass to the correct height
If you wish the blades of grass to grow healthy and strong, then you have to cut them to the correct height. Different species of grass have different requirements but the blades all the way to the bottom will kill off any lawn.
The general rule states that you should never chop off more than a third of a blade’s length in a single go. Furthermore, the blades on the lawnmower should be kept sharp, as a blunt edge will damage the grass, causing it to die off.
Grass clippings should be recycled!
Once you’re done mowing the grass, it’s time to rake the clippings and throw them away, isn’t it? The answer is “no,” as grass clippings can definitely be used as a natural fertilizer. You don’t have to worry about how the grass clippings would look like, as they decompose quickly.
Essentially, clippings are a combo of fertilizer and mulch, protecting the lawn in the most natural (and the cheapest) manner possible. In the long run, leaving grass clipping where the fall helps improve soil texture, saved you time every time you mow, and reduced waste destined for the landfill.
Composting as a side activity
If you are an eco-conscious person, then you want your verdant and healthy lawn to be fully sustainable. The aforementioned clipping can double as great composting material for the compost boy out in the back. There, you will mix grass clipping with organic waste from the household to create organic fertilizer.
After it is ready, the fertilizer can be spread across your property to improve soil quality and infuse the earth with nutrients. The ground that was “composed” has better drainage, which is essential for sandy and clay soil types.
Moreover, composting stimulates root growth and helps alleviate soil-borne plant diseases in addition to warding off garden pests. Finally, topsoil is harder to erode after it was enriched with a layer of organic compost.
There is always room to improve soil composition
In some places, such as Australia, soil quality is utterly poor and deprived of nutrients. Luckily, not all is lost, as soil composition can always be improved, as we have seen from the example of composting. Before you are ready to add minerals to the ground, first test the quality of soil on your property.
Once the results arrive from a certified laboratory, you will know your lawn's unique needs. The test will reveal the soil’s ability to sustain thick, healthy growth based on its pH factor. For soil types with low pH, lime can be added to help the lawn grow verdant.
The benefits of overseeding
It might seem ridiculous to a non-gardener but sowing seeds into existing grass is a great way to “thicken” the lawn. When you overseed, the space between existing tufts is filled, creating a lusher feel and look.
The secret to a verdant lawn is regular overseeding. Make a habit to overseed the lawn once in fall and once in spring. Essentially, you are creating your own grass with overseeding, as different grass species get mixed up. In the long run, this strengthens the grass’ genetics, making it more resilient to diseases.
If your lawn has brown and yellow patches, then it isn’t as healthy as you want it to be. Green is the color of health, so apply everything from aerating to overseeding to improve the condition your lawn is in. Like everything in life, the secret to a healthy lawn lies in regular upkeep.