Care for Your Lawn
Lawn care depends on your location. Caring for a lawn in California is much different from caring for a lawn in Colorado or Louisiana. Keep soil type and rainfall in mind when planning your lawn care program.
Make sure your soil is healthy
Your lawn requires good, healthy soil to grow well. The soil must contain nutrients, have a good texture and the correct pH level. You can buy pH level testing kits at most garden centers. Slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7 is best for grass. It allows the grass to absorb nutrients easily.
Check the texture of your soil. It can be light and sandy, full of clay or somewhere in between. Your lawn will grow better in soil that is a mix of sand and clay. You can fix an imbalance by regularly adding organic compost to the soil. These additions loosen a clay-filled soil and helps sandy soil retain nutrients and water.
Recommended: Agromin’s Top Dressing for Lawns — a special formulation designed to protect grass seed and to top dress lawns. Using organic material mixed with fine sand, Top Dressing for Lawns works its way down to the root zone and actually becomes humus for the turf. Top Dressing for Lawns never contains human or animal waste, making it safe for recreational activity.
Inspect your soil to see if it has been packed down from heavy clay content or use. Packed soil makes it difficult for water and air to penetrate and for grass roots to grow. To loosen compacted soil, aerate several times a year. An aerator will pull out plugs of soil from the grass that will then allow nutrients and water to reach roots.
Organic nutrients should be added to your lawn annually. Soil simply does not contain enough nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium needed for a lawn to thrive. Check with your local nursery for recommendations.
Choosing a Grass Type
A grass type that thrives in your local climate is key for growing a healthy lawn. Check with local sod farms or home centers for the best grass for your location. If your lawn fails to thrive despite your best efforts, you might consider replanting or over-seeding with a grass type that does well in your area.
When You Mow, Use Sharp Blades, Mow Frequently and Mow High
Maintaining a longer grass cut will make for healthier, stronger and fewer pest problems.
Because longer grass has more surface to take in sunlight, it can grow thicker and create a deep root system. This will aid the grass in surviving droughts, fend off diseases and tolerate pest damage. Long grass will also keep the soil cooler by shading it from sunlight, thus helping it retain moisture. A lawn’s ideal length will vary with the type of grass, but many turf grass species are healthiest when kept between 2-1/2 and 3-1/2 inches long.
It’s also important to mow with sharp blades to prevent tearing and injuring the grass. And it’s best to mow often. The rule of thumb is to mow so you never cut more than one-third of the height of the grass blades. Save some time and help your lawn and the environment by leaving short clippings on the grass–where they recycle nitrogen back into the soil.
Water Deeply But Not Too Often
It’s best to water only when the lawn really needs it, and then to water slowly and deeply. This trains the grass roots to reach deeper into the ground. Frequent shallow watering trains roots to stay near the surface, making the lawn less able to find moisture during dry periods.
Every lawn’s watering needs are unique: they depend on local rainfall, the grass and soil type, and the general health of the lawn. But even in very dry areas, no established home lawn requires daily watering.
Water your lawn in a way that imitates a slow, soaking rain. Use trickle irrigation, soaker hoses, or other water-conserving methods. It’s also best to water in the early morning, especially during hot summer months, to reduce evaporation. Apply about an inch of water– enough that it soaks 6 to 8 inches into the soil. Let the lawn dry out thoroughly before watering it again.
Water only when the lawn begins to wilt from dryness, the color dulls and footprints stay compressed for more than a few seconds.
Correct Thatch Build-Up
All grass forms a layer of dead plant material, known as thatch, between the grass blades and the soil. When thatch gets too thick –deeper than one-half inch–it prevents water and nutrients from penetrating to the soil and grass roots.
You can reduce thatch by raking the lawn or using a dethatching blade on your lawn mower that breaks up the thatch. Sprinkling a thin layer of Agromin’s Top Dressing for Lawns over the lawn will also help.
In a healthy lawn, microorganisms and earthworms decompose the thatch and release its nutrients into the soil.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic goals will allow you to conduct an environmentally sensible lawn care program. It’s probably not necessary to aim for putting-green perfection. Did you know that a lawn with 15 percent weeds could look practically weed-free to the average observer? Even a healthy lawn is likely to contain some weeds or pesky insects, but it will also have beneficial insects and other organisms that help keep pests under control.
Realize that grass can’t grow well in certain locations. Why fight a losing battle with your lawn when you have other options? At the base of a tree, for example, you might have better luck with mulch or shade-loving ornamental plants such as ivy, periwinkle or pachysandra. If your climate is very dry, consider converting some of your lawn to dry-garden landscaping. It could save time, money and water resources.
Recommended: Agromin’s Walk-On-Bark — use in place of lawn in hard-to-grow areas. This bark is also used for beautification, as a top dressing and for weed & erosion control. Walk-On-Bark is a virgin wood or bark that comes from Fir trees, is red in color and 1/4”-3” in size with some bark chips.