After a long, cold winter, it’s finally springtime. Leaves on the trees are returning, flowers are blooming, and everyone’s lawn is starting to look beautiful…except for yours. So what can you do to change this? In this article, we’ll explore some simple steps you can take this spring in order to make sure that your lawn is the greenest on the block—and to make sure it stays that way.
So roll up your sleeves and let’s begin!
Tip #1: Start Your Lawn Regimen Early
The reality is that attaining the greenest grass on the block isn’t an overnight process. It can take weeks of work, so the earlier you start the better. However, the good news is that if you begin with the right steps from the get-go, and follow the proper procedures, you could easily have the greenest grass on the block by the time summer rolls around. Are you ready?
Tip #2: Just a Little Off the Top, Please
Since spring is the time of year when your lawn begins to grow in earnest, it can be tempting to cut it fairly short. After all, the shorter you cut it now, the longer you can wait until you’re required to mow again, right? Perhaps, but let’s take a look at why this probably isn’t a good idea.
Instead of cutting your grass very short and mowing it between long intervals, most lawn experts recommend mowing once every 1-1.5 weeks, and just trimming the very tops of the blades, which actually maximizes greenage and healthy growth. But why is this?
As odd as it may seem, cutting your lawn too short has several repercussions. First, it weakens the grass and allows weeds to take over. Second, mowing too short causes the roots to penetrate less deeply into the soil, which means that it will require more frequent watering in order to remain healthy. And finally, mowing your grass too short invites insects (such as ants) to move in, as they don’t like longer grass height.
A general rule of thumb is to mow your grass at a height of between 3-4 inches, which typically represents the highest (or second to the highest) setting on your lawnmower. Also, keep in mind that if the tips of your grass blades are brown and jagged, this is a sure sign that your lawnmower blade is dull. Fortunately, your local hardware store should sell sharpening stones. Alternately, some of the larger stores may even have a sharpening service that can handle the whole process for you.
Finally, it’s best to leave your grass clippings in your lawn after mowing, which return essential nutrients into your soil as they decompose. We’ll be the first the admit that this may not be the most attractive option, so an alternative is to collect your lawn clippings and place them into a compost pile, which can then be spread at a later date.
Tip #3: Water Your Lawn, but Not Too Much
According to Scotts, a good rule of thumb is to provide about one inch of water to your lawn per week, preferably all at once. Doing so will provide adequate hydration for healthy growth, and will also provide deep watering that leads to deeper root growth. On the other hand, short, shallow watering leads to shallow root structures, which makes your grass less drought resistant, and more susceptible to weed growth and insect infestation.
In addition to the amount, the time of day that you water your lawn is equally as important. This is because, especially as we get ever closer to the dog days of summer, mid-day heat can cause a significant portion of your water to evaporate, and ultimate not benefit your grass at all.
However, don’t lead yourself to believe that you should water your grass at night, because this can often lead to fungus growth and insect infestation. Instead, the best time of day to water your lawn is in the early morning. Why? Because this represents the optimal time where water will quickly trickle down into the soil, and not remain on your grass for hours.
Tip #4: Maintain Your Good Lawn Habits
Once you’re cutting your grass down to the proper length and watering it on a regular basis, it’s now time to address basic maintenance, which means two things: fertilizing and weeding.
When it comes to fertilizing your lawn, you’ll have hundreds of choices, so how do you pick the right one? If this is your first foray into lawn fertilization, you should probably speak with someone in the lawn and garden department of your local home improvement or hardware store. In fact, if you can snap a couple pictures of your lawn with your smartphone and bring them in with you, this might help the associate make a more informed decision about what you should use to make it look its best. Which brings us to the next point…
It’s not only important to choose the proper fertilizer for your lawn, but also how you use it—more specifically, in how you apply it. This is because fertilizer is a chemical, and if applied in too high concentrations, can actually “burn” your lawn (e.g. kill your grass and lead to huge brown spots). Instead, something like the Scotts Turf Builder 23-lb Broadcast Spreader can broadcast your fertilizer of choice in just the right concentrations, and in a completely even manner. A good rule of thumb is to leave your spreader on the “3” setting, unless recommended otherwise by your lawn and garden professional.
Don’t have a spreader? Then wait until you do before broadcasting your fertilizer. Otherwise, spreading by hand can cause the fertilizer to clump together and to burn sections of your lawn.
If applied in proper concentrations, many fertilizers also contain anti-weed agents that will prevent unwanted growth in your lawn. Unfortunately, these fertilizers will not tackle existing weeds, which means that you’ll have to grab some gloves and manually de-weed your yard by hand. The good news is that this process will give you an up close and personal view of your lawn, and will allow you to locate small problem areas that you might not have noticed otherwise. As long as you apply your fertilizer in the proper concentrations, de-weeding by hand will typically only occur once, with small follow-ups at regular intervals.
Tip #5: Keep it Up
When it comes to keeping your lawn as green as possible for as long as possible, the previous tips will help get you there, but once you’ve arrived, it’s important to stay on top of things. This is because your lawn is not static. Instead, it’s a living, breathing, growing organism that changes over time. In other words, after the spring and summer have passed, you’ll need to change your maintenance regimen to make sure it remains as healthy as possible, and ready to provide months of enjoyment next year.
Unlike during the spring a summer months, it’s generally a good idea to cut your grass shorter (typically down to 2-3 inches) during the fall months, although continual deep watering is still necessary during this time, as long as you haven’t reached freezing temperatures. Right before winter rolls around in earnest, it’s a good idea to apply a winter-specific fertilizer, such as Scotts Winterguard, which will help your lawn spring into action once the cold weather finally lifts. Other than this, unless you live in an area of the country with very mild winters, you can all but stop your lawn maintenance during the winter.
What’s the Secret to a Beautiful Green Lawn this Spring?
In short: You! Regardless of the state your lawn may be in right now, by following the five simple tips above, you too can have a lush, emerald green lawn this spring and summer. In other words, you’ve got all the information you need; now it’s just up to you to take action. So get outside, get your hands a little dirty, start using your green thumb, and you could have the greenest grass on the block in no time!
Do you have any tips or tricks that you’ve reliably used to make your lawn the greenest on the block? If so, share your insight with the world by leaving a comment below!