How to have the best lawn on the block
It’s not a competition, but most homeowners feel a certain pride at the sight of a lush, green lawn. Many people think that achieving the consistent appearance of a golf course requires lots of work and money. This just isn’t so.
Here is a simple 3-step approach to a great looking lawn:
- Rake – Gently, using a broad leaf rake, not a “hard” garden rake that will rip grass plants out by the roots. The idea is to remove winter debris and allow the grass blades to stand up straight so that air circulates through to their base.
- Fertilize – Use a good quality, slow release fertilizer. Look for a high first number on the three number analysis; this represents the percentage of nitrogen in the bag. Nitrogen provides the element that lawns crave the most in spring. A slow release nitrogen ingredient will provide consistent, slow feeding over 10 to 12 weeks. Note: phosphorus free lawn produces are also available at your neighborhood Do it Best store.
- Seed – If you lawn looks thin in places over seed by spreading approximately a 1 inch layer of triple mix or top soil over the area. Then broadcast a thin layer of quality grass seed over the soil by hand. Allow the seed to roll off your index finger as you move you arm from side to side in a sweeping motion. After seeding, rake it smooth and step on it to firm the seed into place. Water frequently until germination occurs (usually four to six weeks.) Remember that the quality of your lawn is determined by the pedigree of the seed you sow. It pays to buy the best quality grass seed in the first place.
What about aerating?
Rolling the lawn?
Aerating opens up the soil around grass roots and allows oxygen to move freely. Although golfers often believe that aerating the green every spring improves its performance, in most cases it only needs to be done every four to five years, in early spring when soil is moist from the winter thaw.
Rolling your lawn generally does more damage than good, especially in spring, when lawns are moisture-laden. Use the lawn roller to press soil into contact with newly seeded lawns, and even then, make sure it’s only one third full of water.
De-thatching removes dead grass stolons and roots from the base of grass plants. Truth is, your lawn needs about a 1 inch layer of thatch to protect it from drought and to provide an organic insulating blanket at the root level throughout the growing season. Get a professional opinion before you attempt to de-thatch your lawn.
Lawn maintenance is not time consuming or expensive – it is a question of the right timing and good quality products. Take the time to prep your lawn this spring, confident that your lawn may be the best-looking one on the block!