A lush, green and healthy lawn can not only make your home stand out in the spring, summer and fall months, but it can actually increase the value of your home, too. But think of your lawn as like a relationship with your significant other – getting it green, lush and healthy doesn’t just happen overnight. No, you have to work on it.
While it might seem odd to draw parallels between your lawn and your spouse, think of it like this. If you don’t spend enough time with and lose interest with either, the consequences could be dire. Your spouse or significant other will likely feel neglected and dump you and your lawn will die out. No, we’re not trying to say that caring for your lawn is more important than spending time with your husband, wife or girlfriend, just that both take a fair amount of work to sustain.
So, yes, the bottom line is that in order to have a nice lawn, it takes a little bit of TLC. And we’re not just talking about throwing the sprinklers on every other day or so. How do you get your lawn ready for the dog days of summer and keep it looking green and lush all summer long? Here’s a look at what we call Summer Lawn Care 101:
Spring prep for Summer
- Rake to loosen the soil
- Thatch to remove dead grass
- Aerate your lawn to promote new, lush growth
When the weather starts warming and the rain starts falling, bringing your grass back to life, don’t just sit back and watch your lawn fill in. Now is the time to prepare for the dog days of summer and that your lawn will be able to sustain hot temperatures.
To prep it, give it a good raking, loosening the soil and cleaning up any debris that could prevent grass from flourishing in areas. If there’s a lot of debris on your lawn, you should consider getting it thatched. Thatching removes dead grass and other debris from your lawn’s surface, thereby allowing grass to grow and flourish.
Aeration is another service to consider having done in the spring. This service removes small plugs of your lawn, loosens the soil and makes it easier for oxygen and important nutrients to reach the grassroots, thereby leading to a healthier overall lawn. Following aeration, your lawn will also require less water, as it’s now easier for it to reach the all-important grassroots.
- Use a fertilizer (follow the schedule below).
- Spray for weeds using the right type of weed killer.
- Make sure you are sharpening your mower blades. How do you know if you need to sharpen your mower blades? Look at the grass blades after you mow. Sharpen your blades if they are torn or shredded at the ends.
- Water more on hot summer days and only water in the early morning. Consistency is key.
As a general rule of thumb, you should be feeding your lawn with fertilizer, minimally, around the spring/summer/fall’s three major holidays – Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. However, the healthiest lawns are also fed at the start of spring and prior to winter.
Early spring fertilizers are usually weed and crabgrass preventers (as well as growth feeds) and late fall fertilizers are usually designed to get your lawn prepped for winter. The three in between should be put down to feed your lawn and prevent weed growth.
Also, don’t forget to apply grub-killing spreads in mid-spring to ensure those pesky critters don’t eat away at and kill your lawn.
- Water-smart: Set your sprinklers for either the dusk or dawn hours, when winds are low and the sun isn’t scorching. Low winds will ensure more water gets to your lawn and that sprinkler streams aren’t blown elsewhere. The less powerful sun will ensure that the water has a chance to better soak into your lawn.
- Don’t mow too much: Here’s something that a lot of people don’t realize – you should never be taking more than 1/3 off your lawn each time you cut it.
- Mow high: It might seem natural to cut your grass as short as possible, doing so just puts more stress on the roots – and that’s bad. High-mowed grass has deeper roots that are more drought-tolerant.
- Alternating your mowing patterns: (vertical lines, horizontal lines, diagonal lines) to prevent your grass from growing one way or another. Also to keep in mind while mowing – your mower blade should be sharpened so it cuts easily. A dull blade can add unnecessary wear and tear on the grassroots.