September 18, 2016
123’s of Lawn Care—Saving us From Green Envy
Published by Bucks Country Gardens in Lawn & Garden
We’ve all seen the 123’s of Lawn Care to some degree. You’re driving by homes and the green envy hits you; someone’s yard is rich in emerald blades and you don’t know how it could look any more perfect! How dare their yard flaunt such glorious grass? Or, maybe you desire your lawn to be picturesque, as inviting as the rest of your property. Perhaps it’s as simple as wanting your grass and lawn to be healthy. It’s natural to strive for a perfect lawn, but how do we get there, past the building blocks, these “123’s of Lawn Care”?
- 1. Soil care, including watering and fertilization
- 2. Grass care, including mowing, shade, dethatching, and aeration.
- 3. Seeding and Overseeding
- And, for good fall measure: 4. … Lime.
According to Weed Eaters Central, all of these components are important to lawn care and, while their mileage varies in how much they benefit a lawn, acknowledging them can improve a lawn’s life, especially in the fall when these components can fall by the wayside.
1. Soil Care
Soil care is like changing the oil on the car. No one wants to do it but everyone knows oil is a big component to a car running well.
In our region, 5-6 inches of topsoil and some organic matter, such as Bumper Crop, can be integral to lawn health. A soil pH test can help ensure how much additional work you may need at the nutritional level to have a grass friendly lawn.
Furthermore, it’s important to water deeply—but infrequently—so that grass roots can remain healthy in the perfect soil moisture while promoting proper irrigation. With irrigation systems Gold Coast, about an inch of water per week can make all the difference during the growing season, too. The best time to water is in the mornings. There is a smaller chance of disease and the water will evaporate more easily, preventing excess moisture and providing balance.
Fertilization helps surround your grass with nutrient rich feed and can even protect your lawn from weed growth. Late fall fertilizing is often stressed by experts and helps nourish your lawn when it is starving for nutrients and food. So, if fertilizing in early September and October hasn’t done the trick, give it a shot in mid November. We recommend Organic Lawn Fertilizer from Espoma.
2. Grass Care
In our area of Pennsylvania, cool-season grasses are the triumphant heroes of the lawn. They know fall is coming and are equipped to fight the creeping cold—with some help, of course. To promote healthy growth, it’s important to mow when grass is dry. In early spring cut lower, but only remove up to a third of the grass plant in one mowing—cutting greater than a third can jeopardize health. Also, don’t be afraid to leave clippings on the lawn as the mulched clippings add organic matter and recycle some of the nitrogen. When approaching the last few mowings of the season, don’t be afraid to cut low again to avoid snow mold. Finally, for those leery about cutting less than a third of the height, taller cut grass does have its benefits: shading weeds and better access to sunlight for photosynthesis (converting energy to usable fuels for the plant).
With shade-filled areas, it is important to strike a balance. Like a garden or really, any plants, when they’re coexisting, they are sharing nutrients, water, sunlight, and valuable ground space. In short: they’re all vying for the same resources. Find balance with shade because it doesn’t have to be a bad thing; it’s just something to keep in mind with trees and the shadows they cast.
Thatch can be a fortress of tangled grass on the surface that prevents proper moisture, oxygen, and nutrients from entryway to the soil and roots. Get rid of it in September when applicable as it may not be something you need to do annually. To dethatch, consider using a rake or a specialized dethatching rake to comb your soil, effectively loosening and lifting thatch.
Aeration benefits the soil and the grass by allowing oxygen, nutrients, and moisture into the root zones when it may have otherwise been difficult for these necessities to reach them.
3. Seeding and Overseeding
There isn’t too much to say about seeding when it comes to lawn care. It’s the crazy cousin that we invite only out of necessity … and they’re family, much like seeds are a part of growth. As such, only seed or overseed as necessary when large patches need treatment. It’s best to do this in mid-September so things can be established before winter and with proper watering to allow germination.
Soil pH can be a fickle fiend that is forgotten about. Beneath the beauty of our lawns and gardens, there is a scientific world we hardly see, the inner workings of a natural machine. We understand that pH affects turfgrass health. In fact, it governs the availability and consistency of nutrients, pests, and can help thatch decomposition.
Liming, in simple terms, increases nutrient availability and reduces toxicity in soil. There are also beneficial microorganisms that struggle to survive in certain fertilizers and overly acidic soils. Soils can become too acidic for a number of reasons, adding another element to fight. In this regard, lime is the weight we use to tip the scales in our favor when needed, buffering that acidity. We recommend Lightning Lime to strike down that acidity.
To properly lime a yard, stop by our garden center to determine the best type for your grass, soil, and zone. We can also give you a recommendation on pellets or powders. From there on, it depends on your soil pH, which can be determined via a test—see our blog post More Than a Pinch of Good Soil for more info. Then, apply it using a drop-style or rotary spreader. For a spreader, apply half walking back and forth horizontally, and the second half by walking vertically, effectively spreading the lime evenly and completely.
Using these 123’s and considering the addition of lime to your plans for lawn care, you have a better chance of promoting green envy, rather than suffering it. If you have further questions or would like to know our recommendations and additional products for taking care of your lawn, stop by the garden center. We’re glad to assist in any way we can.
Kyle Vargo | Digital Marketing Assistant
David Jones | Horticulturist, Arborist, & Customer Service