Lush lawn: 4 steps to improve your lawn’s vigor
As temperatures get warmer, our thoughts quickly turn to spending time outside, walking barefoot on the grass and enjoying lazy days on lawn chairs, sipping lemonade. Those daydreams are always colored by perfectly green grass.
How can you bring those dreams of a lush lawn to life this year? We have four tips for invigorating your lawnscape, many of them taken directly from a page in agriculture’s book.
It all starts underground
Farmers know the importance of soil testing to ensure that the soil and plants are getting the right nutrients to help their crops. While this practice is not widespread in the home lawn area, running a soil test in early spring can be a great tool to create a strong basis for a healthier lawn. Knowing what type of soil is in your lawn will guide you to plant a type of grass that is hearty for your geographical location, alert you to possible watering concerns due to your soil type and notify you what nutrients may be lacking in your soil.
You should also aerate your soil to allow for oxygen to circulate around roots and break up any compaction. The type of soil in your lawn will dictate how often you should aerate. Clay soils should be aerated at least once a year because they are prone to compaction. Sandier soils can be aerated less often.
Nutrition, inside and out
Once you know what kind of nutrients should be supplemented and have planted the appropriate turf mix for your lawn, you can choose what kind of fertilizer to apply. A good place to start is usually an NPK fertilizer, which is made up of nitrogen to encourage growth, phosphorus to aid in expanding the root system and potassium for plant vigor, like Alltech Crop Science’s amino acid-based Nature’s Basics®. By providing the soil and grass with essential nutrients that improve organic matter, stimulate growth and promote a healthier, more balanced plant, a home user can experience results similar to what growers around the world see in their crops.
Trimming the verge
To maintain grass health and decrease competition from weeds, the rule of thumb is to not mow more than one-third the length of your grass blade. Cutting the grass too short can weaken the root system and leave the grass more susceptible to stress from drought and increased temperatures. Shorter grass also exposes areas in the ground where seeds can easily take root and thrive. Taller grass, on the other hand, will have a deeper, more developed root system with wider and thicker blades that help shade the soil and minimize water evaporation during times of high temperature.
Dressing for the weather
In the late fall, it’s time to prepare your lawn for falling temperatures and provide a good starting point for the following spring. Apply a top dressing, spreading it in a thin layer over your lawn and working some of the material into your aeration holes. This will help encourage the decomposition of thatch and help keep the area from drying out due to winter weather.
These four simple steps can go a long way in transforming your lawn from simply average to a lush landscape that you can enjoy long after the fireflies have gone for the year.