You want a lush, green lawn – but you never seem to get one. While all your neighbors’ lawns grow thick and soft, yours is patchy at best and crunchy to the touch. You mow it and water it – so what gives? Shouldn’t grass just grow?
Actually, the grass is one of the more difficult landscaping features to maintain properly. Your lawn needs specific care to grow healthily, and you probably are making more than a few lawn care mistakes that are killing your lawn slowly but surely.
Fortunately, a behavior is fixable. Read on to learn what you could be doing wrong by your lawn and how you can change to ensure bright green, luxurious grass.
Walking on It
Isn’t the purpose of grass to provide a nice cushion for your feet? What’s the point of a lawn if you can’t walk and play on it?
The problem isn’t in walking on your grass once or even on the weekends, but if you and your family stamp the same path across your lawn day-in and day-out, you are compacting the soil beneath your lawn. Grass needs space around its roots; it prefers looser soil that allows it to breathe and grow.
Therefore, if you are walking on the same areas of your lawn frequently, you should install a hardscaped path to avoid killing your grass. Then, you should be sure to aerate your lawn at least once per year to eliminate any other compaction.
Never Feeding It
The grass is a plant – it doesn’t eat. What, are you supposed to toss it pork chops and gravy every night for supper?
Plants don’t have mouths, but they still eat. Grass absorbs nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium through the soil, but over time, those nutrients disappear, and your lawn starts to starve. You need to add nutrients back into your soil by fertilizing, at least twice per year. If you don’t feel comfortable grappling with the different varieties of fertilizer, you should hire lawn fertilization experts to get the job done.
When the grass is too tall, you mow it. How could you be doing this wrong?
Trimming, pruning and mowing are incredibly traumatic experiences for any plant. Imagine someone clipping your fingernails – and then chopping off half of your arm in the process. You never want to remove more than a third of a plant at one time, and that goes for blades of grass, too. That means you should be mowing your lawn at least once a week (maybe more in the late spring) to avoid stressing your grass with too much removal at one time.
Additionally, you should take a look at the blades of your lawnmower. You wouldn’t want someone clipping your fingernails with a dull, rusty blade. Ragged cuts slow the healing of your lawn, increasing its chance of contracting disease, so you should be careful to keep your mower blades clean and sharp for the health and safety of your grass
Plants do need water, I’ll give you that, but grass needs a specific amount of water to flourish. Any more or less and it will become stressed and die.
Grass needs one and a half inches of water every week, regardless of the season. That means, during the rainy season, you might not need to water your lawn at all. For the other times of year, you should have a sprinkler system installed or a rigid watering schedule to ensure you are giving your grass enough to drink. To measure this, you can set up small plastic containers around your lawn and collect the water after every watering, or you can buy a flow rate measurement device that attaches to your hose.
Didn’t we cover this with walking? You get it – let your grass breathe.
Unfortunately, your feet aren’t the only way your lawn can be deprived of space and air. Debris like thatch, leaf litter and dirt can pile up on top of your lawn and become compacted over time, smothering the roots. That’s why raking is important; you should try to clean up around your lawn every couple weeks and maintain your other plants, so they don’t drop debris that will kill your lawn.
It’s easier to do the wrong things for your lawn, but working hard to treat your grass right will result in a bright, beautiful lawn you can be proud of.