Lawn Care

High-Quality Lawn Care Ideas

As crocuses bloom and lilacs flower, the onset of spring signals that it’s time to start your lawn care. Follow these High Quality Lawn Care Ideas to get your clients’ lawns looking their best.

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1. Keep Your Grass Trimmed

When it comes to a beautiful lawn, maintenance is key. Regular mowing, mulching, edging and spot treating of problem areas are all essential. In addition to keeping the turf healthy, these practices help to prevent weeds and insects from overtaking your yard.

It’s important to keep in mind that the frequency of mowing depends on the season and weather conditions. Typically, the lawn grows faster in spring and summer and will require more frequent mowing than other seasons. For this reason, hiring a lawn care service during these times is often best. Some companies also allow customers to manage their account and schedule online, which is a convenience for busy homeowners.

The One-Third Rule

It is important to never cut off more than one-third of the grass height in any given cutting. Cutting off too much at one time can stress your lawn and make it vulnerable to fungus, disease and other problems.

The ideal mowing height for your lawn will depend on the type of grass you have and the growing conditions. For example, in hot weather it is best to mow your lawn higher, as this helps the turf retain moisture and avoid heat stress. On the other hand, in shady areas of your yard, you may want to mow lower to encourage strong root growth and a thick, dense lawn that can better compete with weeds.

When you do mow, remember to always remove the entire clippings, not just a bare strip or two. If you have a bagging mower, use it to collect the clippings for composting or other uses, and don’t throw them away in the trash. Grass clippings promote healthy soil, retain moisture and reduce thatch, and also help to reduce the need for fertilizer.

Keeping your lawn free of debris is also important for a healthy turf. Fallen leaves can block out sunlight and create a hospitable environment for weeds and insects, while twigs and other yard debris can damage or even kill your grass. Regular debris removal will ensure that your lawn is able to receive adequate sunlight and grow strong, healthy roots.

3. Apply a Layer of Compost

Whether you’re seeding a new lawn, trying to revive patchy turf or simply keep an existing lawn in tip top condition, the addition of a layer of compost will help. Compost reintroduces essential minerals and nutrients to the soil foundation of your yard, boosting your lawn’s health and helping it stay lush without the need for synthetic fertilizers.

A good quality compost will contain a balance of macro-nutrients (such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) and an array of micro-nutrients that are released over time to naturally feed the lawn. It also helps improve soil structure, encouraging healthy root growth and improving drainage. If you use a peat-based compost, it will also add organic matter to the soil, which will help improve its pH level and discourage worms.

When using compost as a top dressing, only spread a thin layer to avoid over-saturating the grass and risking smothering it. Ideally, it should be spread in the spring or fall before the lawn begins to grow so that it has time to settle into the grass and soil before the summer heat.

The best compost to use as a top dressing is finely screened, meaning that it is free of large chunks and has an earthy smell when you squeeze a handful in your hand. It should also be moist and not overly dry, to help it adhere to the soil and prevent wind blowing it away.

If you’re buying a bagged or bulk form of compost, try to make a few small piles throughout the lawn, evenly spaced. This will help you rake it out more easily, when you need to, during the following steps.

After spreading the compost, rake it gently to ensure that it is distributed as evenly as possible. This will help to avoid green spots where more of the compost fell and dead spots where too much smothered the lawn. Water in the compost using a sprinkler to help it settle in and start working its way down into the soil. This will help to reduce the risk of nutrient leaching, which can pollute ground and surface waters.

4. Keep Your Soil Healthy

Keeping the soil healthy is the most important thing you can do to ensure your lawn grows and stays healthy. Many homes come with less-than-ideal soil, but it is often possible to improve it. Ideally, your soil should be loamy, meaning it contains a balanced amount of sand, silt and clay. This type of soil is ideal for garden and lawn care because it retains water, allows oxygen to reach the roots and drains well.

Organic materials can help improve soil quality, too. You can add compost, rotted manure or peat to the soil to improve its texture and water-holding capacity. Another organic option is DPW (dried plant waste), which can be added to sandy soils to help them absorb more water.

You should also consider incorporating some weeds into your yard, as not all of them are bad. Clover, for example, is a common broadleaf weed that works as a natural fertilizer factory by transforming nitrogen in the air into a form that the grass can absorb. Some organic-lawn-care experts recommend adding a pound of clover seed for every 1000 square feet of your lawn.

Another way to keep your lawn healthy is to aerate it regularly, and by raking dead grass in autumn. This helps promote root growth and reduce the chance of fungal diseases. Finally, it’s best to water your lawn in the early morning, as this will allow the sun to quickly dry the turf and prevent prolonged wetness that can encourage disease.

High-quality lawn care isn’t difficult to achieve, but it does take a bit of time and dedication. Regularly mowing your lawn, weeding bare spots and scattering grass seed will help maintain lush, green grass. You should also consider using stored rainwater or grey water for irrigation to reduce your reliance on chemicals and pollutants. And of course, you should always test your soil before applying any kind of fertilizer. An at-home soil test can reveal whether your soil has deficient or adequate levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. It can also tell you your soil’s pH level, which is crucial for proper lawn nutrition.