What Is Lawn Maintenance and Why Do I Need to Do It
Every lawn is a living thing. They need proper lawn maintenance and nutrition to stay healthy and keep looking beautiful.
Believe it or not, the average lawn has quite a bit in common with the human body.
We need a healthy diet, the right amount of exercise, and the occasional checkup to look and feel our best.
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A Little Bit of Effort Now Or A Lot Of Effort Later
It’s easier to say no to the third helping of turkey on Thanksgiving than it is to lose 20 pounds after the holidays.
The same principles hold true with your lawn. It’s easier to put in a little bit of time every now and again to keep your lawn properly maintained than it is to try and save your lawn after problems have already occurred.
Long story short, lawn maintenance is important simply because a neglected lawn could cost you a lot of time and money down the road. Not to mention, a neglected lawn just doesn’t have the beauty of a healthy, vibrant lawn.
Hitting the gym every day can be intimidating. Taking care of your lawn doesn’t have to be. Proper lawn maintenance comes down routinely taking care of simple activities.
Basic Tips on Lawn Maintennance
There are just no two ways about it, for a happy, healthy, and beautiful lawn you’ve got to mow. With a little effort now, you will reap big rewards later.
There is more to mowing then making sure there’s gas in the tank and heading out into the yard.
Just Take a Little off the Top
As a rule of thumb, you never want to cut more than 1/3 off of a blade of grass at once.
Some folks habitually mow their grass twice a week during the spring and fall. Then they bump it up to three times a week in the summer.
We admire the discipline of weekly mowers. But, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to stick to a strict time schedule for mowing the lawn.
In general, the ideal height of a blade of grass is about 2 1/2 inches. And remember, we only want to take off one third of the blade of grass when we mow.
However, when warmer weather rolls around keeping your grass about 3 inches tall is a good idea. Keeping your grass taller during the summer helps to keep crabgrass and other unwanted weeds away.
When the weather begins to cool, go back to 2 1/2 inches. Weeds tend to die off in the cooler weather.
The right mowing schedule is dictated by the height of the grass, not the time of the week.
Take Advantage of all Natural Fertilizer
Some folks bag their grass clippings out of habit. But, when you bag your clippings, you are not doing any favors for yourself or your lawn. Grass clippings break down slowly and provide nutrients.
Think of them as mother nature’s version of time-released fertilizer.
When to Water
Watering isn’t as cut and dry as mowing. When your lawn looks like it needs water, it’s already too late. A lawn will begin to yellow or turn brown as the days go by without enough water.
- Here are some pointers to keep your lawn from getting too thirsty.
- Healthy grass needs water about every two or three days.
- Adjust your watering schedule based on the rain or the heat of the season.
- It’s best to water in the morning around dawn.
Getting the right watering schedule may take a little trial and error. We recommend testing out a few different schedules to find the one that works best for you and your lawn.
Doing Away with Weeds
Like it or not, even homeowners with the greenest thumbs do battle with weeds. They’re just a fact of lawn care life
But, here are a few weeding tips to make your life a bit easier.
- Weeding frequently is the way to go. If you let weeds overtake your lawn you’re going to be an uphill battle.
- The healthier your lawn, the more resistant it will be to weeds. If your lawn has a thick and healthy root system it makes it tougher for weeds to take hold.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Fertilizing
Start fertilizing your lawn at 55 degrees. Nope, not when the air hits 55°, when the soil temperature reaches 55°.
We know what you’re thinking. How in the heck are you supposed to know when the soil hits 55°. Well, there’s a couple of indicators. Lilacs will start to bloom, and the grass will begin growing.
If you don’t have any lilacs nearby to use as an all-natural cheat sheet, or you want to be super precise, you can always purchase a soil thermometer at your local garden center.
To break things down and make them even simpler, mid-April is typically a good time to start fertilizing.
If you’ve ever walked down the lawn care aisle at your garden center or a big-box store, you’ve probably seen big bags of fertilizer each touting their secret ingredients. Not to mention, all of the complicated looking numbers on the bag.
Picking out the right fertilizer isn’t that complicated. But, you do need a little bit of basic knowledge to get the right stuff.
We’ve got the fundamentals of lawn care down. Once we cover when to do what, you will be well on your way to having the best lawn on the block.
Springtime Maintenance Tips
Spring lawn care is a bit like spring training for your grass. It sets you up to have a winning season the rest of the year.
In addition to weeding, fertilizing, watering, and mowing there are a few other things you need to work into your game plan.
Spring is the ideal time of year for dethatching.
As the days turn to weeks and weeks to months, broken down organic material forms a blanket, covering your soil and making it tough for water and nutrients to reach the soil.
Dethatching is simple. Use a rake or other similar tool to break away and scrape up the decaying organic material. This paves the way for water and nutrients to make their way into the soil.
Thatching and Aerating Hand in Hand
Chances are, you’ve seen one of your neighbors having their yard aerated. Someone is pushing a big machine across the lawn, and afterward, there are little chunks of mud everywhere.
When you aerate a lawn you’re poking holes to allow water and nutrients to better penetrate the soil. It’s a good idea to aerate every couple of years.
Otherwise, your soil could begin to harden. Water and nutrients are going to struggle to make their way to the grass’ root system.
The holes left behind by the aerator form an express lane, paving the way for water and nutrients to reach the root system.
Keep It Clean
If you leave toys, leaves, or other debris in your yard for an extended period of time it can essentially smother the grass. Especially, if you add a layer of snow or ice into the mix.
Mow it Low
Usually, we recommend keeping your grass tall. However, with the unique conditions of the winter months, it’s better to keep your grass a little shorter.
Just like everything else outside, your grass is likely to freeze and thaw many times during the winter.
As the grass gets longer, the blades of grass are likely to fall to the side. If this happens, your lawn will essentially wind up smothering itself.
Everyday winter weather isn’t likely to kill your grass. But, if you find yourself in a prolonged period of frigid temperatures, ice, or snow. It’s a good idea to get out there and shovel away the excess snow or chip away the ice before it gets too thick.
The Cost of Maintenance
As we’ve seen, lawn maintenance isn’t extremely complicated or hard to do. Oftentimes, it is just a matter of knowing what needs to be done and sticking to the routine.
When it comes to everyday maintenance there are two options: DIY or hire a landscaping company.
DIY Lawn Maintenance
As with most things in life, DIY lawn care is going to be cheaper than hiring a pro. How much you save is going to come down to the choices you make.
Are you choosing to give your lawn rock star treatment year-round? How much do you spend on watering, fertilizing, and weed control.
Going with A Pro
Prices within the lawn care industry are naturally going to vary. Again, it depends largely on what you want. Is it enough to simply have someone with their own lawnmower cut your grass or do you want to work with the lawn care expert to keep your lawn healthy and thriving.