Healthy grass is not merely a summertime project but rather a year around process. Taking some simple steps in the spring, summer and fall can lead to a beautiful lawn.
In the early spring months it is important to rake up any remaining debris such as dead grass leaves twigs etc. Leaves and excessive thatch can prevent moisture, nutrients and new seed from reaching the soil. To help ensure healthy grass during the summer months you will also want to apply a slow-release fertilizer.
In late spring consider re-seeding your lawn to help fill in the bare spots and thicken the grass. Before seeding it is a good idea to aerate, this step allows seed and fertilizer to penetrate the ground resulting in a healthier lawn. Before choosing your grass seed take a look around your lawn, do you have large shaded areas or is your yard mostly sunny? Grass seeds are usually a blend; some grow better in shade while others require direct sunlight. Choose the one that best suits your needs.
It is also important to use the proper variety of seed for your climate zone. Although there are many varieties of seeds available there are basically two types, warm climate and cool climate. If you are unsure what type of grass grows well in your area ask the sales associate at your favorite lawn and garden store.
When mowing your lawn leave your grass at least 2-3 inches tall, allow an additional half-inch during hot dry periods. Make sure your blade is sharp to ensure a clean even cut. It is not necessary to bag the clippings if you mow regularly leaving only short clippings; in fact the clipping contains essential nutrients that will be help promote the health of the grass.
During the summer months your lawn will require an average of one inch of water per week to remain healthy. If you do not receive consistent rainfall it will be best to water heavily once a week as apposed to lite daily watering. Lite watering will result in shallow root growth and less drought resistant grass. This is also a good time to apply another round of slow release fertilizer. Be sure to use only slow release fertilizer in the summer months to avoid “burning” your grass. If weeds or insect have become a problem there are fertilizers that contain weed and/or pest control. If you are using weed control wait at least six weeks after seeding to avoid killing you’re newly planted grass.
Fall is a good time to seed and fertilize once again. In most cases the seeds will have optimal growing conditions to get a good healthy start. Fertilizing in the fall helps support good root health leading too much healthier grass in the spring.