Published on March 6th, 2015 | by Jacks0
Give Your Lawn a Boost
Is your lawn like your old favorite tee-shirt? You know that one with all the holes and patches that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away?
Does your lawn have bare spots? Brown patches?
Then see the steps you can take to give your lawn a boost below.
Step One: Dethatching:
Thatch is the build-up of grass stems, roots, clippings and debris that accumulate between grass roots and soil in your lawn. Thatch prevents air, water and nutrients from reaching the soil.
Mow your lawn to about 1 inch in height. Shorter grass will make dethatching and surface preparation easier. Then, dethatch using an automatic or manual dethatcher. For best results in bigger yards or yards with a lot of thatch an automatic dethatcher is recommended.
Step Two: Put Your Soil to the Test
Soil is the foundation to any good looking, healthy lawn. Soil issues=lawn issues. You can choose to perform the soil test yourself with a PH kit or hire a lawn care service to help you. Testing should be available at a local lawn care service, or USDA Cooperative Extension Service Offices offer free or low cost testing. Results will tell you about nutrient deficiencies to your soil and what you need to add to restore your yard.
All you need to do is collect a soil sample in a ziploc bag or vial, then send it in for testing. It’s really that simple!
Step Three: Add Nutrients to Your Lawn
Follow the fertilizer recommendations for your soil test results. Adding fertilizer before getting your results back could lead to damaging your lawn even further. Avoid adding more fertilizer than you need, this can cause rapid growth and thinning stems which can lead to grass being more susceptible to disease. When in doubt, always go with too little fertilizer rather than too much.
During fertilization, make sure you wear gloves and other protective clothing to keep the fertilizer from your skin and eyes.
Step Four: Let Your Soil Breathe
Aeration is the process of poking holes in the soil using hollow cylinders known as tines. This allows compacted soil to breathe, soak up nutrients and helps new grass to grow faster. There are automatic, manual and pull-behind aerators, you can choose which one is best for you. Our article on Aerating and Dethatching lets you know all the benefits of aerating your soil!
Step Five: Growing New Grass (If necessary)
Bare patches, thin, brown or just plain unhealthy grass may need to be reseeded. Pick a grass that works best for your area, your soil type and your climate. Your soil results should be able to help determine this.
Here is a list of common grass types:
- Cool season grasses can thrive in climates where there are cold winters and hot summers. They can last over extended periods of drought. These include: Bent grass, Kentucky Blue grass, Rough Bluegrass, Red Fescue, Annual Rye grass, Perennial Rye grass.
- Transition Zone Grasses work in places where warm and cool season grasses are unsuccessful. These include: Kentucky Blue grass, Tall Fescue, Perennial Rye Grass, Thermal Blue and Zoysia grass.
- Warm Season Grasses require good soil and warm weather most of the year to thrive. These grasses go almost dormant when the weather turns cold, allowing them to turn brown. These include: Bahia, Bermuda grass, Buffalo grass, Carpet grass, Centipede, St. Augustine grass, Zoysia grass.
Step Six: Water, Water, Water!
After you are finished doing these steps the most important and critical step is to water, water, water. Keeping the newly seeded soil moist is the most important thing you can do. Water at least once or twice a day for 15 minutes, if there is no rain. The soil needs to stay moist to allow the seeds to germinate. It is recommended that you keep the soil moist until the new grass is 2 inches tall.
In the weeks to come you should see a huge difference in the health and look of your lawn. Following these steps can help prevent having to replace the entire turf and save you lots of money. Caring for your lawn not only helps your lawn look good, but it can improve the environment as well. Now that your lawn is taken care of, isn’t it about time to get rid of that old tee-shirt?