According to the annual National Gardening Survey, American households spend an average of $503 a year on their lawns and gardens. Which goes to show how much people care about having a well-maintained garden.
But if you’re new to gardening how do you know you are doing the right thing and not wasting money on your lawn?
Well, seeing as spring is upon us, it’s the perfect time to get to grips with your garden and start thinking about lawn maintenance.
Don’t worry if you have never done this before, this handy guide to maintaining your lawn will give you green fingers in no time.
Over the fall and winter months, your garden can take a bit of a battering. With high winds, rain and snow, it’s easy for your back yard to get quite untidy.
Falling leaves and branches can damage your lawn, as can heavy rain and snow. If you have garden stones or furniture, they can also shift about over the winter and cause damage to your lawn.
So before you start thinking about grass care, you need to have a good old tidy up. Remove all the debris and litter from your garden, and bag it up. As well as making your yard look a lot neater, this is also great exercise!
Assess The Damage
Once you’ve gotten rid of all the rubbish, take a step back and assess the damage.
Walk around your garden and check for signs of winter damage including bare patches on the lawn. You can use a rake to comb over the grass and pull away any debris you have missed and check for bald patches.
Next up you need to check for plants that should not be there. Also known as weeds.
Over the winter, the combination of wet weather and neglect will mean the weeds in your back yard have had a great time. They’ve had all the right conditions to grow wild.
But before you start pulling up weeds, make sure you are confident about which are weeds and which are actual plants. Use a weed identification guide if you are not sure, as you don’t want to destroy any of your precious flowering plants.
Once you have pulled up all the weeds you can see, you can treat your lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide. This prevents weeds from growing and will give your lawn a chance to get re-established free from weeds.
However, if you are planning on re-seeding your lawn, you should avoid herbicides as they will prevent grass seed from growing too.
Seeding And Turf Laying
If your lawn has bare patches where the grass has died or stopped growing, spring is the best time to sort this out.
The first things you need to work out when re-seeding bare patches on your lawn are what type of grass you are sowing. This usually depends on what sort of climate you have where you live.
- Cool-season grasses are grown in the northern half of the US. You can plant these grasses when the air temperature gets into the 60s and soil temperature hits 50º.
- Warm-season grasses tend to thrive in the warmer states. You can plant when air temperatures are in the 70s, soil temperatures are in the 60s.
If you have very large bare patches on your lawn, or you want to lay a new lawn, then you should consider getting some ready-grown turf rather than seed. Specialist turf providers like The Turf Company can help you cover larger areas of bare soil, and great results fast.
Once you planted your grass seed or laid your turf, it will need watering. If you have a period of wet weather, you won’t need to add more water. But if it does not rain then you should give all new turf and seed a good soak.
This will help the new shoots to start to grow and will help the roots of the turf to take.
The next thing task in your lawn maintenance schedule is to feed it.
If you are fertilizing in spring, you only need a light dose. You do not want to overwhelm new shoots with too much fertilizer.
Once the shoots start to establish and you have a nice healthy amount of growth, you can start adding a bit more fertilizer.
Test Your Soil
You can buy DIY soil testing kits at your local garden store to find out the pH level of your soil.
This is important because if it’s too acidic your fertilizer will not work as well, and weeds will also flourish. So you might need to add some lime to your lawn to neutralize the acidity.
Like all living things, as well as food and water your lawn also needs to breathe. If your lawn has become compacted with footfall or debris, it’s possible that not enough air is in the soil.
In order to aerate your lawn, you can use a special aerator which removes small plugs of soil from the lawn. This allows more air and water to reach further down and loosens the soil.
If you don’t have access to an aerator, you can use a garden fork to drive holes into the lawn.
One of the most important tools in lawn maintenance is your lawn mower. A well-maintained lawn should be easy to cut, so long as your mower blades are sharp, and the grass is not too wet.
Don’t be too eager though. If you have re-seeded your lawn you should wait until there is substantial growth before mowing.
You should mow your lawn whenever it needs it, though not too soon after rain as you can churn up the soil.
Once you have mowed your lawn you should rake up the grass cuttings off the lawn. If you leave piles of cut grass on the lawn they can kill the living grass beneath.
Lawn Maintenance Tips And So Much More
So those are some tips on lawn maintenance. If you take some time to look after your lawn in the spring, you can spend the summer sitting back and enjoying it.
If you found this guide useful, then why not check out some more home and garden advice right here.