As the weather warms up, the sounds of spring and summer fill most neighborhoods: lawn mowers, neighborhood soccer games, and people out walking their dogs. Before you host your first cookout, consider the state of your lawn. Is it a lush, green carpet for your guests or a dry and crunchy disaster? No matter how your lawn looks now, its health and appearance can be improved with the following lawn care tips:
Start with the right landscape
Does your lawn get more than eight hours of full sun each day, or is it primarily shaded by nearby buildings or trees? Choosing the right grass and plants will be the difference between fighting against your yard each summer or simply maintaining a beautiful landscape. Simply reseeding your lawn may be all you need to restore it to a lushness it may have lost over a few stressful summers. Are you starting from scratch at a new property or looking for a total overhaul? Take a look around your community for yards you admire to get an idea of what does well in your area. What plants are used and avoided? Or even better still, hire a professional landscaping service in Mississauga to do the work for you.
Water deeply (but not too often)
It’s no secret that a dry, crunchy lawn needs more water, but did you know that overwatering your lawn can do just as much damage? Most lawns need 1 inch of water each week—including any rain—and do better with 2 long soaks each week rather than a brief sprinkling of water every day. If you have a sprinkler timer, just set it so that your sprinklers water longer 2-3 times a week instead of every day.
This summertime chore is more important to the health and appearance of your lawn that you might think. First and foremost, do not cut your lawn too short. Longer grass is more resilient during long periods without rain and reduces weed germination. You read that right—letting your lawn grow taller will keep it moister and cut down on weeds. Although the perfect height for your lawn will depend on the type of grass growing in your yard, aim for a height between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. According to experts at the Michigan State University Extension office, aim to remove 1/3 of the grass height at each mowing. (If your idea height is 3 inches, for example, wait until your lawn reaches 4 inches before mowing.) That will give your grass just the right amount of mulch from the clippings without leaving unsightly or smothering buildup behind.
Feed it well
Grass lawns are heavy feeders and do best with an annual feeding. Grass itself contains a high amount of nitrogen; simply leaving the mulched clippings on the lawn after you mow can help with its fertilization. In addition to letting grass clippings feed your lawn, a spring or early-summer fertilizer will keep your lawn green all summer. You can find more specifics about how much to feed your lawn at the Royal Horticultural Society website here.
Aerate your lawn
If you try all the items on this list and your lawn is still lacking its regular verdant texture, your soil may be compacted. Soil compaction happens naturally over time, especially in places with excessive foot or vehicle traffic. According to WikiLawn Alexandria, the best way to combat compacted soil is to aerate your lawn. Poking small holes or removing plugs of soil from the lawn will promote airflow and reduce the density of your soil.
Pro tip: Many homeowners and lawn care professionals will also add a layer of topdressing soil directly after aerating their lawn. This is because you can get nutrient-rich soil closer to the roots of the grass while the holes are fresh.
Even if you’ve never given much thought to lawn care before, you can improve the health and appearance of your lawn. With these tools and expert resources in hand, your lawn can be the envy of your neighborhood this summer.