Posted by IKO Community Management on April 24, 2014 at 11:38 AM
The burst of warm spring weather has everyone outside and working on their lawns. IKO Community Management knows creating a beautiful lawn can increase your home’s value and create a nice retreat for you and your family. With just a few easy tips you’ll be able to show off your green healthy lawn.
Aerate: Spring and fall are the best times to aerate your lawn. Aerating is the process of punching holes in your lawn to help get more oxygen, water, and nutrients to the roots of your grass. There are many ways to aerate your lawn from renting a machine for larger lawns to simply using a pitchfork or platform shoes with spikes for smaller lawns. These holes should be about 3 inches deep and distributed evenly throughout the lawn. Don’t have the time? Your local landscaping company can do it for you.
Dethatch: The best time to dethatch your lawn is during the cool seasons, early spring or early fall. Thatch is a layer of living and dead grass stems, roots, clippings and debris that accumulates between the green matter and the soil surface. Excessive thatch buildup creates a favorable environment for pests and disease, an unfavorable growing environment for grass roots. For smaller lawns, use a thatching rake or garden rake and for larger lawns you may want to rent a power dethatcher. These types of rakes are designed to loosen up thatch which then can be raked up with a leaf rake and either used for compost or bagged and thrown out.
Fertilize: Once your lawn has been aerated and dethatched it is now a great time to fertilize. Use a hand-held spreader for smaller lawns and a broadcast or rotary spreader for larger lawns. Many fertilizers these days are environmentally safe. Make sure you have the right fertilizer for the type of grass you plan to fertilize and read all instructions before applying. Nitrogen is every lawn’s most important ingredient. Proper fertilization will result in a green lawn and establish strong grass roots. A nice dense turf that maintains a deep green color will also give weeds a run for their money.
Weed: If needed, use a spot weed control instead of a whole lawn killer. Chemicals used to control weeds can weaken your lawn over time by killing soil organisms that contribute to a healthy lawn. Did you know there are organic solutions for the most common weed problems? Check with your local garden center for better choices for the environment. Always make sure your weed control product only targets weeds to ensure it won’t kill the grass. Within 24-48 hours a spot killer will have done its job. Ensure that pets and children do not roam on the lawn after you have applied grass seed, weed killer or fertilizer.
Seed: Now is the time to spot seed and overseed your lawn. Spot seeding is a quick way to repair areas of your lawn that may have been damaged by pets, ruts along driveways, and areas worn by foot traffic. Overseed your lawn with a spreader for a lush, green, and thick inviting turf. Start by cutting the grass low which will allow the seed to penetrate the blades of grass and get to the soil beneath. Spread the seed and then add a thin layer of compost or peat moss over top. Thoroughly water your lawn. The compost will help keep moisture in while the seed germinates. Allow the new blades of grass to grow to about 3 inches in height before cutting them for the first time. Do avoid any type of weed control once the new grass seed is spread until the new grass has been mowed 4 or 5 times. Makes sure to buy the right grass seed for your lawn depending on shade, sun, or both.
Mow: Sharpen your mower blades! Dull blades can lead to a dull lawn. Cut your lawn short only twice a year, the first cut in the spring and the last cut before winter. This shorter cut removes harmful winter fungus and mold and also allows for overseeding. Now, adjust your mower blade height to the tallest recommendation for the type of grass in your yard and keep it there all summer. When cutting your lawn you only want to mow about 1/3 of the grass blade. Taller grass tolerates heat better, has larger, healthier roots and competes better with weeds like crabgrass. Tall grass shades the ground, so the soil dries out slower, so you water less. As the summer heats up, you’ll want to mow less often.
Water: Water your lawn in the early morning to avoid wasting water through evaporation. A light sprinkle in the evening also reduces evaporation, but your lawn may be susceptible to mold and fungus growth when it stays damp overnight. Proper watering helps your lawn develop deep roots that make it denser and more resistant to drought, weeds, and pests. Watering should only penetrate the soil about 6 inches to reach the bottom of the roots. After spreading seed, follow the directions for the seed carefully. This may call for watering twice a day until the grass establishes itself. Use a timed sprinkler so that you don’t over- or under-water.
Consider making a positive impact on the environment and your budget by going green. Retiring your gas-powered mower for a manual or electric mower will help the emission of unhealthy volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Mulching mowers allow clippings to break down to provide a regular, natural dose of nitrogen and other nutrients to your lawn, so you’ll need less fertilizer. This also saves time and expense of buying yard waste bags, bagging clippings and paying to have them hauled away.
Using compost as a fertilizer is a green, organic lawn care practice. The nitrogen that compost supplies to a lawn becomes available to grass roots slowly, which helps avoid heavy nitrogen leaching. Excess lawn feeding is one key contributing factor to ground water contamination and is now regulated in some states and municipalities. Check with your local extension office or reputable garden center to learn about any specific guidelines for your region.
Healthy, thick lawns crowd out weeds and shade the soil to inhibit weed seed germination. They also provide food for birds, control erosion and filter certain air pollutants. IKO Community Managementknows a healthy lawn doesn’t just happen; it takes work and regular maintenance to get it healthy and keep it that way. These tips should help your lawn love you and you will love your green, healthy lawn!