National Lawn Care Month is an annual observance that celebrates the importance of healthy lawns to families, communities and the environment. Many people think lawns are important because of the aesthetic value they provide or the curb appeal they offer. Yes, those are certainly important considerations, but these carpets of green also provide the foundation for many of the most cherished memories of our lives and they also safeguard our neighborhoods by cleaning the air, cooling our communities, and protecting water sources.
So, whether you are trying to get the most beautiful lawn on the block for pure enjoyment or for more altruistic reasons – or both – here are six tips from a landscape professional to care for your lawn this spring.
1. Get water-wise. Save water by giving your lawn a deep watering every few days, not daily. Frequent, light watering — as opposed to a deep soak that penetrates the soil — can cause water to evaporate and leads to shallow root growth.
2. Know before you mow. Keep grass at a longer, finished cut height. Never remove more than one-third of a grass blade while mowing.
3. Consider grasscycling. Keeping some grass clippings on the lawn after mowing allows nitrogen and nutrients to be returned to the soil for a healthier lawn. It also protects against fungal disease. If the grass is long, you may have to double-cut it to properly mulch clippings. Never leave excess clippings on top of the lawn.
4. Check your balance. Healthy grass starts with the soil. A simple soil test can determine its pH balance, which can help indicate nutrients your lawn may need. Make sure your fertilizer provides the proper nutrients and is appropriate for the season and your lawn type.
5. Think “smart” (lawns). Cultivars, or cultivated grass varieties, are selectively bred to withstand the elements while still delivering an aesthetically beautiful and healthy lawn. A landscape professional can help you determine if these grass varieties are best for installing or overseeding a lawn.
6. Care about more than color. Don’t worry if your grass isn’t always green. A brown lawn does not mean it is dead. It could be dormant due to factors like extreme heat or drought.
Like all living things, grass needs care and attention to ensure its good health. A healthy lawn does not mean one that’s simply been mowed and given water. Healthy landscapes need to be managed with a high degree of know-know, the support of science, and often, a dose of chemistry – so that families, communities, and our environment can derive the full benefits they provide.
Healthy lawns are on most every homeowner’s wish list, but getting your yard in tip-top shape is often easier said than done.