There are many benefits to having a killer lawn. It has a cooling effect, traps dirt and dust, provides oxygen and filters rainwater containments. Plus, it’s a great place for pets to play and so people can enjoy being outside in the fresh air. But, the best way to develop a healthy lawn is to reduce the use of chemical pesticides and choose a grass which grows well in your area.
Not all Dirt is Good Dirt
The first step to improving your lawn is to test the soil, by checking the pH levels, in particular. The pH in your soil needs to be between 6.5 and 7.0 which is a bit on the acid side. If your soil is too acidic, add lime to reduce the acidity. If it needs to have the acid level raised, then add sulfur.
Grass grows it’s best in the soil which is loamy and has a mixture of silt, sand, and clay. But, too much clay, can prevent nutrients and air flow by compacting the soil. To help loosen the earth, aerate the soil by removing plugs of dirt which are finger size and leaves holes in the soil. This will improve the aeration of the soil in the lawn.
Add a layer of grass clippings and compost to help benefit any soil that you have in your turf. In sandy soil, it will build humus; if the soil is clay, it will lighten it. Grass clippings will also “act as a natural fertilizer, maintain moisture, and shade your soil from the hot summer sun”, according to LawnStarter Lawn Care. Some lawn mowers, whether you do your lawn yourself or have it mowed commercially, have mulching attachments. When a mulcher is used, it shreds up the grass and scatters it everywhere that is mowed.
Choosing the Best Grass Type
The best way to grow a beautiful lawn with a minimal need for pesticides is to choose to grow the grass which is best for your hardiness zone. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, use the native seed mix for that area. If you live in an area with a Hardiness Zone between 3-7 and want a low maintenance and drought tolerant grass type, look into trying fescue grass. Hot areas like Dallas require a warm season grasses such as Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass.
Grass grows best in their prefered climate, of course, and with the appropriate amount of nutrients and water. They have different degrees of shade tolerance and how much wear and tear it takes depends on what type of grass you grow for your area. A grass type which grows in one zone may not give the same performance in another zone.
Wiping Out Weeds
Weeds can destroy the look of a lawn like nothing else. But before you launch your attack against weeds, you have to recognize the appearance of your enemy. A broadleaf weed is any weed which has leaves, such as clovers or dandelions. You do want to destroy the weeds with the least amount of herbicide as possible. So, only use it where the weeds are present.
If you have quack grass or other perennial weed types, then you’ll need to use a non-selective plant killer. Since this kind of weed killer will kill any plant, weed or not, you have to be careful where and how you use it. So, the best way is to wipe the blades of the plant while wearing protective gloves. You don’t have to get every blade because it will be absorbed down to the root and the weed will be destroyed.
Controlling crabgrass is done by using a pre-emergence preventer in the spring. It’s treated then, so the seeds don’t germinate. The crabgrass preventer is applied between the first mowing and the third mowing. The timing is crucial, so the seeds don’t sprout.
Water Strategically and Sustainably
If you’ve managed to get a nice awn started, a key to keeping it that way to to water strategically and sustainably. Now’s the time to test out your irrigation system and repair leaks, redirect misfiring sprinklers, and add or upgrade a programmable timer for more effective watering and less waste. Make sure your system also has a rain sensor that shuts off the watering program in the event of spring showers.
Don’t Over-cut Your Lawn
Finally, resist the temptation to over-cut your lawn. Short grass may be appealing, but longer blades of grass shade roots, help hold moisture, and prevent weed growth. Raise the blade on your lawn mower, and you’ll end up saving on lawn-watering costs on your way to a healthy and hardy beautiful lawn!