Who doesn’t want the lush, soft, carpet-like grass covering their entire lawn? Well, there a few things you can do to ensure your lawn looks awesome:
1. Test your soil. While you can test the pH of your soil with home kits, they are often quite inaccurate. It’s best to work with Purdue Extension Agency by sending in a soil sample to ensure you have an accurate reading. Doing so will ensure you fertilize appropriately based on what your soil is lacking. Just guessing what your lawn needs can be costly and time consuming.
2. Fertilize your lawn in the spring and fall will help your lawn to be nice and green and help your grass to grow with thick coverage. Most times in the spring, you’ll want to use a crab grass preventer and other weed preventers. However, at this point in the season (late April/early May), it might too late to prevent weeds from germinating. Even so, it’s still a great time to fertilize, which will help your grass grow a strong root system. The stronger the root system, the thicker and greener your grass will be and the more drought resistant it will be in the heat of the summer. Plus, the healthier your grass is, the more likely it is to choke out weeds when they do germinate.
3. Water your lawn early in the morning. Obviously, watering your lawn at all – especially in the hot, dry months of July and August, will help, but you will get the most bang for your buck if you water pre-dawn or early in the morning. If you water midday, when it’s the hottest, much of the water evaporates before the grass can absorb it, thus wasting water. If you water in the evening, the water sitting on the grass all night promotes disease in your yard.
4. Water deeply and infrequently. It’s actually better for your grass to water it for an hour once a week (or two) than to water it for 10 minutes per day. The longer shower on the grass allows the water to penetrate deep into the roots and promotes deeper root growth. When you water daily, the roots growth is shallow and your grass will be more likely to turn brown when you stop watering. Plus, daily watering can be expensive!
5. Mow on the highest setting. Yes, if your lawn looks like a putting green, STOP IT! When grass is cut too short, the distressed blades actually grow FASTER. When the grass is kept taller, the roots are shaded which makes it more difficult for weeds to germinate and it keeps the soil more moist. Taller grass is healthier, thicker and more drought resistant in the heat of the summer.
6. Mulch the clippings back into the lawn. No need to bag your clippings – they are excellent (free) fertilizer for your lawn. As long as you are mowing often, the clippings will be short enough to not turn brown and nasty.
7. Seed any bare spots. Early spring and fall are the best times to do any spot seeding because the ground is usually moist during these times – meaning less work for you. If you plant in the middle of summer, you must ensure the ground stays moist so the seeds aren’t cooked in the heat.