by Dave Logan
Having “the perfect lawn” is very challenging. You may be familiar with how much effort goes into keeping your lawn rich in nutrients and as green as the Augusta National Golf Course. Attaining perfection requires constant attention and care: fertilizing, aerating, regular mowing, watering, cleaning, chemicals, and a lot of sweat equity. Depending on how you define perfection for your lawn will dictate how much you put into it and what processes you employ along the way.
The following are just a few tips to help get your lawn on the path to greatness (or at the very least the envy of your neighbors). Keep in mind that these tips are ideal for cooler climates like Colorado.
Rake the lawn. First thing’s first: you need to clean out the debris in your grass. Now (spring) is the time to do it. A rake will also agitate thinning and/or bare spots in your lawn. This is good and you will want to throw down some grass seed and fertilizer (high in phosphorous) to get those spots back to health.
Aerate your lawn. Aeration (puncturing holes in the soil) breaks up thatch and compacted soil and oxygenates the grass. It also enables organic fertilizers and nutrients access to the roots of your lawn. You can do this manually yourself with spikes that fit over your shoes. Or, you can get a pro to come out with a power aerator for reasonable cost.
Fertilize your lawn four times per year according to this schedule:
1) Apply the first batch in early spring.
2) Second application target for the end of May.
3) Early September (think Labor Day) for third batch.
4) Apply an organic fertilizer in late fall to round out the year. Make sure you don’t use too much nitrogen with your fertilizer. It’s important to use just right amount, or your grass will end up fragile and damaged. But beware, too much nitrogen makes thin cells walls and fragile grass. There are tons of fertilizers to use depending on the season and phase of growth. It’s important that you do your homework (or hire a pro) to ensure you’re exercising the right program for your lawn.
Water your lawn regularly. Keep it simple with our “1-1 Rule”: one inch of water once per week. This is an ideal amount of watering to get deep in the roots and foster healthy lawn growth. If you water too much, your lawn will become fragile and more prone to fungus and other problems. You can easily wait until late May or June before starting your watering schedule.
Mow your lawn. Start mowing your lawn when the first spring grass gets about three or four inches high. Today’s conventional wisdom is that it’s best to mow high in order to adequately rid weeds like crabgrass. Mowing is essential to a perfect lawn so get on a frequent schedule and stick to it.
Mulch your lawn clippings. Chopped up grass clippings act as compost to your lawn and return rich nutrients to the soil beneath. This will encourage your lawn’s healthy growth.
Kill that crabgrass! This resilient weed grass spreads like wildfire. Apply an herbicide control with your fertilizer in early spring to combat crabgrass and be sure to keep children and animals away from the lawn. This can be difficult so you may want to consider safer alternatives. Do a little research to find the best product for you and your family.
Overseed your lawn. Lawns experience the best growth in spring and fall, so during these times (twice per year) apply generous amounts of seed. This way you are regularly encouraging fresh growth and a healthy lawn.
Use pesticides very carefully. Most pesticides are going to be harmful to children and animals. If you must use them, identify the specific problem (insect) and use the pesticide to treat only that. We recommend contacting a landscaping or lawn and garden professional for help in this area.
For more helpful information on these and other home improvement projects, check in often with the TDL Blog. And don’t forget to visit TeamDaveLogan.com to find a trusted home improvement professional in Denver and Boulder that will help you with your next project!