Easy Steps for Maintaining a Healthy Lawn
A good well-maintained lawn is not only a beautiful and welcoming view for your home but it is also a fantastic spot for entertaining, and a place where your kids can play. Having a well-kept lawn is a good way to stand out among your neighbors. A green lawn is also essential in keep the heat down around your house. Starting a new lawn can be very hectic especially if you have less knowledge of what is expected of you. However, once you get started the process of maintaining becomes very easy. The article focuses on helping new lawn owners on how to grow and maintain their lawns.
Did you know not mowing your lawn leaves it at a greater risk of fungal infections, weeds, and insects? Proper and frequent mowing of your lawn gives it vitality and distinguishes it from the unkempt fields. The process of mowing does not require a lot of skill. All you need to have is a lawnmower, a rake, and some mowing basic knowledge. Below is a detailed description on how and when to mow and the correct equipment to use.
- How short to mow?
First, you need to understand the type of grass you have. Different grasses thrive at different cutting heights, so you need to adjust the lawn mower only to cut to the right size. The grass should be cut at a third of the grass height, and this will allow the grass to grow healthier root systems and have their shading that helps them preserve moisture. If the grass is cut more than a third its height, it will become distressed, and the whole lawn will suffer.
- When to mow?
Although lawn experts recommend regular mowing, the time to mow varies mostly on the region and the current weather. Mowing of the lawn should be done on a weekly basis in the spring and once fortnightly in the hot summer. If your grass gets too tall, you should mow a couple of times taking off a small amount each time. Mowing should not be done on wet grass. Mowing should be done early in the morning or late in the evening, avoid mowing during the day.
Choosing the right grass
Planting any grass, you get from your local dealer will not help here. If you plan on having a beautiful lawn that is free from weeds and diseases, then you sow the right grass for your area. It is imperative to test your soil first to know its acidity.
There is two broad categories of grass: cool and hot season grass. Cool season grass thrives between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool grasses include bentgrass, bluegrass, fine fescue, tall fescue and perennial ryegrass. On the other hand, hot grasses grow well in temperature between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Examples of the hot –season grasses are Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine and Zoysia. Remember that hot grasses will lose the green color once it becomes cool but the cool grasses will keep the beautiful green color even in winter.
With the knowledge of grasses, now you need to be aware of your zone. Below is a list of the five zones and the type of grass suitable for the area.
- Zone 1: Northeast- this area is cold, and you can grow grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue or Ryegrass.
- Zone 2: South- this area is hot with high humidity; you can grow grasses such as Bermuda, Zoysia grass, St. Augustine or Centipede grass.
- Zone 3: Midwest- the region is very dry and hot: grow grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue, Buffalo grass
- Zone 4: Southwest- the zone is cool, hot and with low humidity. Grow grasses such as Bermuda, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Fescue
- Transition zone- the zone requires a mixture of both hot and cool season grass.
Getting the right tools
Getting the right lawn tool is a very crucial part when maintaining a beautiful green lawn. There is a shedload of companies that store a large number of lawn tools that will meet all your lawn care practices. Try to avoid buying cheap and low-quality tools, if you can spare some more dollars buy good tools that are strong enough for the purpose and will survive heavy use. The task of choosing the best lawn tools may be confusing and time-consuming. Below is a simplified list of some must-have tools for your lawn and their functions.
- A Lawn Mower
A lawn mower is useful when trimming the lawn to your desired size. There are two types of lawn mowers; the electric or gas- powered lawn mower. A human-powered reel mower easily maintains the small-sized lawns, and an electric mower maintains a medium-sized lawn while a gas-powered mower is used in large sized lawns. Ensure that the lawn mower blades are sharp and clean for a clean, well-manicured look. Using dull blades will tear, shred and bruise the grass. Cutting the grass with dull blades increases water loss and leaves entrances for fungus and diseases.
Aeration is the procedure of getting air into the lawn soil. It involves perforating the soil with small holes that allow air, water, and nutrients to penetrate straight to the grass roots. Aeration enables the roots to grow stronger and deeply while producing a more beautiful and vigorous lawn. Aeration can be done suing tools or manually using shoes. Some of the tools include a spiked rolling lawn aerator, forks, scarifier, a hollow tine aerator or lawn aerating shoes. Ensure that the spikes on these tools are sharp for deep aeration.
- Sprinklers and hoses
You will need watering tools to maintain a healthy and green lawn. You can opt for a traveling sprinkler which is less expensive than an automatic sprinkling system. Watering the lawn should be done early in the morning as it gives time for the water to penetrate the top surface of the soil. A hose reel system is used to contain and organize the long length hose.
- Garden rake, shovel, and wheelbarrow
A garden rake can be used for gathering leaves and lawn clippings, pressing sown seeds, spreading mulch, leveling the soil and removal of other ground-covering materials. A wheelbarrow comes in handy when performing hard tasks such as fertilizing, planting, hauling soil, weeding, pruning trees and raking leaves. A shovel is useful when planting trees, shrubs and when mixing large quantities of dirt and compost.
Prevention of diseases and fungus
Lawn diseases and fungus is a very big threat to a beautiful lawn. Signs that your lawn may be infected by fungus include dead-looking brown patches, snow molds, slime molds, visible spots, and rings of dead or affected grass, leaf blight, slimes or threads. Lawn diseases and fungus are caused by factors such as:
- Too much or too little fertilizer
- Choosing the wrong grass
- Lack of soil aeration
- Improper mowing; cutting the grass too low or using blunt blades
Lawn diseases and fungus can be prevented easily by practicing good lawn activities. First ensure that you water your lawn early in the morning so that it can completely dry during the day. Watering should be done at least once a week to avoid dryness. Secondly, it is safe to use organic fertilizers as opposed to using synthetic fertilizers. Thirdly, ensure that you follow the correct instructions when mowing. Also use sharp blades to avoid poor shredding. And lastly, choose the right grass type for your soil and location.
Having a beautiful lawn is without doubt a very welcoming view for your home. A well-maintained lawn is a representation of nature and a clean and organized individual. Following the above well-outlined steps, you can get yourself a beautiful lawn that is easy to maintain.