A healthy, well-kept lawn is both functional and versatile, framing your home and offering a walkable surface. Turf reduces soil erosion, provides drainage and absorbs heat in urban areas. Plus, it just feels good to kick off your shoes and walk in the grass.
How to Keep Your Lawn Trim and Green:
1. Mow. Your lawn is composed of millions of plants that shade each other and crowd out potential weeds. In warm weather, this shade helps hold in soil moisture.
In summer, set your mower to a higher level to prevent the grass from drying out and potentially giving weeds a boost. Allow clippings to remain on the lawn to act like mulch to keep grass roots cool, moist and happy.
The rule to follow: Do not cut more than one-third the height of the grass. For example, if you usually cut your lawn to a height of 2 inches, you’ll need to mow your lawn when the grass reaches 3 inches. Or to avoid the math, just keep your blade height set to the highest setting, about 3 inches, at all times.
2. Water. Lawns need about an inch of water a week in warm weather, even more if it’s a newly planted lawn that requires extra moisture to establish root growth. The water can come from either rainfall or irrigation.
How often your lawn needs a drink depends on a host of factors, including things like soil type, sunlight, grass type and regional climate. Know that the best time to water is in the morning. If you’re watering in the heat of the day, 14 percent of the water you put on your grass evaporates before ever reaching the roots. Watering the lawn in the early morning saves the average homeowner about 87 gallons a week, for an average of 4,524 gallons of water a year.
If you have an automatic sprinkler system, set it to begin watering at 4 a.m. If you water by hand, do it before the sun comes up or in the evening. If your sprinklers are operating on an old dial timer, you might want to upgrade to a new one. Digital timers are easier to program and come with options to water more than once a day, which is helpful for establishing a new seed or sod lawn, or when over-seeding.
3. Fertilize. Feed warm-season grasses during active growth periods, but not during the hottest months in midsummer. Pennington Lawn Care recommends applying fertilizer first in early spring when the grass begins to green, again in late spring and then in late summer. Warm season grasses include Bermuda, Bahia, Buffalo, Zoysia, St. Augustine and Centipede.
Cool-season grasses need fertilizer after the first flush of growth in spring, in either April or May, and again in the months of September and November. Cool-season grasses include Bent grass, Kentucky bluegrass, Fine/tall fescue and Perennial/annual ryegrass.
Play in the Yard
Turf is probably the only plant material that is OK to walk on. A healthy lawn will always spring back after activity. Enjoy your lawn with accessories like grills and outdoor kitchens. Add outdoor living areas to your home with a view of the lawn. Hammocks and shade umbrellas keep you comfortable while you soak up the fresh air.
For more tips on enjoying your lawn and Garden:
Step 1: Prep Your Lawn and Garden
- How to Prep for the Lawn of Your Dreams
- How to Prep Your Garden for a Season of Flowers
- Prep Your Garden for Edibles Now
Step 2: Plant Your Lawn and Garden
- How to Plant the Lawn of Your Dreams
- Plant What You Love: A Garden Filled with Flowers
- Grow Goodness When You Plant a Vegetable Garden