Even the best of us are susceptible to the homeowner’s nightmare – a dry, fading, and all around tired out lawn.
Before you nail the shutters closed to stave off angry neighbors and the unsightly view of your lawn, consider this:
It might not be too late for you to turn it all around. Even the ugliest lawns can be saved. You just have to be patient enough to see your efforts come to fruition.
Ready to revitalize your lawn? Get started by following these steps.
Developing a Fertilization Strategy
If you’ve done any reading about lawn care, then it’s probably not a surprise to see fertilization on a list of ways to bring your lawn back.
Not to be a broken record, but there’s a reason that this step must be mentioned – it’s essential to lawn revitalization efforts.
Understanding the Purpose of Fertilizing
Many people make the mistake of thinking that fertilizing is for killing weeds and that it’s not good for your lawn.
While “weed and feed” fertilizers do exist, that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here when I refer to fertilization. The fertilizers I’m referring to here have less to do with dandelions and weeds and a whole lot more to do with creating a healthy lawn.
Whether you decide to fertilize yourself or hire a professional, do research to ensure that the fertilizer being laid upon your lawn is packed with essential micro and macronutrients. I won’t go into the nerdy details here, but there are a list of nutrients that help your lawn to survive and thrive – each serves a different function, but together, they give your lawn everything it needs to be strong and healthy.
Fertilize effectively and you’ll notice your lawn getting greener, fuller, and less dry and worn out looking. Your lawn will be growing more both above and below the surface.
What about weeds?
You’ll be glad to know that good fertilizers make your lawn resilient against weeds. Even if you’re not spraying a weed killer, you’ll be protecting against them just by nature of having a stronger lawn that protects itself from these invasive plants.
Your Fertilization Schedule
As with many lawn care tips, know that the exact schedule for how often you should fertilize depends on what kind of region you live within. The northern and southern portions of the United States are one good example – these two halves use completely different kinds of grass seed that are very different from one another. In the middle of these two zones is a transitional area that often requires homeowners to blend cool and warm season grasses together.
Naturally, two different kinds of grass seed require two slightly different fertilization schedules that are dependent on the seasons in that area.
That said, here’s a general rule of thumb – fertilize every 6-8 weeks. The typical way to do it is to schedule your first fertilization for early spring, your second in late spring, your third in late summer, and your fourth in fall.
In some circumstances, there may be reason to do one or two more (or less) fertilizations, but this is a great place to start.
Knowing When to Water
Once you’ve decided on a fertilization strategy for your lawn, you have another strategy to determine – your lawn watering strategy. Like fertilizing, watering is essential and there is such a thing as both too much and too little.
Once again, keep in mind that the amount of water your grass seed needs to thrive is based on what kind of seed it is in the first place.
By a very general estimate, grass usually requires about 1-inch worth of water every week. That can typically be accomplished by one to two waterings in weeks that are absent of rain.
But on that note, it’s also important to say that different kinds of soil may increase or decrease your lawn’s need for water. Sandy soils don’t retain water as well as clay or loam-based soil.
Seeding Methods that Make Sense
Let’s face it. You can bring back a lawn, but you can’t turn dirt into grass – no matter how much you water and fertilize it (sorry).
But even if you don’t have any spots in your yard that are without grass, you may still want to consider laying down some seed. Why? Read on.
Seeding Bare Spots
If your yard is sporting bare spots or dead patches that are beyond ever coming back, you might want to consider planting grass seed to bring back that cohesive look that most great yards have.
The best time to plant cool season grasses is typically spring or early fall, while warm season grasses are best off planted in spring or early summer.
Even before you plant, ensure that the spot is primed and ready to go. Grass seed will take root in spots that are moist – not dried out or completely soaked.
After planting, just ensure that you keep up with a rigid watering schedule to ensure that your investment is not wasted.
Seeding an Entire Yard That Already Has Grass
So, if you have a yard that’s already full of grass, why on earth would you add more?
Well, there are several reasons to do so. Essentially, adding grass seed to an established yard adds diversity to it. If your lawn is tired and worn out, this diversity can be what tips the scales and allows it to get back to a healthier state.
Multiple generations of grass combined on one lot should create a fuller, greener lawn that’s dense and beautiful.
This practice, known as “overseeding”, can even help protect your lawn against diseases.
Core Aeration & Other Methods to Consider
If you think your lawn just needs a little bit extra…something, then consider some of these other methods that can really help your lawn to stand out or return to it’s rightful, revitalized state.
We’ve all seen core aeration at work, but sometimes it can be difficult to understand what the point of the effort even is.
Any time you’ve walked by a lawn covered in “holes” and little tubes of dirt lying around here and there, you’re witnessing core aeration at work.
The point of it all is to let a lawn breathe a little bit. Sometimes dry lawns lose this ability, and core aeration is the practice best known to restore it.
Leaving Grass Blades a Bit Longer
When it comes time to mow, consider letting your lawn stay a little bit longer. It can be frustrating to see your lawn grow out faster but cutting grass too short can be extremely harmful to it.
If you’re committed to revitalizing your lawn, let it stay just a tad bit longer. Taller grass is more resilient to weed invasion as well.
Guest Post by Mike Ricke – Co-owner of AAA Lawn Service, Landscape, and Snow Plow. Since 1993, AAA has upheld a commitment to provide one of the best values for lawn care available in the entire Twin Cities area. Each day, Mike works to make the company better and better so that customers needs are always better and better fulfilled.