Almost every homeowner places a high value on having a weed-free, thick, beautiful lawn. It provides space for recreation, adds beauty to the home, and serves as a manifestation of our prowess as a landscaper. Yet we all struggle to reach this ideal, and we often end up in a years-long cycle of repairs and patching that costs us money, frustration, and mess.
Even worse, our constant work around the yard is bad for the environment. Frequent tillage leads to unneeded soil erosion, and the constant application of herbicides and fertilizers invariably generates pollutive runoff that will far outlast our lawns.
So for the homeowner who likes three kinds of green–healthy grass, money in their hands, and a clean environment–it’s essential to do a good job establishing the lawn so that the vicious cycle of touching it up never begins.
“A beautiful lawn adds value
and enjoyment to any home, and
any home can have a beautiful lawn
if the right steps are followed.”
Species selection is a task best done in your hometown. Thanks to online marketing and cheap shipping, we can buy almost any kind of grass we want for our lawns. But the best thing to do is to choose something that has a good chance of surviving in the local climate, and that means buying grass seed that’s native to our area.
If you’re in a temperate Midwest or Upper South climate, Kentucky bluegrass seed will give you a beautiful lawn that is build to survive your extremes in temperature and moisture. It will establish more efficiently and grow more quickly, covering the soil before weeds have a chance to invade. It will also thwart erosion, keeping the soil where it belongs and avoiding the need to come back and sow more seed in the gaps.
We love to mow our lawns just right, but the ideal mowing technique isn’t necessarily a perfect match for the aesthetic that most of us want. We like to walk onto the lawn in our house shoes to retrieve the morning paper without getting dew on our feet, but grass short enough to do that is too short to survive.
Remember that a good lawn is all about covering the soil. Any exposed areas will fill up quickly with weeds. Consequently, a slightly taller lawn will perform better at fighting off weeds. In addition, short grass will expose thatch, the thick layer of organic material at the base of the plant. Thatch is brown and unsightly, so the taller the grass, the less visible the thatch.
One of the big mistakes people make is overreacting to a lawn problem. They see one brown patch and think the grass is all dying, and they will have to start over. The reality is that there could be lots of causes for discolored patches, and a good process of investigating could save you a lot of money.
Think about obvious things. Investigate what runoff may be on your grass from roads or fertilizers. Check for spills of pesticides, petroleum products, or even just hot water from cooking. See if pet waste may be damaging the grass.
A beautiful lawn adds value and enjoyment to any home, and any home can have a beautiful lawn if the right steps are followed in establishing, maintaining, and troubleshooting the progress of the yard. Properly followed, these steps will make lawn establishment a one-time process, not a lifetime commitment.
How healthy is your lawn?
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