A Guide to Lawn Care Basics
Your lawn...it instantly projects a certain image to anyone and everyone who sees it. Is your yard large, groomed and lovely, or untidy and lackluster? Like it or not, your lawn is a reflection of you, and all who pass by know whether or not you take lawn care seriously. Here are some lawn care basics that will send you on your way to being the envy of the block. You'll never be successful in your lawn care venture if you don't pick a type of grass that will actually grow in your area. It's a common mistake. Many homeowners see a particular species and think gosh, that would look lovely with my home! Without any consideration for their temperate zone, precipitation amounts, or sun/shade levels on the property. If you aren't sure where you fit in, don't be afraid to ask a store clerk professional for lawn care advice that pertains to your geographic locale.
Perform In-Season Maintenance Regularly
Once you've chosen the proper grass for your area, the next step in proper lawn care is performing several maintenance tasks while your grass is in its prime growth season. Mowing weekly is essential, and the lawn must be kept at an even, uniform height. Raking up the clippings after mowing will prevent tufting, and it's a great way to get your compost pile moving. Aerating the lawn with either spiked shoes or a spiking tool will keep the soil loose...compacted soil is a lawn's worst enemy.
The single most important thing you can do to ensure successful lawn care is watering, especially when the weather is hottest and driest. It may seem like an easy task, but it is often forgotten and as a result your lawn will turn brown and go dormant. Some folks like to use pesticides and herbicides to keep out the weeds and bugs, but if you prefer a more natural approach it's not a must. Do realize that an errant dandelion will crop up if you don't.
Conduct Off-Season Maintenance at the Proper Time
By the end of your first summer, if your lawn is green and gorgeous and perfect, you may think you're a lawn care master and that your job is done until spring. It isn't...unless you live in a year-round sustained climate, your lawn is affected by the change of seasons, and you need to keep up with the tasks needed to sustain a healthy lawn during the 'down' time. In the fall, start cutting shorter and make sure you rake cleanly. This is also the time to add sandy loam and apply fertilizer. Over the winter, add organic material occasionally to invite earthworms and other helpful creatures to stick around.
One important don't...never use a nitrogen based fertilizer from November to March as they will artificially speed growth in the wrong season and cause problems in the spring.
Lawn care does require a large amount of work, and of course you have the option to hire someone to do it all for you if you'd rather. No matter who does the job, nothing beats the feel of the grass on your bare feet for the first time in the summer, and the smell of a freshly mowed lawn strikes a cord down to the fiber of your being. It's almost as if it has become part of the American dream.