Turf Tips for the Home Lawn

Everyone has at least one lawn in their neighborhood that looks like this. And we all spend time trying to achieve this same look. Many times we are simply not spending our time and money wisely in order to achieve the perfect lawn. Here are a few tips that will steer you in the right direction:


Feed Me!

I believe that the #1 item that should be on everyone's "To Do List" when looking to improve their lawn, is to have a soil test completed. Basic soil tests are inexpensive (about $15/once per year) and will give you simple guidelines for fertilizer inputs like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and pH, and tell you what nutrients your lawn needs. Have you ever fertilized your lawn and felt underwhelmed by the turf's response?  Sometimes a simple gypsum or lime application to adjust the pH is all that you need to free up the nutrients that are already present or in abundance in your soil.


A Little off the Top

Most homeowners mow their lawns way too low, especially in the summer. You may think that if you mow it lower, you will have to mow it less often, but that is simply not the case. Mowing turf lower than the plant desires, will put the plants under stress and will eventually lead to weed infestations, reduced heat and drought stress tolerance and could cause eventual death to some of the plants in your lawn. Unless you plan on putting golf balls or hosting Premier League Football match on your lawn, raise your mower to the highest setting, or close to it (3"-3.5"), and allow your turf to develop a long, healthy root system.


Air it Out!

Take care of your lawn by aerating and/or dethatching once EVERY year. If you have never aerated your lawn, this could be the single most important thing you can do to improve the health of your lawn. If you aerated last year, don't think you are good now…you should aerate once per year, by either core aerating or dethatching, or both. The best time of year to aerate in the mid-Atlantic is late August – Early October. Here's a simple plan to follow when aerating:
  1. Aerate your lawn when the soil has good moisture with a rented unit or hire someone to do it. Having good soil moisture will allow the machine to penetrate deeper into the soil profile.
     
  2. Overseed with a seed selected for your site at the rate recommended on the bagSpread compost, (Leafgro, Humus & Manure,...) over the top of your freshly aerated lawn at about .5" - 1" thick and gently rake over with the back side of a leaf rake to help move the seed and compost into the holes you just created.
     
  3. Fertilize. Then water twice per day for the first 7-10 days and then once per day for 2 weeks. Having a nice, lush, healthy lawn takes time, effort and resources. Please be patient and continue to incorporate these tips in your everyday approach to your lawn. You will see results immediately, and continued care will guarantee the future health of your lawn.