Up until about 2 years ago, I didn’t know much about growing grass. In my previous residence we had a landscape business come out every 2 weeks to mow the grass, trim trees, and fertilize the lawn as needed.
That changed though when we moved further out of town onto a little bit of acreage. I decided if we owned some land, I could do my part to keep the grass looking good. My dad gave me the tip of fertilizing 4x a year – around Easter, the 4th of July, Halloween, and New Years. The goal was to fertilize every 3 or so months. I figured hey, I can mow the grass and fertilize. That’s straight-forward enough! I mean, I can grow a garden. A lawn should be easy. Right?
It seems, though, that instead of growing lawn, I’m growing a mud pit with with an essence of dandelion. Also Dock. That’s a real keeper. The first Spring we were in our new house I started plucking all the yellow-headed dandelions and putting them in a bucket. I figured hey, if life gives you dandelions, might as well make dandelion jam! I got about 20 square feet plucked when I turned around and the lawn behind me had bloomed into more canary-colored nuisances. (Or it felt like that, at least!) When I turned back to the bucket, my dogs were eating the dandelions.
This year, I’m doing some research. Between the dock and dandelion, I’m determined to grow a patch of grass that actually looks like grass!
Watering, Fertilizing, Aerating. Oh My!
Here are some of the tips I’ve learned about lawns, and I figure I’d share them with you!
1. Water your lawn a day before fertilizing so you don’t have to water it immediately after fertilizing. Then, after fertilizing, water it again about a day later. If rain is in the forecast, try and plan your fertilizing around it.
2. Soil Aeration. This one has always been an interesting idea to me. The reason is probably because I figured a lawn was self-sustaining. In fact, aeration can help with super compacted soil. The lawn can benefit from this since the water and nutrients from fertilizer can better reach the lawn roots. Consider core aeration for the best results. You can rent one of these from your local home improvement store.
3. As for the weeds? Get yourself some broad lead killer if you have a big enough weed problem that pulling them would be too large a task. Some weeds pull relatively easy. Some? You’d need a shovel!
4. If you want to go the organic method for fertilizing, you can also spread compost in a thin later across the lawn. It’s considered “top dressing.” You’ll want to core-areate your lawn first, and then spread the compost 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick across the lawn. You’ll want to do this in Autumn.
5. When you water your lawn, aim to water before the sun rises. This will minimize evaporation. Skip watering in the evening which can lead to various grass fungus and diseases. This do-it-yourself article has some good tips on how to make the most out of irrigating your lawn.
I’m hoping this research will pay off – if it does, I’ll let you know in Autumn!