Sure, it’s cold and wintry out there now, but before you know it, spring will be here and another season of lawn care will begin. Review these tips now and you’ll be ready to do everything you need to make sure your lawn looks its best all season long.
- First, have your soil tested. Knowing what nutrients your soil is lacking can help you determine what fertilizer or other amendments you should add. A soil test can also tell you if your soil is acidic or alkaline so you can take steps to achieve an ideal balance for grass and other plants. Before making amendments, determine which type of soil is preferred by the grass you’re planning to plant. Buy an inexpensive soil testing kit from your county extension agent or send samples to Rutgers’ Agricultural Experiment Station for testing in their lab. Forms can be found here.
- Have your mower serviced. Now is the time to have blades sharpened or replaced and have a tune-up, as well. Having sharp blades means grass is cut, not torn. Tearing grass stresses it and makes it more likely to be attacked by pests, fungi or diseases. Plus, it can cause the ends of the grass to turn yellow or brown. Most blades need to be sharpened and balanced about three times each season.
- Don’t cut too short. Nobody actually likes getting out there and mowing on a humid day, and it’s tempting to think that cutting it extra-short means you can skip the next regular mowing. But hold on: Cutting your grass too short can stress it out, making it more prone to disease. Plus, shorter grass makes it easier for weed seeds to take hold. In most cases, a cutting height of about 2.5 to 3 inches is good, but to be sure, research the recommended cutting height for your variety of grass and adjust your blade accordingly.
- Aerate once a year. Aerating your lawn removes plugs of soil to help your plant roots get the nutrients they need to stay strong and healthy. Plus, by breaking up the soil, roots can spread more easily. Aerating can be done in the spring or the autumn.
- Fill in those bare spots. Bare spots are prime areas for opportunistic weeds to take over. Churn up the soil with a rake, add amendments and then over-seed with grass varieties well suited for the site.
- Watch out for pests and signs of disease. New Jersey’s humid summers provide ideal growing conditions for lots of fungi. Watch for brown spots that could indicate a fungal infection and make sure your lawn gets enough – but not too much – water; Ideally, about an inch per week. Put a coffee can on your lawn while watering and measure the water in the can afterward to keep track.
Having a plan is the best way to keep your lawn looking great. Follow directions specific to your grass type and schedule important tasks like aerating and feeding on your calendar so you don’t forget. Want to leave the hose in the garage this season? Call us today at 1-800-WET-LAWN for a free estimate on a new irrigation system. Then get ready to enjoy your great-looking lawn!