Lawn Service 101: The Beginner's Guide
Is your yard in need of some TLC, but you don't know the first thing about lawn care?
The average homeowner spends approximately four hours per week caring for their lawn. But maybe you lead a busy life and are not sure what kind of lawn service will be worth your effort or that you even have time for.
If you want to keep your lawn from sticking out like a sore thumb in your neighborhood, read on for basic tips on caring for your lawn.
Beginner Tips for Lawn Service
Simply mowing the grass will only get you so far. When it comes to lawn care, weather and plenty of other factors come into play. The following tips will help you step up your lawn service game.
Prepare in the early spring.
Once the temperature starts climbing back up and rainfall comes for frequently, your grass will start growing rapidly and you'll need to be ready for the first cutting. But you don't want to mow right away when the grass is wet. Doing so can spread diseases and the wet clippings can clog up your lawn mower.
In the meantime, perform the necessary mower maintenance to prepare for the lawn care season:
- Sharpen your mower blades. Dull blades can tear your grass, discolor your lawn and bring pathogens. Sharpen mower blades once a month and keep a backup blade on hand.
- Get a new spark plug and air filter for your mower at the start of every year.
- Buy fresh gas. Gas that has been sitting out through the colder months can accumulate moisture that harms small engines.
Also, take the time to clean up your lawn before your first mow. Rake out the leaves and twigs covering your lawn. Clear out any debris getting in the way so you can start applying fertilizer and herbicides.
Even out the ground.
If you're a new homeowner, take into consideration any uneven ground. Low and high spots are not good for your lawn. The blades of the lawnmower hit the high areas too hard and the low areas cause poor drainage.
It is worth it to deal with uneven ground early on. Fill in the low areas and cut away the ground that is raised.
Aerate when grass is actively growing.
Aerating your lawn keeps everything growing healthy. Properly aerating your soil allows room for roots to expand. It is also good for improving nutrient and water filtration and reducing thatch buildup.
The best time to aerate your lawn is when the soil is moist and the grass is actively growing. Aerators cannot get deep enough in the soil when the soil is dry and hard. Either aerate after a good rain or water the lawn before aerating.
Get your soil tested.
If you're not sure what your lawn needs, soil testing is beneficial for a number of reasons:
- It helps you control weed, disease, and insects without using harsh chemicals.
- It helps you know what nutrients your soil needs.
- It allows you to track your progress.
If you can't figure out why some spots of your lawn just aren't growing, a simple soil test can reveal the answer and help you fix the problem. Shoot to do soil testing at least once every three years.
Feed your lawn.
Warm Texas grass should be fertilized in the summer when grass is actively growing. The amount of fertilizer you need to use will depend on how rich the underlying soil is. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for fertilizing your lawn:
- Avoid wasting fertilizer on any dormant grass.
- At least once a year, apply granular or liquid lawn fertilizer.
- Do not overfeed. This can cause weak growth and fungal problems.
To fertilize, use stakes to divide the lawn into a grid of yard squares. Apply fertilizer at the rate according to the package. If it doesn't rain within three days after feeding, be sure to water your lawn.
Water early in the morning.
Your lawn will require occasional irrigation to keep it green during dry periods of summer. Early morning is the best time to water your lawn. As the sun comes up it will dry the grass and make for less chance of disease.
Do not water at nighttime. The prolonged moisture can encourage disease, and afternoon watering may cause significant water loss from evaporation.
Water the lawn as necessary, which is likely once or twice a week. Make sure to water long enough so the soil gets wet several inches down. This will make your lawn more tolerant to drought.
Use weed preventers.
Apply weed preventers early in the growing season to keep weeds from taking over your lawn. Weed preventers also stop crabgrass seeds from germinating.
Weed preventers can work wonders in your yard, but you have to apply them at the right time. They are not effective against weeds that have already begun growing, so be sure to apply them before germination occurs.
Crabgrass typically germinates just after forsythia bloom. In Texas, forsythia bushes drop their blossoms from February to mid-March. This is the best time to apply weed preventer (and be sure to water as soon as possible to activate it).
Mow by the one-third rule.
Last but not least, you still have to mow consistently. But getting the timing right is important to the appearance of your lawn.
When you're not sure of the right time to mow, go by the one-third rule: Never remove more than one-third of the grass height at one time. If you set your mower at two inches, your grass shouldn't get taller than three inches before you mow.
During the spring months, you'll likely want to mow once a week. Set the blades at their highest setting, gradually lowering as grass begins growing quicker. In summer months, you may need to mow two or even three times a week depending on the quality of your lawn.
If you don't have the time to dedicate to your lawn care each week, hire a professional. According to a survey conducted in 2010 by the National Gardening Association, 22 million homeowners hire a lawn care professional to handle their lawn service needs.
At North Texas Lawns, we don't kid around. Our professional and highly-trained staff will ensure your lawn is maintained to your standards. Let us do the upkeep, and you can spend your evening hours relaxing after a hard day and enjoying your beautiful lawn.
Call or email us today for an estimate.
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