Beyond Watering and Fertilizing: 9 Ways to Keep Your Lawn Green

Thu May 14 2015 | maintenance | sod

You already understand basic lawn care principles. You know that your sod needs water a few times a week to combat the hot summer sun. You also recognize that you have to fertilize your grass at least once every spring or fall to keep it green and vibrant.

However, what if your lawn still refuses to look beautiful, despite the fact that you have covered the basics?

Browse through the tips below and see if any of them could assist you with your situation. You may need to try multiple strategies before you find an approach that works. Or, if your sod continues to misbehave, contact your local grass experts to have them inspect your lawn.

1. Mow Your Grass to the Correct Height

Many homeowners trim their grass short so their lawns use less water. However, the shorter you mow your grass, the more susceptible to diseases and weeds it becomes. Tall grass equals healthy grass-to a point.

During the first spring mow, cut your grass to two inches so you can shorten the dead leaves and open more sunlight to the new ones. After that, keep your lawn at least three or four inches high during the rest of the season. Then, when cold temperatures start, mow your grass to two inches again.

Additionally, since your grass stays healthier at this height, it will not respond as poorly when you don't water it for days at a time.

2. Use a Sharp Mower Blade

A sharp blade makes a clean cut, and the grass can heal from that cut more easily than it would with one from a dull blade. Dull blades do not just cut your lawn-they also snag and tear it, damaging your grass. As a result, your sod starts to die. Therefore, if you want to keep your lawn healthy, you have to sharpen or replace your mower blade at least once a year.

If you have a larger property, you may have to sharpen your mower blade more often. Even though grass doesn't give the blade much resistance, the more you use your mower, the duller the blade will become.

3. Aerate Your Lawn in the Fall

Aeration helps your lawn breathe when too many roots crowd the same space. Aeration also helps water filter into the soil better, so your lawn will do better with less water. Schedule aeration every fall, or rent a machine and do it yourself.

The machine will pull tiny cylinders of grass and soil out of your sod. Your yard might look unsightly for a while, but your efforts will help it appear stunning when it regrows next year.

4. Detach the Sod Annually

"Thatch" refers to the layer of dead grass leaves that builds up around the living leaves. Eventually, the thatch can grow so thick that it chokes out your lawn's live specimens. So, once a year, you must take a rake or similar implement and remove the thatch from your sod.

5. Make Sure Your Grass Receives Enough Water

Tiny daily sprinklings won't help your lawn survive. Rather, you need to deeply water your grass every three or four days, and you'll give it one or two inches of hydration at a time.

Additionally, you can let your grass go dormant during times of drought. The top part of your sod may look brown, but the plant's core will survive and simply wait until conditions allow you to water again. Grass can stay dormant for weeks or months at a time, if necessary. Ask your sod provider how long your grass species can stay inactive before it dies.

6. Do Not Collect the Clippings after You Mow

Those clippings quickly break down and fertilize the grass underneath them, so leave the grass trimmings on your lawn instead of throwing them away if you can help it. Even if you have to prepare for a special event, store the clippings in a container and spread them back on your lawn later. Your lawn will become healthier and more vibrant as a result.

7. Pull Weeds-Do Not Use Herbicides

Herbicides harm your grass just as much as they harm weeds. Therefore, if you notice weeds in your sod, pull them and eradicate their roots with a trowel. Do not spray chemicals on your lawn.

8. Weed Before Invaders Grow Tall

As weeds grow, they send their roots deep into the ground. They also begin to steal nutrients that your sod needs to survive.

Before the weeds reach that point, you must pull them out. Ideally, you should eradicate them as soon as you see them. With this strategy, you will also make your life easier because weeds prove less difficult to pull when they have shallow roots.

9. Remove Excessive Shade

Most grass species need at least four hours of sunlight daily. If parts of your lawn don't receive enough light, remove the umbrellas, trees, or decor that block sun exposure.

However, if you can't remove the object that causes the problem, consider planting something that loves shade in those sunless areas.

Use the tips above to keep your lawn green and growing. And remember-if these strategies do not boost your lawn's health, your grass specialist may have additional tips for you. Call him or her to learn more.