As seasons change pests seem to emerge in record numbers. We see them in the yard, in bushes, in doorways, garages, and even in the house. Keeping a pest-free home is easier with a well-maintained lawn. Here are some basics for maintaining a healthy lawn plus a few fall tips that will make for a spectacular yard in the spring.
A healthy lawn that’s lush and green starts with healthy soil. What’s under that beautiful grass is an entire ecosystem with many living organisms. When they’re all thriving and working together, the soil under your grass will be healthy and your grass will show it!
During growing season, there are 3 key actions you can take to have a healthy lawn that is green and more resistant to weeds and disease.
- Feed your grass
- Water it deep
- Cut it high
Feed Your Grass
Grass takes in micronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and others as it grows. Ensuring your lawn has adequate nutrients is important, but you don’t want to over-saturate the ground with excessive fertilizers or nutrients. A soil test can help you determine what your yard needs. Some kits only test the pH level, but you want to ensure you also check nutrient levels in your yard. A top pick for DIY testing is the Soil Savvy Test Kit. It’s reasonably priced and will give you a full range of nutrient results. The results will help you dial in which fertilizer and nutrient combination is best for your lawn’s needs.
Water it Deep
A lush, green lawn does best with about 1 inch of water per week. In eastern North Carolina, we get frequent rains. This means you may not need to water your lawn much of the time, but during hot, dry periods of the growing season, make sure it gets 1 inch of water per week. The best time to water is early morning. This reduces water loss due to evaporation and gives the ground time to absorb the water. More water is not better. An overly saturated lawn is susceptible to fungal diseases.
Cut it High
During growing season, cutting your grass short stresses your lawn. For a healthier lawn, set your mower to the max height. Mulch clippings instead of bagging them. Your soil can turn those clippings back into the nutrients it needs. Mow weekly or as needed as growing conditions will vary. Do not cut more than 1/3 of the blade length at one time.
Of course, there are other lawn care measures to consider like controlling weeds, dethatching and aerating. Your best defense against most problems is a healthy, thriving lawn. Once growing season has ended and cooler weather arrives, there are a few things you can do in the fall to ensure a fabulous green up in the spring.
Lawncare Tips for Fall
- Fall Fertilize/Feed
- Water & Grow
- Late Fall, Cut Low
Fall is the perfect time to aerate the lawn and overseed it. After aerating, apply new seed over existing grass with a fertilizer spreader according to the recommended coverage rate. This allows seeds to settle into aeration holes and stay moist to germinate. Immediately follow the seeding with an application of your favorite fall fertilizer and water the lawn the same day.
Water the lawn every day until new grass sprouts. Your seed may need 2 weeks to germinate. Once you have new grass growth, you can stop watering and mow the lawn as usual until it stops growing for the season. In late fall, drop your mower deck and cut the grass 1-1.5” shorter than normal.
You’ll have a nice even lawn for the winter months and will be amazed at your spring green-up. Kick back and celebrate a successful growing season and look forward to your beautiful lawn next spring. Your lawn will look great and your family, friends, and pets will all be able to enjoy it together all year.