Lawn care tips for a beautiful yard

By Shannon Caringi of Trillium Living

There is nothing that creates curb appeal like a lush, green, well-maintained lawn. It is your home’s first impression to the world!
Having a beautiful lawn is the great obsession of some homeowners, but for others, it is a mystery.
These easy lawn care tips will simplify the process so that you can have a gorgeous yard your neighbors will envy!
Easy Lawn Care Tips
Mowing Tips
• Always keep the mower blade sharp. It may need to be sharpened 2 or 3 times during the season. This will make a clean cut on each grass blade and keep the grass from looking “torn.” This creates a professional, manicured appearance.
• Never “scalp” grass or cut below 2.5 inches. This can burn the grass and provide an environment conducive for weeds and pests.
• Mow regularly so that no more than 1/3 of the grass blade height is removed at one time.
• Keeping grass at a height of 2.5 inches high in spring and 3 inches high in summer will yield the best results. This length allows the grass blade to shade the roots and crown of the plant. This keeps the grass green and lush throughout the heat of summer.
• I highly recommend a mulching mower. This type of mower shreds grass clippings and leaves into a fine mulch and applies them back to the soil. This is an organic fertilizer, providing nutrients to the soil. A mulching mower can also be used in the fall in lieu of raking leaves. This is a time saver and keeps landfills free of unnecessary organic material.
Watering Tips
• Generally, most lawns don’t require supplemental watering in the spring and fall. Rainfall is plentiful, providing adequate moisture. However, summer is generally when dry periods necessitate lawn watering.
• Buy a rain gauge to see how much rainfall your area receives each week. A lawn needs at least an inch of rain each week.
• Use a sprinkler that sprays water as close to the ground as possible. The goal is to water the soil and avoid water from blowing away or evaporating before it reaches the ground.
• Water only in the morning as this enables the roots to absorb water before the heat of the day. In order to minimize the chance of foliar diseases, leaves should be dry most of the day and night.
Fertilization Tips
• A professional tip for a beautiful lawn is to test your soil each fall. Soil tests are inexpensive and are available at most garden centers. The soil test will provide recommendations for soil amendments and fertilization needs. This takes all of the guesswork out of lawn care and eliminates buying products that are unnecessary for your lawn. Testing pH is important because grass grows best at a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Outside of this range, the grass plants won’t be able to absorb all of the nutrients from the soil to look its best.
• There are many companies that offer a “four-step” lawn fertilization program. These are extremely convenient and designed to make lawn care simple. However, most of these steps provide more than fertilizer. Chemicals are included to treat insects, diseases and weeds that may or may not be an issue in your lawn. These can contribute to water pollution and harm beneficial organisms. There are also concerns if you have pets and children. Be sure to talk with an expert at your local garden center to selectively purchase the products your lawn needs.
• There are also organic “four-step” options that are safe for pets and children. These are environmentally friendly (important to protect our Great Lake!) as they promote healthy microbes and don’t harm the earthworms that naturally keep soil healthy. Organic fertilizer won’t burn grass and lasts longer in the soil, so you will see more long-term lawn health. Used in conjunction with proper lawn maintenance, you will get great results!

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