Year-Round Lawn Care
While most people consider lawn care a seasonal job, caring for your lawn throughout the year will yield the best results. Year-round lawn care involves a variety of tasks, including implementing a fertilizer system, mowing, and even liming. Here is a guide to help you properly care for your lawn all year long, to ensure its health in every season.
As the start of the growing season, spring is one of the busiest times for lawn care. Spring lawn care should start after the snow has melted and the ground has thawed out. Once this has occurred, you should start your lawn care routine by evaluating the condition of your soil.
The best way to evaluate your soil is to do a soil test. This can be done through the use of a kit from a gardening store, or by bringing samples to your local extension office. Depending on which method you use, the soil test will show your soil pH, as well as nutrient levels. Your soil’s pH should be relatively neutral, from 6-7.5, with the ideal pH at 6.5 Grass grows best in this range, and will also thrive with ample amounts of major nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. If your soil pH is too high or too low, you can then use soil amendments to correct it. Spring is also the time to develop a good fertilizer system to replenish nutrients as well.
Trim and mow your lawn before adding soil amendments and starting your fertilizer system. April is generally a good time to begin this process, because the soil is almost always completed thawed, but most weeds haven’t had time to get a foothold yet. Because weeds haven’t started growing yet, you can also reseed any bare or sparse areas of your lawn and start watering at this time as well. In general, you do not need to water much in spring, but you can start watering at the end of the season, especially if you have had a dry winter and spring.
As long as you establish a good fertilizer system and correct soil problems in spring, you can focus on watering and mowing in summer. These will be your main summer maintenance tasks, and if you do them correctly, your lawn will thrive.
In general, your lawn should be watered once a week. If you live in an area with a lot of rain, you can water less often. If you live in an area with hot, dry summers, you may need to water more, because your lawn will lose water through evaporation. Regardless of how often you water, try to ensure that your entire lawn receives about an inch of water every time. By doing this, the water should penetrate the ground and reach the grass’ roots, which will help grass establish a deeper and more secure root system.
When mowing your lawn during the summer, try to keep the length between two to two and a half inches. Try to never cut more than a third of the grass stalks off, and avoid ever cutting your grass down to the ground or root level, as you risk shocking or even killing the grass. Mow regularly to ensure that grass does not get too tall.
In a year-round lawn care routine, fall lawn care is also extremely important, with autumn typically being the second busiest time, because it involves dealing with leaves and debris, as well as preparing the grass for winter. The amount of autumn leaves you have to deal with will depend on your region, but try to keep your lawn clear of leaves, thatch, and other pieces of debris during the fall season, so grass can continue getting sunlight. You can compost this material, or dispose of it through other means, but the less debris on your lawn, the better.
In early fall, you should also consider reseeding your lawn. Bare patches may have developed over the summer, or your grass could have thinned out due to weather or traffic over the lawn. Reseed these trouble spots, or if you would like an even lusher lawn for next season, you can reseed it entirely. You can reseed on your own by choosing grass seeds and sprinkling them over your lawn, or you can use a kit that includes grass seeds, and mulch or fertilizer to help provide the seeds with a positive environment for germination.
Once winter sets in, you’ll enter into one of the easiest lawn care seasons of the year, but there are still things you can do to care for your yard. One of the easiest winter lawn care chores is to cut down on lawn traffic. The less traffic there is on the lawn, the fewer grass blades will be flattened or broken. Broken and flattened blades take longer to recover in the spring, so your lawn will look greener and fuller faster if there are less damaged stalks.
If your yard has any trees, then winter is also one of the best seasons to do any necessary trimming. The branches of the trees are dormant, so it will be less shocking for them to be trimmed, and the tree will likely sustain less damage.
It’s also important to avoid spilling excess rock salt onto grassy areas adjacent to driveways and sidewalks, as this can burn the lawn.
Year-round lawn care may seem complex, but can be as simple as doing the right things at the right time. Following the simple steps above will help you attain a healthy, lush green bed of grass every year. For more information on lawn care, contact us today!