It wasn’t too long ago that the patriarch in the family was considered the go-to caretaker for all things lawn-related, as it was seen as one of the ways men offset the gendered imbalance present in housework. Many men still enjoy the rigors and pleasures of yard work, but more and more women are getting in the act, too. A beautiful lawn, however, requires more than just a gender-neutral willingness to fire up the lawnmower, work the edger, and dig up dandelions with the fervor of a suburbanite dad. Here are six musts that everyone should get behind on their quest to achieve a beautiful lawn.
1. Professional Expertise
Some lawns were set in motion with the skill of someone bearing a knowledgeable green thumb, while some were allowed to just gather random passing seeds year after year. If you moved into a house with a lush and perfect lawn, you’re lucky. Maintaining the efforts of the owner before you should be relatively simple. If your home did not come equipped with a stunning greenscape, however, don’t despair. There are scores of professionals willing to give you their advice and aid. Whether your yard is suffering from an unidentified lawn fungus or it looks like you’re running a crab grass sanctuary, don’t be afraid to seek help from the experts.
2. Water It
So obvious as to be often overlooked, watering your lawn is an essential component to its current and future health. The amount of rain your area receives, temperature, and humidity can all affect how much water your lawn will need on a given day or week. However, when the grass looks bluish-gray, it’s time to water. You can do this by hand, with a simple garden sprinkler, or via an automated sprinkler system. The choice is up to you — just make sure you don’t forget to do it.
3. Fertilize It
For some reason fertilizing often takes a backseat to other lawn care tasks, which is too bad. Every time you mow your lawn, you don’t just make it shorter; you also actively remove necessary nutrients from it. Fertilizer can put those nutrients right back in. Once spring growth is getting underway, fertilize your lawn roughly once a month with a fertilizer that includes nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, and your grass will grow like magic.
If you think aerating is something only the most obsessive and dedicated lawn aficionados do, you’re right. But there’s a reason for that: it makes their lawns look spectacular. So, get obsessive. Aerating doesn’t have to be complicated. Buy a simple digging fork, and poke holes throughout your yard so the grass roots can get air. Then, fill those holes with sand. The sand will help water flow more effectively while simultaneously granting the root system much-needed oxygen. It’s a straightforward extra step that will pay handsome dividends in terms of lawn health and beauty.
5. Mow Right
If you sincerely desire a beautiful lawn, mowing must become a tool instead of a chore. Rather than the harried once a week or twice a month effort most homeowners tend to make in order to keep their lawn at a socially acceptable height, mowing should instead be used as a way to thicken the grass. To accomplish that end, cut your grass a couple times a week, a little at a time. Change the direction and pattern up as well, so that the blades of grass don’t always get pressed in the same direction. Each time you mow, you should cut the grass no more than two inches. Should the summer bring about a period of drought or excessive heat, cut an even smaller amount as leaving it on the long side will enable it to withstand the harsher conditions better.
If your lawn shows any bare or bald patches, you definitely need to seed it. The best time to seed is right after you’ve mowed, aerated, and fertilized.
Be sure to use seed that is the same variety of grass that currently makes up your lawn, and after spreading it over the bare areas evenly by hand, water it. Be sure to continue to water those patches once or twice a day for the next few weeks, or until the grass looks to be holding its own in the summer heat.
Having a beautiful lawn is something that can happen to anyone. Follow these six tips faithfully, and you can almost guarantee that it will happen to you.
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