Growing the perfect lawn

Owning a home in most cases also means tending to the landscaping and lawnLawn on their property, and is a source of great pride for many. Landscaping accentuates the design of the home, it adds the final aesthetic touch to the residence, and the backyard is quite often used for entertaining during the summertime. Keeping a lawn vibrantly green, weed-free, and looking its best becomes an important priority to many homeowners.

It isn’t always an easy task to foster a lush lawn; most times it requires a multifaceted management approach. To keep grass looking pristine homeowners need to invest both time and money on the following aspects:  watching the frequency and amount of water applied, keeping the grass adequately fed, mowing correctly, and performing routine maintenance. These factors encourage optimal growth and a desired shade of beautiful green.

Watering

Water performs very important functions within the blades of grass and is needed for optimal growth.

During photosynthesis water and carbon dioxide is used to generate the carbohydrates needed for plant growth. Adequate water within the cells keeps them expanded and in turn, the plants stand upright. Water mixes with fertilizers or nutrients in the soil, creating a solution that can be absorbed by the roots, drawing nutrients into the plant.

No matter what type of grass is grown, most lawns need an average of 1-1.5” of water weekly. This can come via rainfall or applied through a sprinkler or irrigation system controlled by a smart watering system. The frequency in which water is applied to the lawn, and the amount to administer each time varies depending on the soil type of the yard and climate of the growing zone.

To build a strong, healthy root system, space waterings as far apart as possible. It is best to apply a larger amount of water less often. This encourages the root systems to grow deeper, increasing the drought tolerance of the lawn.  Wise Orchard can do this automatically for you.

Fertilization

Certain nutrients are essential for all plant growth: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, sodium, boron, chlorine, manganese, iron, zinc, copper, molybdenum and nickel. These nutrients play crucial roles in the basic functions that occur within the plant, without them, plants can’t grow.

With continued growth, plants are constantly depleting the nutrient resources within the soil. This makes it necessary to add nutrients back to the soil, in the form of fertilizers, to grow strong, healthy plants..

Lawns have slightly different fertilizer needs compared to other plants. Grass responds best to fertilizers that predominantly contain nitrogen and have lower amounts of phosphorus and potassium. The nitrogen encourages lush, green, vegetative growth and increased plant vigor.

A lawn fertilizer with a nutrient ratio of 20-5-10 or 18-6-12 is recommended for most grass types. For optimum growth, apply an early-season application when the soil temperature reaches 55-60°F. After an initial application switch to a slow-release, granular fertilizer and apply every 6 – 8 weeks throughout the growing season. Make sure that fertilizer is thoroughly watered into the lawn after application.

Mowing

To keep the lawn looking shipshape, mowing needs to be done properly as well.

Always ensure the lawnmower blades are regularly shaperened and free of large nicks/gouges. Mower blades that are dulled or chipped no not shear the grass cleanly and will “tear” the grass instead. Tearing the grass causes undue stress within the blades and water evaporates quicker through the torn, jagged edge.

Be careful not to cut the grass too short either. When moving, raise the height of the cutting deck on the mower to remove approximately ⅓ of the height of the grass each time it is mowed. A taller lawn casts more shade to the soil below, holding more moisture in the soil. Allowing the grass to grow taller will also help promote a deeper root system, making it more drought tolerant.

Aerating

A healthy lawn unfortunately has the tendency to get too thick, and the dense mat of grass inhibits the movement of water and fertilizer down to the root zone. Aerating the lawn — poking holes in the thick grass to create openings for water/nutrient movement — helps alleviate this problem. It is best to aerate when the lawn is actively growing so the grass can heal itself, and can be done annually.

Pest Management

Lastly, it’s important to treat pest problems as they arise. Treating them quickly minimizes the damage done to the grass.

Thankfully grass is fairly resistant to insect pests. The trouble in lawns usually stems from the varmint that live beneath the soil surface: moles, voles, and grubs. Indicative symptoms of these nuisance pests include brown spots in an otherwise healthy green lawn, dead and/or dying patches, thin or missing roots, and holes dug into the soil. When pests are noticed, treat appropriately based on the problem.

Treatments effectively remove these pests from the lawn, but the best defense against their invasion is keeping the grass strong and healthy to start with. Water the lawn well, encouraging a deep root zone, and provide adequate fertilizers to keep the grass in prime condition. This will help to warm off any unwanted infestations.

Conclusion

The goal of many homeowners with a lawn is to have healthy, green grass that makes the landscaping look nice while providing a place to entertain family and friends. Maintaining a strong, vigorous lawn isn’t difficult but it’s important to take proper care of it by providing adequate moisture and nutrients, mowing and aerating correctly, and treating pest infestations quickly.

 

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