As a new homeowner, you’ve probably started paying attention to well-kept lawns and landscapes in your area for inspiration. Now that you have to create and maintain your own yard, the task might seem daunting. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to lawn care, but knowing what tools you’ll need and how to use them is the best first step. Here at Quality All-Care, we provide our clients with perfect lawns of thick, green grass all year round. To better serve you, we put together an informative guide so even the most fundamental do-it-yourselfer will be able to take proper care of a yard.
The Importance of Mowing
Mowing your lawn is the most important factor in keeping it healthy. Cutting your grass too often, or not enough, can destroy the aesthetics of your lawn, and even kill it. Try mowing in different directions each time to prevent your lawn mower from creating detrimental ruts in your yard. Here are a few things you should know about lawn mowing:
The Right Mower
When purchasing a lawn mower, take into consideration whether or not you want your mower to mulch as you go. Mowers that mulch grass will drop clippings onto the lawn as they cut, which helps promote future growth. Whether you want a push mower or a tractor style riding mower depends on the size of your lawn, health, and fitness level. Be sure to think this through before buying your lawn mower, because the last thing you want is to purchase the wrong one and dread mowing your lawn because of it.
When it comes to cutting, sharp blades are essential for the health of your turf. A dull mower blade will rip the grass out of the soil rather than cut it, which makes your lawn vulnerable to disease and dehydration. Your local hardware store should be able to sharpen your mower’s blade once a season.
What to Cut
As a general rule of thumb: never cut more than 1/3 of the height of the grass. Depending on your type of grass, you’ll want to keep blades between 1 and 4 inches high. In the summer, during hot weather or a drought, raise the mowing blade higher to reduce the stress on your lawn, and bring it back down in the fall when the air gets cooler.
Proper Watering Techniques
While our weather here in Kansas City fluctuates, it never gets so arid and hot that we need to be overly concerned about our lawns dying without daily care. However, there are some general guidelines to follow, so you don’t over-water or don’t give your lawn enough to drink.
Just The Right Amount
It’s best to water your lawn every two to four days during the summer. If you are using sprinklers, you should apply about a ½ inch of water twice per week. If we experience a drastic heat wave, your grass will appreciate a sprinkle in the afternoon to help it cool off. As a rule of thumb, always let your lawn dry out before you water it again.
Knowing When to Water
Morning is the most opportune time to water your lawn. If you water it in the afternoon, some moisture will evaporate, and watering at night can lead to the growth of fungi.
The Scoop on Fertilization
Just like us, your lawn requires food and vitamins for nutrition and sustenance. Even the greenest of lawns needs fertilization. Here at Quality All-Care, we only use organic-based products, so your pets and children are safe from chemicals while allowing us to protect the environment at the same time.
When to Fertilize
At the bare minimum, you want to fertilize your lawn in the spring and fall. When we treat our clients’ yards, we fertilize throughout the year and recommend that you consider doing so as well. Fertilizer gives your lawn nitrogen and nutrients so it can grow and be vibrant to its full potential. A healthy and nutritious lawn helps prevent disease and weeds from ruining all of your hard work.
Which Fertilizer is For Me?
There are a lot of fertilizers on the market, so do your research before you buy one. A complete fertilizer should have sulfur, copper, and iron. It can be beneficial to test your soil before deciding which fertilizer to use, and you might want to ask a professional to do this test for you. If you’re not comfortable with fertilizing your lawn on your own, the trusted team at Quality All-Care is always happy to help!
All About Aeration
Aeration is one of the most overlooked but vital lawn care jobs there is. Aeration is when you use an aerator, or a pitch fork for small yards, to drill tiny holes all throughout your lawn. Hot weather and wear-and-tear cause your soil to be compacted, which means that water, air, and nutrients aren’t able to soak into your soil and get to the roots of your grass. Aeration helps this process occur.
When to Aerate
For warm-season grasses like bahiagrass, bermudagrass, and St. Augustinegrass, aerate in the spring. Cold-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass should be aerated in the fall. We live in the Transition Zone, so our area has both warm and cold season types of grass, so be sure you know what kind you have.
Overseed After Aeration
When you’re done aerating, lay down grass seed to promote new growth. Overseeding helps the seed go down into the holes you made, and also allows the seed to take advantage of the water, air, and nutrients that you’re giving your lawn through aeration.
Those Pesky Weeds
Every homeowner that cares about their lawn despises weeds. They’re an eyesore, take water and nutrients away from your grass, and can spread quickly. The best prevention against weeds is having a healthy, thick lawn to choke out the possibility of weed growth, but here are some tips if they’ve already moved in:
If you find that you have to apply herbicides to get rid of your weed problem, use an all-natural product. This will help to kill your weeds while also allowing your grass to thrive.
It sounds obvious, but when you see a weed, simply pull it out by its roots. Another way to prevent weeds from spreading across your lawn is by routine mowing. If you mow in accordance to what we recommended above, weeds like dandelions and crabgrass won’t be able to grow tall enough to sprout seeds. If you aren’t sure what kind of weed you’re dealing with, or your weed problem won’t go away, it’s best to consult a professional so you don’t apply unnecessary chemicals to your lawn that it either doesn’t need or may harm your grass.
Tools of the Trade
Aside from the tools we’ve mentioned, like a lawn mower and aerator, there are other tools you’ll want in your shed or garage to make lawn care easier.
When you are trying to get rid of a brown patch of grass, you’ll want a rake and shovel. Use the blade of the shovel to cut around the brown spot so you can lift up the dead grass, or if the area is large, use a rake.
A rake will help you get rid of large patches of dead grass and even out the soil where you want to reseed your lawn. In the fall, your rake will also help you get the leaves off your grass. This is important, because if leaves sit on your lawn over the winter, they can often kill large batches of your grass.
A spreader will distribute fertilizer, herbicides, and even grass seed evenly over your lawn, so you don’t have to do the entire yard by hand. Having grass seed, organic herbicides, and fertilizer on hand will make fixing problems once they arise simpler for you.
Getting Some Help From Your Friends
This guide to lawn care will help you get started with your new responsibilities, and we hope you’re able to create and maintain a green, healthy lawn. When life gets in the way of doing your yard work, or if you’re facing weeds, disease, and dead grass that are getting out of control, we can help. Here at Quality All-Care, we are a one-stop-shop for all of your lawn care needs, all throughout the year. So while we hope this guide helps you with your lawn, don’t be afraid to get some help from your friends.