The key to a healthy lawn lies in simple actions that are outlined below. Remember no two lawns are alike as the soil and other growing conditions can be radically different from one neighbor to another, and even between different areas of the same lawn.
The main factors that can damage lawn health include:
- Poor soil: Improperly balanced soil pH, low organic matter levels, compaction and drainage can adversely affect even the most well cared lawns.
- Insects and disease: Non-beneficial fungi and insects are always present but not necessarily in sufficient numbers to cause damage. Properly timed controls when needed, resistant grass varieties, and healthy turf and soil are the best defense against these pests.
- Nutrient deficiencies: lawns require regular fertilizer treatments to replace nutrients utilized by the plant or not readily available from the soil. Get a lab test of the soil for a comprehensive analysis of soil health and nutrient content.
- Improper mowing and watering: Lawns mowed too short can lead to scorching and lawn thinning, inviting weed and crabgrass infestations. Too much or too little watering impacts both plant and soil health.
Once the reasons for poor lawn health are determined, homeowners should take the following actions:
1. Fertilize – For Spring, apply a lawn fertilizer treatment containing both quick and slow release nitrogen. Use a starter fertilizer formula if the lawn has been seeded.
2. Aerate – Core aeration followed by organic compost topdressing will improve soil drainage, structure, nutrient availability, and reduce thatch levels. For many lawns, a lime application is required to get the pH in balance.
3. Tree Pruning – Thin and raise tree canopies to allow more light on lawn areas affected by excessive shade.
4. Weed and Crabgrass Control – Catch crabgrass early by applying a preemergent crabgrass control to inhibit weedy grass germination. For weed controls, liquid products will provide better coverage to small weeds than granular materials. Apply while weather is cool and wind is still. Do not use non-selective weed controls such as Roundup in lawn areas. Always follow label directions when using lawn products.
5. Monitor – Lawn care is never done. Stay on top of changes in the lawn throughout the growing season and if you need help, always call a professional.
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