Is Your Yard Ready for the Growing Season?
The secret to having a thriving yard through the summer lies in the lawn-care techniques you implement during the spring. By applying a systematic approach early in the year, you'll develop a resilient lawn that's resistant to the effects of the sun, weeds, pests and heavy foot traffic. Follow these guidelines to prepare your yard for summer.
1. Aerate your lawn to promote the healthy formation of the root system. Aeration allows the grass to breathe, and also enables water and nutrients reach the root system more efficiently. Perform the process in the autumn if your lawn is a cool-season grass, like bluegrass or ryegrass. If you live in a climate where warm-season grasses thrive, aerate in early spring. Many experts suggest aerating your lawn every 1 to 3 years, but high-traffic areas may require more-frequent attention.
2.Rake your lawn to remove excess thatch. Thatch is the decaying plant material that accumulates on the ground. A thatch layer exceeding a half-inch (1.27 cm) can block sunlight from grass and prevent water from reaching deep roots. Dethatch in autumn, while you're raking leaves, to prepare your yard for next summer. Removing thatch gives healthy grass plants the best chance for survival during the winter. Consider another raking in spring, particularly if your lawn shows evidence of compaction. Dethatching should be done in conjunction with aeration.
3. Fertilize the yard according to the type of grass you have. Apply fertilizer at least twice a year, during the peak growing seasons of your lawn. Scale back fertilizing about 30 days before peak summer temperatures.
- Cool-season grasses: Lawns featuring these types of grasses should be fertilized during early spring, after the winter dormancy period, and early fall. Use fertilizer with higher nitrogen concentrations during the autumn application.
- Warm-season grasses: These varieties need flourish during the summer months. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer should be spread in the spring, when the lawn shows its first signs of vibrancy. Fertilize again in late summer.
4. Water your lawn with the roots in mind. Most grasses need about 1 inch (2.54 cm) of irrigation per week during peak growing seasons. A single, deep irrigation is preferable. Frequent, brief sprinklings encourage unfavorably shallow root penetration. Deep roots are crucial in helping grass plants withstand hot summer conditions, including droughts. For best results, water your lawn during the early morning or at night.
5. Mow your yard properly. A systematic approach to mowing is important for the overall health of your lawn. Some concepts to keep in mind when cutting your lawn are:
- Never cut more than one-third of the height of the grass during each mowing.
- Frequent springtime mowing helps strengthen roots, making the plants hardy.
- Raise the cutting height of your lawnmower as the summer months approach. Longer grass shades the soil better, keeping it moist.
6. Reseed bare patches prior to your grass-type's peak growing season, preferably in the fall. Till the soil and spread the seed evenly. Use a standard fertilizer in conjunction with the overseed, and water the area as you would normally. Add nitrogen-rich fertilizer after the seeds have germinated to ensure robust growth.