You've mowed, edged, trimmed, and watered. Now it's time to give your yard some TLC — tender lawn care. Just as your plants' needs differ from season to season, your lawn also needs various treatments throughout the year. It's time to go beyond the mowing and watering with this lawn treatment guide.
This lawn treatment opens up your yard to allow nutrients to reach deeper into the soil. Poking holes in the sod and soil also cuts down on thatch buildup. It's best to aerate warm-season grasses such as bahia, Bermuda, centipede, St. Augustine, and Zoysia grass at the end of spring or early summer. Cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescues, and bentgrass, need aerating in the early spring or fall.
How to Aerate
You can aerate your lawn yourself with a rented aerator. This machine pokes cylindrical holes into the yard and pops the core of dirt out of the ground. This allows the soil to have space to decompress. The little holes left behind also allows water and nutrients to reach farther into the ground.
You can also do a spiked aeration treatment that's less invasive. This option is easy to do with a pair of spiked shoes or pitchfork and some elbow grease. But, it doesn’t remove the soil, it just pushes the soil aside to create holes. Spiked aeration isn’t recommended for severely compacted lawns.
Adding extra nutrients to your lawn during different parts of the year can help it grow faster, fight off insects and weeds, and prepare it for winter. It's best to fertilize in early spring when your lawn needs a pick me up after a long winter. You may want to do it again in the summer if your lawn is experiencing a drought, insect invasion, or a lot of foot traffic. An extra dose in the fall will help your lawn heal from a buy summer and give it the extra nutrients it needs to make it through winter.
How to Fertilize
Timing is everything. Over-fertilizing can burn and even kill the grass. Always wait at least 6-8 weeks after your last fertilizer treatment to add more to the lawn. Over-fertilizing, or applying fertilizer before a rainstorm can lead to run-off, sending harmful chemicals into the sewer and waterways.
Types of Fertilizer
Quick-release fertilizers are a good option for lawns that need a quick pick-me-up. But, this option is precarious as it is easier to overdo it and kill part of the yard. Slow-release fertilizers are best for long term applications over a season or during the fall application before winter arrives. Grass clippings and mulched leaves make an excellent fertilizer, and they're eco-friendly! Some HOAs have rules about the type of fertilizer you can use, so check with management before you shop. Be sure to do your research and pick the right fertilizer for your grass.
When to Call a Professional
Local lawn care companies know all about fertilizer and what would work best with your lawn. They have the experience and the knowledge to understand what chemical components to use during what time of year. Professionals also know the safety precautions and have the tools to apply fertilizer in the safest way.
Adding grass seed to the lawn is essential for those bare or thinning spots of the yard. It's best to overseed in the fall after you've aerated.
How to Overseed
Adding new grass seeds to the lawn is pretty simple. Rake the bare or thinning areas and spread the seeds. You may want to add some additional soil to help the seeds germinate. You can also use a seed spreader to help evenly distribute the seeds over an affected area. Once applied, make sure to water the area daily to help seeds take hold of the soil.
When to Call a Professional
If you have trouble identifying the type of grass in your yard, it may be best to call a professional to make sure the seed matches the existing grass. A professional is also best if you're dealing with several thinning areas or have a large patch of grass that has suddenly died. They can help locate the problem and get your yard looking great again.
Don't let the grass grow under your feet! Follow this lawn treatment guide now, and you'll have a pristine-looking lawn again come spring.