The Beginner’s Guide to Lawn Maintenance
If there’s one part of the garden that every homeowner should take pride in, it’s their lawn.
Whether you only commit to mowing it once a fortnight or have a detailed schedule that you follow to keep it in check, some simple lawn maintenance can help you achieve the luscious green grass of your dreams.
What’s involved in lawn maintenance? Lawn maintenance can be as basic or advanced as you want, with most people committing to the bare minimum of mowing their grass regularly.
In addition to that, you can aerate the lawn, reseed and overseed it, as well as sweeping, raking, and mowing it.
Homes with the smallest patch of grass to those with extensive properties should know the basics on lawn maintenance, but it doesn’t have to be hard.
This guide will walk you through the most common lawn treatments and why people do them, so you can come up with a plan for your own green grass.
What Does Lawn Maintenance Mean?
The goal of lawn maintenance is to keep your lawn looking its best, no matter the season or external factor.
Many people wrongly assume that grass needs nothing to continue to grow, but there are a few regular treatments you should be committed to if your goal is to have the finest lawn in the neighborhood.
There are two approaches to lawn maintenance that you can take, with many following both.
Firstly, maintenance according to the season, like planting seeds for new optimal growth or preventing your lawn from freezing and dying during winter.
Secondly, maintenance is dependent on your location and the climate and conditions that you’re experiencing.
Not all properties will require as much work on their lawns as others, but some will, so you need to assess where your grass is now and where you want it to be and how much the lawn will cost.
From there, you can come up with the right treatments and consider the geographical and seasonal factors that can influence it.
And believe it or not even artificial grass also called AstroTurf (a brand of artificial grass) or fake grass also has it’s maintenance costs.
As a living thing, grass needs access to air, water, and nutrients to thrive.
As the soil underneath becomes compacted from being walked on, driven on, or just due to its natural composition, it’s not always possible to have it loose and accessible, so it doesn’t get these things.
Aeration is a process that punctures small holes into the soil and removes plugs of soil to try and reduce its compactness of it.
It allows more air, water and nutrients to get to the grass roots where it’s needed and when it’s needed.
It can also be used to dry out your lawn in a hurry if needed.
Lawn Aeration can be done by hand, by lawn aeration machines, you can even make a DIY lawn aerator if the other tools and techniques seem too expensive.
Then there’s also a question of how to even use an aerator, when to aerate your lawn, do you need to overseed while aerating and so on.
A new thing recently is liquid aeration, how good is the best liquid aerator and is it worth the cost compared to simpler methods?
Finally, there are many aeration techniques such as plug aeration and zone aeration others to discuss.
Seeding Reseeding and Overseeding
Seeding a lawn in a science on to itself. You might think all you need to till a patch of dirt, throw some seeds, maybe water it a bit and grass will grow. Sadly, a good lawn is never made easily.
There are many factors to consider when seeding your lawn:
- How do I prepare the soil or the grass for seeding
- What type of soil do you have
- What the fastest growing grass
- What the right grass for my pet
- How much grass do I need for a lush lawn
- How much will it all cost?
- What tools do I need?
There are also convenience factors like pet friendly lawns and lawns that go well with vegetable gardens of flower beds, not all lawns are made equal and a lot of attention needs to be put into the right selection seeds and seeding techniques.
Some lawn will be harder to prepare for seeding such as hard soil lawns. On others it might be as easy as just spreading seeds.
Greening up a lawn isn’t always as easy as seeding new grass, and maybe seeding isn’t necessary so always consider what other alternatives you have.
If your grass is in need of some TLC but it’s not yet at the point of no return, overseeding is the best approach to take.
Unlike reseeding, overseeding is about fixing up the patches of grass that need help or thickening up the grass by simply planting new seeds over the top of the existing grass that’s already there.
But when your grass has become unmanageable and looks like a collection of dirt spots and weeds, it’s time to reseed.
How do you reseed a patchy lawn?
This process is performed by removing everything from the lawn and going back to bare dirt, then laying grass seeds down and trying to promote new growth.
The question is when do you do this, What is the best time to reseed your lawn?
Another question is how much does it cost to reseed your lawn, it seems like a massive investment at first glance.
Do you plant other types of plants to complement your lawn?
Reseeding your lawn takes a lot of tools, preparation, work and naturally the right lawn seeds for the job.
Lawn rolling is not an often used lawn maintenance technique it’s usually reserved for the reseeding cycle. What does does a lawn roller do?
It refers to rolling over a lawn with a roller to compact the soil and set the seeds this usually results in a more uniform and healthy grass but there are other instances where lawn rolling can come into play.
When it comes to lawn rolling how you handle the lawn roller and how heavy it is plays the most important role.
Pests such as moles other small mammals might cover your lawn in tunnels and warrens, lawn rolling in this instance can help, but you can also try a more DIY approach if lawn rollers are too expensive for your lawn leveling needs. Also the soil underneath the grass might be uneven and some lawn dead spots might form where the lawn gets infected or water pools or drains too fast. If that happens you should consider some sand leveling techniques.
Soil heaving is also another instance where lawn rolling is acceptable outside the reseeding season.
Lawns are prone to collecting all kinds of debris including fallen leaves, twigs, grass clippings, and more.
If you have a large lawn or don’t want to spend hours raking it manually, lawn sweeping is the more efficient approach.
This is performed by using a lawn sweeping tool that sweeps the grass and collects the debris into a bag, making it easier to empty. This can be as easy as a rake for a small yard but big lawns needs some real machines such as Push or Tow Behind Lawn Sweepers.
Apart from the usual sweeping lawns also need some dethatching. Dethatching in this instance refers to the removal of the thatch layer usually by mechanical means with say a rake or other tools such as a power rake. This layer in turn can be used to great benefit after you’re done.
But power raking does require some practice and knowledge. So calling in a professional might not be a bad idea.
Now you might be asking is there any difference between detaching and power raking? We’ve got you covered on this one as well in our guides.
Lawn sweeping can be used as a preventative action as it allows your lawn to be ready for winter and the next spring. All the debris can cause various diseases, attracts pests or worse. Basically removing all the dead grass leads to a healthier lawn.
Contrary to some thinking leaves won’t just decompose on your lawn and turn into fertilizer that process is much more involved and happens on forest floors not your lawn.
Smart Gardening it’s something we all want, but something technology hasn’t perfected yet. Now if you’re even remotely interested in gardening and lawns you’re seen articles about robotic weeders that zap weeds with lasers.
You’ve seen massive machines spray and fertilize fields, you’ve seen all kinds of crazy automated tractors and other wonders of technology. Sadly when it comes to our lawns we’re still in the early phases of smart gardening.
While smart gardening these days does include some impressive feats like automatic watering programs and the like that ,we cover in our lawn watering section, saddly there is no magic roomba like device that mows the lawn, fertilizes it, aerates it, and kills the weeds.