Lawn Maintenance and Restoration

How to Maintain a Lawn to Keep it Looking Beautiful all Year Long

By Mark J. Donovan

Unfortunately regular lawn maintenance is a fact of life if you want to have a beautiful lawn. Standard lawn maintenance requires regular mowing, watering and fertilizing. In addition, to maintain a lawn properly it should be de-thatched and aerated at least once a year.

The condition of a lawn can make or break a home’s curb appeal. In addition, a lawn is an extension of a home’s outdoor living area. If not properly maintained, however, a lawn can quickly turn into a weed infested yard.

Early Spring Lawn Maintenance

To maintain a lawn plan a regular maintenance schedule. Starting in the spring, use a rake or a dethatcher to de-thatch the lawn.

De-thatching the lawn lifts up the compressed lawn and removes any dead grass clippings that have worked their way down to the soil level. De-thatching enables water, sunlight, oxygen and fertilizer to more easily penetrate into the soil.

Once you have de-thatched the lawn, mow the lawn down to about a 1 inch level. Then rent a coring aerator and aerate the lawn. A coring aerator is used to remove small plugs or cores from the soil that are approximately ½” in diameter and a few inches in length. Aerating a lawn also helps to enable sunlight, nutrients, oxygen and water to better penetrate the soil.

Aerating the lawn loosens the soil and allows water, oxygen, and the important fertilizer nutrients to percolate down through the lawn. You can rent power aerators from your local home improvement center.

Lawn Restoration

For troubled lawn areas, spread a light layer of compost material, starter fertilizer and grass seed over the thatched, mowed and aerated lawn. Use a rake to work the grass seed, fertilizer and compost into the lawn. The raking action helps to fill the aerated core holes with the compost, fertilizer and grass seed.

Finally make sure to water daily the restored lawn until the new grass seed has germinated.

If your lawn is already in good shape and does not require re-seeding, after thatching and aerating the lawn, apply a fertilizer. If you see signs of crabgrass apply a fertilizer that includes a pre-emergent to control it.

Late Spring Lawn Maintenance

In late spring, apply another application of fertilizer that includes weed control. Also, apply a grub killer to the lawn to prevent the growth of grubs in the soil. Grubs eat at the roots of your lawn and kill the grass. If you see patches of dead grass on your lawn, take a few soil samples using a shovel in the affected areas. Look carefully for small, white worms. If you see them your lawn has a grub infestation problem. Another common giveaway that your lawn has a grub infestation problem is if you see birds pecking at the lawn. Crows commonly rip the lawn up with their beaks as they feed on the grubs.

Summer Lawn Maintenance

In mid-summer, apply another application of fertilizer to your lawn. In addition, during the heat of the summer make sure to water your lawn regularly, preferably in the early morning or early evening. In addition, make sure you set your lawn mower blade height to no less than 2-1/2 inches in depth. Cutting a lawn too short can cause the lawn to more easily burn.

Fall Lawn Maintenance

Early fall is the most important time of the year to fertilize your lawn. Summer temperatures can weaken a lawn and leave it vulnerable to weed growth and insect damage.

Install an irrigation system to ensure you lawn is water regularly and properly.

Fortunately, fall temperatures and moisture levels are prime time for grass growing and lawn recovery. By making sure to fertilize your lawn in the fall you can help restore it to its full strength before the onset of winter. Fertilizing the lawn in the fall helps to strengthen roots and build up nitrogen supplies in the soil to ensure a beautiful green lawn in the spring.

Finally, make sure to rake your lawn in the fall to remove fallen leaves. Compressed and wet leaves can cause grass to die out and the lawn to contract diseases.

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