Lawn Care 101 for New Home Owners
You probably received a lot of really great moving advice regarding reducing clutter, packing, and hiring movers. However, if this is your first house, you may have no idea where to even begin with your lawn care. You know you are going to need a lawnmower, but isn’t there something else you should be doing besides stalking it and waiting for it to grow? Well, if you want to make sure your lawn looks as nice as others in the neighborhood these tips will help.
- Don’t Be In a Hurry – Easier said than done, right? You are itching to get started on your lawn care. Well, unfortunately, if you do not let the soil thaw completely you can do a lot of damage. The top layer may be wet and soft from the rain, but is it thaw underneath? If it is still frozen, then as you walk all over it you will shear the roots. Plus, if you start raking and aerating too soon you will open the turf grass canopy and expose fragile new growth to too much light.
- Deal with Uneven Ground – You do not want a bunch of low and high spots all over your lawn. High areas generally get scalped by the blades of the lawnmower and low areas cause poor drainage. Fill in depressed areas and do not be afraid to cut away ground that is raised.
- Aerate – Aerating your lawn controls thatch, reduces soil compaction, improves nutrient and water filtration, and stimulates new root growth. Fall is always the best time to aerate, but since you just moved in, you will have to do it in the spring. You can rent an aerator from a home improvement store. If you have thatch you will need to break it up with a rake or dethatcher. This is common in dense-spreading grasses, such as Bermuda and Zoysia.
- Have Your Soil Tested – Soil testing should ideally be done every three years, so you know what nutrients it needs. This will help you control weed, disease, and insects without harsh chemicals, and it allows you to track your progress — total and complete lawn care. If you have spots that just will not grow the test could reveal the problem. Soil tests are easy and inexpensive and you can do them yourself.
- Seed Bare Areas – Again, fall is the ideal time to seed, so keep this in mind this fall to make sure your lawn care is in full swing and is gorgeous next year. That does not mean there is no hope for this season though. As long as you seed early you can develop strong roots before the stress of summer temperatures and mowing comes along. Seeds start germinating at 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you think it is still too early, it’s probably not. As long as there is no risk of a hard frost, you are fine. Over-seeding is always more effective on an aerated lawn. This allows the seeds to enter into the holes where they contact the soil and are better protected.
- Jumpstart on Crabgrass – Crabgrass control is a priority in the spring. It is a prolific seeder. Before you start spreading around a toxic preemergence herbicide, consider a natural treatment method instead. Corn gluten meal is an organic and safe option.
- Take it Easy on the Fertilizer – Many people assume that spring is the best time to heavily feed their lawn. This is not true for proper lawn care. Too much growth during this already vital stage will compromise the roots. Warm season grasses, such as St. Augustine, zoysia, and Bermuda should be fertilized in the summer when they are actually growing. If you have cool season grass, including ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass it should be fertilized in the fall.
- Do Not Water Too Early – The last bit of helpful moving advice regarding your lawn is to not water too early. Water should not even be on your mind until it is dry and warm. If your early spring lawn shows signs of drought, don’t panic. This will force it to grow deeper roots searching for a water source.