A lush, green lawn is an integral part of the frame for your lovely home, setting it apart from the concrete and tarmac of the urban infrastructure and providing curb appeal. Your lawn care practices can keep your grass strong and healthy.
For a really good-looking lawn, most experts agree that mowing height is important. They recommend raising the mower to the highest possible notch so you’re mowing only the top third of the grass when you cut. Taller grass promotes better root development and shades the ground so it doesn’t dry out as fast. Plus, the taller grass blocks the sun that weeds need to grow.
According to the Texas Water Development Board, as much as half of the outdoor use of water in the warmer months is wasted due to poor watering practices. That fact translates into quite an impact on your water bill since 50-80% of our water consumption during those months is used outside.
Lawns generally absorb the greatest amount of outdoor residential water use, and studies have shown that folks may inadvertently water twice as much as necessary to keep a healthy lawn. This is easily remedied by knowing when to water:
- Look for signs of stress – limp or curled, dull green blades of grass or footprints left behind after walking across the lawn.
- In the Houston area, experts recommend watering every five days to apply .75 to 1 inch of water (subtracting any rainfall) during summer months. This amount will wet the soil to a depth of 4-6 inches.
- Water during early morning or evening hours when evaporation losses will be less.
- Avoid watering in high winds that might send the droplets to places they are not needed – like your neighbor’s driveway or the street.
The amount of fertilizer you need to maintain lush green grass depends on how rich the underlying soil is. Apply granular or liquid lawn fertilizer at least once a year. For the best lawn care in our area in the warm months, use fertilizers that are high in nitrogen to boost growth. In the cooler months, use fertilizers that are low in nitrogen but high in potassium to aid grass roots. Do not overfeed because it can result in weak growth and fungal problems.
Thatch and Aerating
Caused by over-fertilizing, shallow watering and infrequent mowing, thatch is the layer of dead grass and stems that sits between the grass and the soil. It hurts your lawn because it prevents nutrients from getting to the roots. De-thatching rips out all the debris and then all you have to do is rake it up.
You know it’s time to aerate, a part of good lawn care that puts holes in the grass to allow oxygen, nutrients and moisture to get to the roots, when you start seeing bare spots due to foot traffic, water logged areas after heavy rain and brown spots when the weather is dry.