Do you dream of having the quality green grass of a golf course? While turf-grass specialists at agricultural universities and golf-course managers devote their lives to having the perfect grass, you come close with just a few good practices. The no-care lawn has not yet been invented but here are some tips from the pros on how to improve your odds and get the lawn you’ve always wanted.
Lawn Care Tips: Watering
- As a general rule, more grass and plants are killed through over-watering than under-watering.
- In the Houston area, experts recommend watering every five days to apply .75 to 1 inch of water (subtracting for any rainfall) during warm months. This amount of water will wet the soil to a depth of 4-6 inches.
- If you want to save time and money, in general, use native grasses, plants and shrubs whenever possible in landscaping your yard. They generally require less water and are often low-maintenance, too.
- Use the kind of watering equipment that best suits your target area. For instance, use sprinklers – the ones that broadcast large drops are best – for the lawn areas and soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems for cramped grassy areas as well as trees, shrubs and flower beds.
- Experts suggest that grass should be watered separately from flowerbeds and other landscaped areas.
Lawn Care Tips: Feeding
- Do not over-fertilize because it can result in weak growth and fungal problems.
- How to fertilize: Divide the lawn into a grid of yard squares using stakes. Apply fertilizer at the rate according to the package; you can rent a calibrated spreader for large areas. Be sure to water if it doesn’t rain within three days after feeding.
Lawn Care Tips: General
- The Texas Department of Agriculture County Extension Service says that the different varieties of grasses, plus the quality of soil, changes the amounts of water required. In Houston, for example, Buffalo grass has a low water need compared to Bermuda’s (moderate) and St. Augustine’s (high) “thirst” requirement.
- It will help if you don’t cut your grass too short. Longer grass blades will generally reduce evaporation and shade the soil.
- If you’ve done everything you know to do and your yard is brown, dying or not thriving, you could have a disease or insect infestation. Treating diseases and insects is a complex task requiring accurate identification before taking action. Cut a sample of the affected grass, including plenty of roots and some healthy plant tissue, too. Take it to a local extension service or garden center for help in identifying the problem and choosing an approach.
- If you are putting in a new lawn, test the pH of your soil. A do-it-yourself test kit is available from nurseries and catalogs—or you can take advantage of the testing offered by the state’s designated agricultural university. It might seem like a bother, but testing your soil will save you from hours of aggravation and unnecessary expense.