The big question around this time of year is how to get a green lawn that is beautiful and healthy. In Ohio, your yard is the place to be in the summer so a green lawn is important to most of us. The key to a green lawn is a healthy lawn! Taking care of your lawn is something that is important to keep up on, but sometimes it can be challenging. A green lawn is a great motivator for doing that yard work or hiring a professional lawn care company. Here, I have created a list of tips and technique for learning how to get a green lawn this spring that will last for the whole year.
Aerate in The Spring for a Green Lawn
Are you looking to get a green lawn with compacted soil? You can’t! Aerating your lawn in the spring is a large step in making sure your lawn is green and healthy. Aerating is used to relieve compacted lawns. A lawn becomes compacted when the soil is squished together making it difficult for water and air to reach the roots of the grass. Air and water are vital elements to keeping your lawn healthy.
Soil compaction can happen very easily if your lawn has a lot of traffic going on, like dogs and kids running around, cars (including Barbie Jeeps) being driven through the grass, or heavy objects like trampolines and picnic benches sitting on your grass. In Northeast Ohio, we have more fine textured soil, making soil compactors very easy in our area. Some symptoms that your lawn really needs to be aerates are water pooling after rain, dry grass, and weeds. Core aeration will take out small plugs of your soil to create pockets in your lawn that will allow water, air, and roots to spread. The plugs will also help your lawn if you leave them on top of the grass to break down and add nutrients. Aerating in the spring allows for your lawn to grow greener and stronger lawn this year.
A common misconception is that you should roll your lawn in the spring to get rid of all the lumpy bumps. Rolling just causes further compaction in your soil. Please avoid doing this.
Early Season Fertilizer for a Green Lawn
Feed your lawn, it is hungry! A happy lawn is a green lawn. Feeding your lawn the nutrients it is lacking is a great way to make it happy and green. Fertilizing is a treatment that supplements your lawn with the vital nutrients your soil is lacking. Think of it like taking vitamins that the doctor says we are low on. In order for you or your lawn care provider to know the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, a soil sample test needs to be completed. Once you know what the levels are, you can buy the corresponding fertilizer. If your soil has a low level of nitrogen, you will use a fertilizer that has higher nitrogen content. For early spring fertilizing, you can use weed and feed products that contain fertilizer and pre emergent. Pre emergent prevents growth of crabgrass before it starts to germinate.
Lawn Mowing for a Green Lawn
"Uh oh, my lawn is getting long. Time to cut it as short as I can so I don’t have to mow it again for a while."
Mowing a lawn is not like a haircut, where the shorter you cut it, the healthier it becomes. Learning how to get a green lawn with lawn mowing is pretty simple, but it will take some extra time. The key is to keep your grass longer. Raise your lawn mower blade to 3 inch height. Keeping your grass longer allows for the grass to absorb more water and nutrients. Longer grass blades also shade the roots from the hot sun.
Make sure your lawn mower gets a tune up this year, as well. A sharp, well working blade on a lawn mower will prevent ripping the grass and pulling it out of the soil. A dull blade will hurt your grass. Imagine getting a haircut with dull scissors, Ouch! Leave your grass clipping on your lawn for extra nutrients.
Early Season Spot Seed for a Green Lawn
Those bare spots in your yard are more brown than green. Take the time in the early spring to fill in those unsightly holes in your lawn. Spot seed around you lawn to fill those brown areas with beautiful green grass. Prepare soil by pulling any weeds in the area. Rake the area to make sure the seed makes contact with the soil, then place the seeds. It is important that the new seedling get enough water. If it is a dry week, be sure to water your grass. Once the grass begins to grow, you are one step closer to a lush and green lawn!
Spring Crabgrass Prevention for a Green Lawn
We talked about weed and feed with the fertilizers and pre emergent, but you can choose to do a separate pre emergent treatment as well. You want to use the pre emergent early so you can attack the crabgrass before it germinates. Crabgrass begins to germinate or grow when the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the crabgrass sprouts through the soil, pre emergent is not really a good option anymore. You can use a post emergent herbicide after the crabgrass has sprouted above the soil to take care of the problem. Be sure to catch the crabgrass early in its life. The sooner you jump on the problem, the easier it is to get rid of them.
Proper Drainage for a Green Lawn
Splashing around in the swamp in your yard after a storm may be fun for your doggy or kiddos, but your lawn is drowning! A yard that floods and has poor drainage can hurt the health of your grass. Plants in your yard and garden are not meant to be saturated in water. Going back to aerating, if your lawn is pooling and flooding it could be due to soil compaction. Aeration should be the first step for creating better drainage for your lawn, but if that does not work you may need to look into other options. Some other options may be top dressings, drains, or wells.