Being a first-time homeowner comes with a lot of excitement and stress. You are finally able to call a place your own, with the ability to make adjustments to the space as desired. Yet it’s also up to you to maintain the interior and exterior of the home, from the repair of broken appliances to landscape maintenance.
While the landscape of the house is in relatively good shape—one of the reasons you were initially attracted to the property—you’re concerned about its future. The apartments and condominiums where you’ve lived in the past have always taken care of the landscape, so your knowledge about what goes into an effective maintenance plan is minimal.
Not to worry, though. We’ve put together this helpful starter kit for landscape maintenance to steer you in the right direction.
How to Keep Your New Yard Looking & Feeling Great
Leverage Proper Mowing Techniques
While the crisp appearance of short grass may seem appealing to homeowners, it comes at a price. Cutting too much of a grass blade can expose its stem and pull energy from the root system to help the plant regrow. As the lawn grows weaker, it becomes more susceptible to weeds and other disease that cause damage.
That’s why it’s recommended that you only cut the top ⅓ of grass blades. This landscape maintenance supports the development of a deeper root system that keeps lawns healthy and green. (Tip: Rather than bagging your grass clippings after you mow, leave them on the lawn to deliver further nutrients to your grass.)
As you plan out your mowing schedule—about once a week until grass stops growing (typically late fall)—make sure to account for the weather as well. We mention this because cutting grass while it’s wet not only results in an uneven trim, but wet clippings can produce brown spots on your lawn when they accumulate. That’s why it’s best to mow lawns when they are dry, and in the early evening, as this avoids peak temperatures that can stress the lawn.
Perform Regular, Deep Waterings
With the benefits that water delivers to lawns, homeowners tend to lean on the side of more is better. But when daily watering applications become part of a landscape maintenance routine, lawns are likely to suffer. That’s because too much water can essentially drown plants and starve them of the oxygen they need to thrive. This weakened state creates a breeding ground for weeds, insects and other lawn issues.
On average, most lawns need between just 1-1.5 inches of water each week. Rather than dividing this into a series of shallow waterings, you should water your lawn in one or two deeper applications. Doing so encourages lawns to establish a deeper root system, which helps grass better withstand drought and high temperatures.
Time also plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of this lawn care technique. Whereas water can evaporate quickly mid-day and cling to lawns overnight (which promotes fungus), the mornings create a conducive environment for water to be absorbed by lawns. Anytime before 10 a.m. is recommended.
Apply Lawn Fertilizer
Before applying fertilizer, homeowners need to understand the current state of soil. After all, different soils are bound to have different nutrient levels, with some lacking more than others. That’s where the results from a soil test can provide guidance in landscape maintenance. By showcasing specific nutrient deficiencies (if any), the test can eliminate guesswork on which types of fertilizer to use as well as how much to apply with the help of professional expertise. This not only makes lawn fertilizer more effective but it also avoids potential fertilizer burn—the discoloration and root damage of plants that occurs when excess fertilizer is applied.
What’s also valuable to the impact of fertilizer is proper watering practices. This begins with watering your lawn thoroughly a day or two before an application, with fertilizer applied once the grass has dried. You’ll then want to follow up with a second watering so any excess fertilizer is washed off of grass blades and absorbed into the soil.
While fertilizer applications can start in the early spring once your lawn begins to grow, it’s the fall fertilizer application that is viewed as most essential. Applied around six weeks before the first frost appears, this dose of fertilizer will stay active through early spring and help lawns wake up healthy and green.
At Weed Pro, we have years of experience helping lawns look and feel their best. Contact your local lawn care provider today to learn more about our landscape maintenance services and the benefits they bring to your outdoor space.