Besides those “neighborly” competitions for the greenest lawn with green grass, keeping your grass healthy and vibrant is a great way to improve the look and feel of your home.
Your lawn is a great place for the kids to play, have an event, or just enjoy the outdoors. Lawn care need not be a daunting task if a few simple steps are followed. As the seasons change, different approaches are needed to maintain your turf.
There are plenty of people out there who spend tons of money and time on their lawn only to have brown spots, weeds, or no growth at all. Save yourself some headache and follow the tried and true methods of the professionals.
Let’s take a look at some lawn care methodology.
First Things First
So, you have a blank patch of dirt or soil but you don’t know how to get green grass? Well, don’t jump the gun just yet, there are a few things you need to take care of first.
Before throwing down the new seed you just bought, the soil needs to be prepared. Break up at least the first four inches of topsoil using a hand tiller or tiller machine. A tiller machine can be rented from your local equipment rental store and will make this process a lot easier.
The ground must be broken up so that the seeds can establish roots properly and be thinly covered with dirt for the first couple weeks. Rake any rocks out of the soil and make sure the ground is level. You may need to do a bit of dirt redistribution using a shovel to achieve a level surface.
Now it’s time to add the nutrients.
Apply manure or topsoil generously to the surface in an even manner. Till the surface one more time to blend the soil together. Take a moment to check your freshly mixed soil for earthworms. An ideal soil will have worms to help in the decomposition process. If you don’t see any, now would be a good time to head to your local bait shop and get some. Add them randomly to the soil and cover them with a shovel or two of soil.
If kept moist, the ground will now be well balanced and have a high nutrient content – perfect for growing green grass.
Seed should be applied generously for maximum results. I generally put more down than is recommended. Follow the packaging instructions closely and use the chart to determine coverage.
A hand or cart spreader is priceless during the spreading process, although hand spreading can work just fine too. Even coverage is important- otherwise you can get areas that are over/under grown.
I live in a climate that is excessively hot, which tends to make the edges and center of my lawn dried out. In response, I spread extra seed in these areas and supplement my sprinkler system with hand watering in those areas.
Take into account that you will have birds, children, and animals that will tread over and eat seed on the un-grown lawn, so apply extra to counter-act this.
After you have your seed down, it’s time for the watering phase. This can be done either by hand or with an automatic sprinkler system.
If you started a new lawn, chances are the land does not have an automatic system installed. For ease of use and consistent watering, I would suggest having one installed. A sprinkler system does not have to be an excessive or elaborate ordeal, even a basic one can get the job done. A basic install involves digging small trenches along the edges of your lawn. PVC pipes are laid down into the trenches. Pipes are connected together at the corners with angle joints. Each sprinkler will be attached to the system with a T-joint. The T-joint connects two pipes together and sends a single line up to the surface where a sprinkler head is connected. PVC glue is used to connect the joints.
If you’re looking for a simpler method, consider using “flexible PVC” for the project. These pipes can be bent around corners, eliminating the need for corner joints. Consult with a professional to determine the best layout for your system.
New seed needs to be kept moist for the first couple weeks until seedlings appear. Watering can then be reduced to once a day or every other day, depending on your weather conditions. When starting a winter lawn, it is important to begin seeding before winter temperatures begin. At night when the temperature drops, seedlings can die if it is too cold. Choose a seed mixture that has minimal fillers and no weed content. Certain mixes may contain trace amounts of weed seeds.
Once the lawn has been established, continue regular watering and mowing. As each season approaches, apply fertilizer to replace lost nutrients.
Regular mowing is important too, and not just for appearance. Allowing grass to overgrow can result in the grass to fully develop and become thicker, rougher and even turn a different color than the rest of your lawn. Cutting overgrown lawns can reveal the yellowish base of the grass, resulting in an unsightly lawn. Alternate the direction of your cuts for each mow.
If you find that weeds are an issue, consider using a special lawn fertilizer that contains weed prevention. Applying this fertilizer before your lawn is established is a great preventative measure. Once you are infested with weeds, it can be hard to get rid of them. To kill weeds without killing the grass, use a weed killer chemical spray. Spray the leaves generously but avoid the grass as much as possible. Weeds can be tricky because some varieties can look quite similar to grass. Also, they tend to grow and reproduce rapidly, which makes them difficult to get rid of. Take care of the problem as soon as it is identified for best results.
Why Grass Is Green
So, why is grass green? Here’s a little science trivia for you.
We see plants of all types that produce a green hue, but the reason for this may perplex some people after giving it some thought. It all goes back to simple chemistry and light optics. White light is actually made up of many colors bundled into one. The colors that you see through your eyes are ones that have reflected, or “bounced” off of an object.
The reason you do not see every color at once is because some colors are absorbed by objects and others are reflected. Grass contains chlorophyll, which absorbs light and is vital in the growing process. It absorbs only blue and red light, leaving green light to be reflected back out into the environment. Grass “keeps” the red and blue light because it is the right type of energy to perform photosynthesis with. Through photosynthesis, the grass can convert carbon dioxide and oxygen into glucose. The color green is usually the one that is reflected back out because it is not needed in this process.
Of course, when the grass dies, it can no longer perform this process, leaving us with a brown color after it degrades. Keeping grass alive and healthy is key in maintaining the perfect lawn.
Implementing proper lawn care can be an exciting learning experience. With the right knowledge and garden accessories, anyone can keep a nice green lawn all year round. Who knows, you might even get your lawn to look as good as that putting green grass at the golf course. Most of the tools you will need can be found at your local home improvement store or on the internet.
If all else fails, you can always use green grass paint!