For many Americans, cultivating a lush, green lawn that's the envy of the neighborhood is a passion. While some are content to pay professional companies to create one for them, there are some simple steps the DIY crowd can take to achieve the same results.
The first thing to realize is that not all seasons are created equal and the needs of your lawn will shift as the months roll by. As spring weather gives way to hot summer months, you'll find that battling drought, invasive grubs, and weeds like dandelions and crabgrass can be frustrating experiences.
Below are some general steps you can take on your own to create a lawn that thrives through the summer months and is prepared for the fall, winter, and spring months that lie ahead. Of course, you also should consider the type of grass you have as well as the climate region where you live as certain types of grass have individual needs and characteristics.
1. SHARPEN YOUR MOWER BLADES
Sharpened tools not only help you cut grass more easily, but they create cleaner, more-precise cuts on the individual grass blades themselves. This will help reduce the amount of moisture lost to evaporation following a mow. You can easily sharpen blades on a bench grinder or, if you'd rather, you can take your blades to a home improvement or hardware store to have it done for a minimal fee, usually around $10. Additional fees may apply if you bring the blades in while they're still attached.
2. MOW HIGH
Ensuring your mower deck is cutting as high as possible provides many benefits for a healthy lawn. Not only does it encourage deeper, stronger, more drought-resistant root systems to take hold, but it will help your grass choke out invasive and unsightly weeds.
3. TREAT FOR GRUBS
Invasive species of beetles and grubs can eat through the healthy root systems you've worked so hard to build, creating dead spots in your lawn. Your local hardware store or big box home center will have products specifically designed to ward off these insects and protect your lawn.
4. WATER YOUR LAWN
Lush green grass needs consistent watering to preserve its look through hot, dry months. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you're providing at least one inch of water per week either through precipitation or sprinklers. For best results, be sure to water in the early morning or evening when the sun is low. This will minimize evaporation and ensure most of the water is delivered where it’s needed most.
5. FEED YOUR LAWN
Fertilizing in summer is a great way to boost the strength of your lawn, with many species of grass experiencing their most active growth during peak summer heat. By feeding your lawn during its most active growth period, you can fuel the growth as well as sustain it for longer as summer gives way to fall. Fertilization also helps drive moisture into dry soil as well as strengthening your lawn's roots.
6. PREPARE FOR FALL AND WINTER
As fall approaches, taking steps to prepare your lawn as it becomes more dormant will protect the hard work you've put into it, reducing the appearance of weeds and building a strong root foundation to carry through to the next summer.