Is the grass greener on the other side (AKA on your neighbor's lawn)? A lush, green lawn is a thing of envy. But, there's no magic formula that gets you this outcome overnight.
This will need extensive research, your grass type, and the right fertilizer to feed your lawn. So, if you're looking to make your grass greener– we've rounded up the best lawn care strategies to follow.
10 Expert-Backed Tips for a Greener Lawn
You don’t need inherent talents or divine gardening gifts to achieve your dream lawn. All you need is consistency, the proper research, and a bit of elbow grease.
Even if you’re not born with a green thumb, here are some lawn care activities to follow to help you grow a lush green lawn.
1. Know your Turfgrass
One thing to keep in mind is that not all grass is the same. There are different grass varieties with unique preferences and requirements regarding nutrients, sunlight exposure, and height. Knowing the specific type of grass, you have will help you understand what it needs to be lush and green.
For your reference, cool-season grasses are commonly found in the northern regions of the US. Meanwhile, warm-season turfgrasses often thrive more in the south. If you're still unsure, you may want to contact a local professional for more guidance.
2. Water Deeply, But not Often
Watering your lawn frequently over short periods is that the grass won't grow deep. Shallow roots struggle to reach the nutrients in the deep soil or deliver adequate water. Ideally, water is at least 4 to 6 inches deep to penetrate the ground.
The trick is to do a little watering test to gauge how long and how often you need to do it. Once you've figured it out– you can now use a water timer to set it during the correct times. Heavy soils need less watering but for more extended periods. Meanwhile, sandy soil can tolerate heavy, rapid watering (although they tend to dry faster).
If you're located in a hot, dry region– you may need to water at least once every two to three days.
3. Test your Soil
The following method to make your grass greener is determining your soil properties. Once you relate that information with your particular grass type– it will be easier for you to determine what to do to ensure optimal growth. You can purchase soil test kits online or at your local home improvement store for your convenience.
If the soil's pH is off, the fertilizer you're currently using may not be the best choice. Poor pH may limit your lawn's nutrient uptake. A good rule of thumb is following a slightly acidic pH level of 6 to 7, but this may depend on your grass type. For acidic lawns, you may want to consider applying limestone to correct the soil's pH level and strike a balance.
4. Break Out the Fertilizer
Once you determine what's missing on your soil, ideally after a soil test, you can now buy the best fertilizer that meets your needs.
Most fertilizers have the typical ingredients of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. It will only vary on the detailed ingredient list and the proportions. When choosing a fertilizer, pick one that will balance the mineral levels in your lawn.
Several fertilizers also feature other valuable properties, such as an iron supplement for greener grass growth and weed-killing capabilities. If you don't like using chemicals on your grass, you may use organic lawn fertilizers as well.
5. Mow Properly
To maintain your grass's healthy condition and appearance, mow it properly. Avoid over-cutting, though. Long grass leaves may shield your roots from excessive sun damage while encouraging proper root growth.
Expert Tip: Avoid cutting more than ⅓ of the grass. The ideal height to cut the leaves will depend on the grass type.
Also, check the condition of your mower blades as they may be dull over time. Rather than cutting your grass, they may end up tearing it apart. Always sharpen the blades when necessary before putting them to use.
6. Eliminate Broadleaf Weeds in Mild Weather
Another good strategy to ensure greener grass is to get rid of weeds when they're growing. The growth months are usually when the herbicide is absorbed through the leaves before being distributed throughout the plant.
Note that the chemicals in the herbicide may not be as effective when applied in cool weather or when the weed isn't actively growing. In scorching temperatures, the herbicide might only stress the turf. Always check the product instructions to determine the ideal temperature range for the application.
7. Keep on Top of Weeds
Allowing weeds to grow will prevent you from having the greenest yard in the neighborhood. Once you spot these pesky weeds, use a spade and dig out any weeds that appear. Make sure to pull out the roots.
You may treat individual weeds using a dedicated weed killer, which can be purchased in most garden stores if you don't want to get your hands dirty. Choose one appropriate for your weed type and ensure you are appropriately protected.
8. Fill in any Gaps
Don't stress if you've been searching for how to get rid of moles if your lawn has a few brown areas. Fortunately, holes can be readily filled up with fresh grass seed.
First, ensure that your seed matches the grass on your lawn. Remove any dead grass from the spot you want to fill, then until the top ¼ inch of the soil. You may now distribute the seed with your hands on your grass, cover it with a thin layer of soil, and water it frequently.
If the lawn is looking a little tired, you may overseed it alternately. After cutting down the existing grass, rake a thin layer of soil (1/4 inch) over your lawn. Then, using a spreader, sow fresh grass seeds, and distribute them evenly. Fertilize and water the seeds once they've been planted. Cover them with mulch or compost to help protect them from the elements.
9. Aerate the Soil
If you want to grow green grass, you must aerate your soil regularly. The soil in your yard will compact over time. This makes it difficult for any roots to get oxygen and water, placing the grass under stress. Your lawn will be able to breathe better and grow if you aerate your soil.
Aerate your lawn with an aerator, but when and how often depends on the grass seed type. Warm-season grass should be aerated in the late spring or early summer, whereas cool-season grass should be aerated in the early spring or fall. If your lawn is suffering or gets a lot of foot traffic, aerate it once a year; once every 2 to 3 years is enough if your turfgrass is somewhat healthy.
Aerators are available for purchase or rental, and they are operated similarly to lawnmowers. (Related: Best Lawn Dethatcher and Aerator (And Combo Tools) for Healthy Grass)
10. Dethatch Properly
Like aerating the soil, it is also encouraged to dethatch your lawn correctly for optimal grass growth.
Thatch refers to a layer of dead grass (and other debris) on the surface of your lawn soil. Thick layers of thatch that are more than ½ inch may threaten your lawn's optimal growth. You need to do the dethatching process to let your grass breathe. (Related: Aerating vs. Dethatching: Which is Better for Your Lawn?)
We all want to have a picture-perfect, healthy, green lawn that's worth a feature in a lifestyle or home improvement magazine. But there's no shortcut to this. Remember that you will need to follow routine lawn care activities to achieve this outcome.
You will need to commit your time, effort, and resources to have a lush lawn that will be the envy of everyone in your neighborhood. If you follow all the steps we've provided above– a healthy, green lawn will be within your reach. Nothing's impossible, even if you're not born with a green thumb!