There is something magic about a lush green lawn. It can be soothing to the eye, add value to your home, and create envy with your neighbors. And growing a good lawn can be easier than you think.
The basics are simple. All that you need is the right mix of soil, grass, nourishment, sun, and care. Yet many gardeners waste a lot of time, effort, and money without getting the results they want. Let’s look at the basics one at a time:
Most of us are stuck with the soil type that’s in place. It would be great if we could bring in truckloads of top quality loam and start over, but that’s out of the question for most of us … remember, this article is titled Better Lawns Made Easy! So we need to do our best with what we have.
Start by analyzing what mother nature has provided for soil. Is it sandy? Then it will dry out fast and need more water. Is it clay? Lucky you. It will hold water but might puddle. Is it rocky? Rocks are a problem as grass won’t grow in rocks, and they kill mower blades.
Clean it up, whatever type you have. Remove any yard waste, pick up any visible rocks, and level out the rough spots. This is the toughest part, but good lawns come from good homes.
There’s no way around it, good grass plants come from good seed, even if you’re buying sod or fixing up an existing lawn. Choose the right type. For most, it’s a type that grows slow (so it doesn’t have to be cut often), germinates quickly (before the weeds take over), has deep roots (to find mater and save on watering), and has a fine green texture. Your optimum choice will depend on where you live. Check with your State Agricultural Service for ideas or shop for the mid to better blends from the top seed companies.
Avoid annual grasses. They’re usually the cheapest ones in the store. Annual grasses often come in big bags and are marked “quick grow” or “fills in fast”. It looks like you’re getting a lot but many annual grasses have very large seeds, and there are actually relatively few in the bag. Look at the coverage rather than the weight.
Choose seed blends. Blends are combinations of several different types. Some might be better suited to a particular area than others. The grass types that match will thrive. Those that don’t quite match, maybe they need more sun or shade, or maybe they like looser soil, will be replaced by those more suited.
More harm is done to lawns by improper cutting than any other cause except for watering. Wild grasses are meant to be uncut. Domestic grasses will tolerate cutting, but many don’t like it.
Since most of us aren’t happy letting our lawns go to hay, we need a compromise, and that’s easy. Cut your lawn high. Many types are very happy at 3″ high. Their crowns can spread out, there’s enough greenery for photosynthesis, and tall grass looks thicker. The soil remains shaded, keeping it cooler which retains water, and weeds can’t germinate. And tall grass covers a lot of irregularities. Plus it’s a lot easier on you and your lawn mower!