How To Have A Beautiful Lawn – A Primer
Beautiful lawns are no accident and they don’t just happen they do take work and dedication. As with any endeavor you should have an understanding of what is involved and so it is with growing a beautiful lawn. Grass plants require specific growing conditions to meet their optimal growth. The basic conditions for plant growth are food, moisture, and sunlight the exact amounts of which vary from grass variety to grass variety. It is my goal with this article to give you a basic understanding of the cultural requirement to have a beautiful lawn and to help you to obtain your goal. While knowing the three requirements for plant growth is a start thee are many other components to a good lawn maintenance program.
Grasses grow by sending fibrous roots down into the soil to take up the nutrients and moisture they need to sustain growth. There are many factors which can hinder their ability to do this and with out a strong healthy root system plants will not thrive. Lets look at a couple of the main causes for root problems.
Poor Soil Conditions
Plants live in the soil which holds the moisture and nutrients they need to survive. A good sandy loam soil is the best soil it allows for the movement of nutrients, moisture and gases through the soil. Grass plants roots can readily grow into this soil and obtain maximum growth. The next soil is sandy soil it is not able to hold moisture and nutrients as well they wash quickly through the soil requiring frequent applications to insure growth. The final type is clay soil this is the hardest to grow on because when clay drys out it hardens and it is very difficult to hydrate again. This is due to its flat particle size. The next problem is that when wet it forces all the air out of the soil and makes it hard for the roots to grow. The final problem with clay is that the nutrients bind to the soil and do not release well so the plants can utilize them. So ideally you would like to grow your lawn with a sandy loam soil.
Insect damage can devastate a lawn in no time there are three types of insects that attack a lawn those who feed on the roots,those who suck the juices out of the plant and those that feed on the leaf blades. Grubs and bill bugs do their damage underground by eating the roots of the grass plants. Cutworms, armyworms,and sod webworms are all example of chewing insects that attack the grass plants and eat the leaves and stems. Chinch bugs, leafhoppers, mites and spittlebugs are examples of sucking insect that suck the juices out of the plants. These insects can be controlled with pesticides but it is very important to read and follow all label instructions.
Grass plants take up and give off a tremendous amount of moisture every day. It is vitally important that there is sufficient moisture in the soil to allow for this. The nutrients that plants need to grow are dissolved in the water and are taken up by the plants trough the roots. A good rule of thumb is at least one inch of water a week when rainfall is insufficient. The amount of time you water will vary on the soil type as each soil type will absorb the water differently.
Nitrogen,potassium, and phosphorus are the major nutrients that your grass plants need for healthy and vigorous growth. It is essential that you supply these to assure a healthy thick stand of grass that will discourage weeds and insect attack. A balanced fertilizer applied every six to eight weeks during the growing season is usually sufficient. The rates of application is on the bag label be sure to follow them exactly as too much fertilizer could damage or even kill your lawn.
Now that you know the essentials of lawn care I would suggest you do a little more research and delve into each area more thoroughly so that you can optimize your lawn maintenance program to archive maximum growth and beauty out of your lawn and make your neighbors jealous.
Glenn Bronner is a professional grounds keeper with over 40 years of experience. Come join him as he tends the Urban Garden and The Woodland Garden and shares gardening tips and knowledge. At his site.