By Michael Jenkins
In this blog, we’ve spent a great deal of time on growing veggies, raising the best and most beautiful ornamental plants, and caring for trees, shrubs, and other landscape features. We’ve paid less attention to a widespread lawn and garden feature: grass. Grass is so ubiquitous in garden spaces that it’s almost invisible, but the reality is that grass is a plant and requires appropriate care, too. Let’s take a quick look at some things you can do to keep your grass healthy, happy, and beautiful throughout the growing season, and ensure that your sod will thrive for years to come.
- Proper mowing and trimming is the foundational step in all grass care, and these tasks must be done regularly in order to keep your grass healthy. Proper mowing or trimming helps the grass to develop dense, healthy root systems which resist hostile bugs and weeds. As a general rule of thumb, cut your grass to about a third of its length—relatively high cutting helps promote grass health and create the dense, rich lawn you want. You’ll likely want to mow at least every two weeks, if not weekly, depending on climate and conditions.
- Regular inspections are another factor in foundational care for your grass. While it’s much easier to just mow it once a week and forget it the rest of the time, spending some time with your lawn can help alert you to problems before they get too serious. Keep an eye out for excessive weeds, hostile insects, or brown patches; even if these issues start off small, they can grow quickly!
- Deal with pests and weeds quickly for best results with your grass! What constitutes a weed is up for discussion, but in general remove unwanted plants growing in your grass quickly. Pulling an unwanted visitor up by the roots and disposing of it can save you a great deal of time, money, and trouble by avoiding seeding and spreading of unwanted plants. Likewise hostile insects may be difficult to remove when they take up residence, so taking action at the first sign of trouble is best.
- Water appropriately for your grass type and local conditions. We hope you’ll plant native grasses that are adapted to your environment and support the local ecosystem, but even those need help from time to time. A good, deep watering with an efficient watering system can do wonders for the health of many plants, grass included!
- Fertilize regularly to feed your grass and keep it healthy. While individual products vary, generally you’ll want to reapply fertilizer every 3 months or so. Always follow manufacturer’s directions for use and followup care, and select the right kind of fertilizer for your grass type. Organic, nature-friendly fertilizers are best for both your lawn and the world around you, so try to use those when possible.
- Aerate your soil to support strong roots and healthy grass! There are a number of different ways to do this,but they all involve some form of poking holes in the turf and letting air circulate through your grass’s roots. Spike shoes aerators are among the easiest to use—just put them on and take a walk on the grass!--but there are other options available.
There’s a lot more to it, but these basics should help you get started. It’s never too late to implement a good lawn care program, and healthy grass can add so much to any garden space. If you have some tips or tricks about grass care, please let us know! We’d love to hear from you!