Its spring time and the winter did terrible things to your lawn. This isn’t how you remember it looking. Its time to get your lawn looking better than ever! With this guide, and a bit of work, you’ll have your lawn looking amazing!
Simply follow these steps in this order, for the best results!
1. Rake & Dethatch Your Lawn
A good tine rake can do both, raking can get exhausting, the better way is to use a dethatch machine. These machines have tines that brush against the ground, like a rake, lifting up debris, dead leaves and dead grass. Only do this once the lawn has been dry at least few days and all snow is gone, otherwise it can rip up your lawn. Dethatching helps promote new growth and helps let nutrients and air get to the roots or your lawn.
2. Complete Your First Mow of the Season
For the first mow of the year, we usually cut lawns at 2.5” to 3.5”. This first mow needs to be bagged to pick everything up. After the first mow, its best to stick to 3” to 3.5” for the rest of the season. This helps keep the lawn healthy, looking lush and thick! It also has weed control benefits, explained later in this post! The first mow is also when any debris and thatch from the dethatching process, would be picked up off the lawn. It's best to give the lawn a quick rake or vacuum as well so all the thatch gets picked up.
Mowing at 3-3.5" helps keep the lawn healthy, looking lush and thick! It also has weed control benefits, explained later in this post!
3. Aerate Your Lawn
Now comes the physical part, these machines seem like a breeze but with most of them, be prepared to get launched across your yard. They aren’t for the faint of heart. Aeration machines pull dirt plugs out of your lawn and they place them on top, this helps prevent soil compaction and allows nutrients to pass into the soil properly. Don’t bother to rake up the plugs, they will dissolve back into the lawn be gone in about 2-3 weeks.
4. Grass Overseeding
Overseeding is simply spreading a layer of grass seed over the lawn to help fill in the bare spots, after dethatching you’ll notice there will be quite a few of these that need to be filled. This can be accomplished with a simple broadcast fertilizer spreader or an overseeding machine which opens a slit in the lawn and places seeds down. Overseeding should be followed by the next task on the list, top dressing.
5. Top Dressing
Although overlooked, this step is a great way to bring your yard to life. Top dressing is simply applying about a ¼” layer (no more) of a high quality soil blend onto the entire lawn such as a 4 way soil mix. Please contact your local soil distributor for the best suggestion in your area. Some blends may carry weeds so it's best to use a recommended blend. Introducing a new layer of fresh soil is a great way to fill small uneven areas and reintroduce nutrients as well as beneficial bacteria into the lawn. We recommend only doing this once per year however; overdoing this step can cause soil to build up and leave your lawn raised.
Now that we’ve built a great foundation for lawn health, it’s time to add a slow release fertilizer. The top dressing is very effective, however; more nutrients will help. Adding a granular slow release fertilizer will help give constant nutrients, leaving your lawn looking a lush green. Be sure to follow the bag's instructions as excess amounts can cause lawn burn. Along with fertilizer, adding an iron supplement such as milorganite, will bring the lawn to a rich greenish blue tint and give your lawn that extra wow factor. Milorganite will not burn the lawn so don't worry about it as much.
7. Water.. Water…. And more water!
The final and most important step is water! I’m not kidding when I say skipping this step can ruin your entire plan for a great lawn. With the new seed down and all those nutrients on your lawn, water will fill in the missing link. A freshly seeded lawn should be watered once or twice a day for 5-10 minutes. (10-15 minutes on hot days) you should water your lawn every day for the next 28-35 days! Exhausting, I know, but the seeds need to be constantly damp (not soaked) to grow properly. Failure to water every day can result in the seeds dying. You won’t regret it once you see the end result!
Having a nice thick lawn is one of the easiest ways to get rid of weeds. Weeds need heat, sun and nutrients to grow, this is why weeds are more common near pavement and cement, where they’re exposed to more heat. If the weeds can’t get any light because the lawn is too thick, they won’t grow!
If you follow these steps and throw in a couple weed control applications if necessary, you’ll have the best looking lawn on your block!
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