Beginner’s Guide to Lawn Care

beginners-guide-to-lawn-care-pittsburgh-pennsylvania

New to homeownership? Learn how to care for your lawn!

Are you starting up a lawn care routine for the very first time? If you are a new homeowner, or if this is your first time being in charge of your own lawn care, maintaining and caring for your landscape may seem daunting – where do you even begin? After all, your yard is the first thing that people see when they come to your home, and you want to make sure that it makes a good first impression.

The lawn care experts here at Custom Turf have created this resource for lawn care newbies just like you to help you through the growing pains. Follow this guide to learn all you need to know about caring for your landscape, from the correct mower height to the proper fertilization techniques and everything in between. Before long, you’ll be mowing with prowess, fertilizing with gusto, mulching with confidence – well, you get the idea.

Mowing: The Long and the Short

You may be thinking – lawn mowing, how hard can that be? The truth is, you may have been mowing your lawn incorrectly your entire life and not even known – until now! Even though mowing your lawn may seem straightforward, doing it properly is the key to keeping your grass healthy and happy – and looking spiffy! Check out these mowing tips to perfect your technique and become a mowing pro!

  • Only mow with sharp blades. Dull blades don’t cut the grass, they tear it, which is unsightly and unhealthy. Sharp blades ensure a clean cut every time. If your blades need sharpening, head on over to your local home improvement store; they can usually have your blades back to you that day, sharp as ever and ready to go!
  • Mow at the right height. While it may be tempting to cut your grass super short to cut down on the frequency of your mowing chores (who wants to mow every week?), doing so can harm your grass and impact its growth. Instead, mow your grass to a more moderate height: aim only to remove one-third of the grass' height each time you mow to prevent stress, and mow every 5-7 days. Yes–this will take more time–but your grass with thank you!
  • Only mow when your grass is dry. Wet grass blades will be weighed down by the water, whereas dry grass is upright and ready to be cut. This will not only keep your grass healthier, but your clothes will stay cleaner, too.

Fertilizing: Feed What Your Lawn Needs

Sunshine and water can only do so much to make your landscape healthy and green. Sometimes, your yard needs a little boost of nutrients provided by fertilizer. A trip to your local gardening store can yield a dizzying array of fertilizer choices that promise to help your landscape grow big and lush, but even the best fertilizer won’t help you if you don’t use it properly. Follow these steps to ensure that you feed your lawn what it needs:

  • Check your soil pH often. Instead of flying blind and guessing what your landscape needs, ask it with a pH test available at your local gardening store. If your soil is too basic, use acidic fertilizers to help balance it out. If your soil is too acidic, choose a lime treatment instead.
  • Only fertilize when needed–usually only twice per year. Fertilize cool climate grasses in the spring or summer and warm season grasses in the fall or winter.
  • Consider using compost to help feed and insulate your plants. Compost is packed with nutrients and is an eco-friendly way to keep your greenery happy.

Watering: Don’t Let Your Lawn Get Thirsty

Although it may seem simple, keeping your lawn properly watered can be one of the most complicated steps to proper lawn care. The key isn’t just slopping on some water when your landscape starts to look dry; it’s keeping your grass properly hydrated to ensure that it never gets too thirsty or too bogged down. Try out these tips for proper watering:

  • Only water your lawn once or twice per week to avoid oversaturating your lawn.
  • Water deeply, ensuring that the moisture gets down into the roots of your plants. Shallow watering doesn’t allow the moisture to get to where it needs to go, and may dry out your plants even though you are watering them.
  • Water very early in the morning to ensure that the moisture gets down into the soil and reaches the roots of your grasses before the sunlight has peaked. Watering late during the day allows water to evaporate before it gets into the plants. Watering at night can cause your landscape to get oversaturated, allowing fungus and disease to take over.

Aeration: Give Your Grass Some Breathing Room

When was the last time you aerated your lawn? Last season? Last month? Never? If you can’t remember, it has been way too long. When you aerate your landscape, you are pulling small plugs of soil out of your lawn to reduce thatch and introduce oxygen into the grasses. This allows moisture, nutrients and air to get down into the roots where they need to be and gives your grass a little breathing room. Follow these tips for successful aeration:

  • Before you choose to aerate, inspect your lawn. Is there a lot of overgrown thatch, or hard and compact soil? If so, start aerating soon!
  • Wait until the soil is moist, but not wet, before you start to aerate to ensure that the aerator you choose (spike or plug) can work properly. The best seasons to aerate are in the spring or the fall.
  • Don’t aerate too often. Usually once or twice per year is plenty of aeration for your lawn. More than that can cause damage to your landscape by ripping out too many roots.

Seeding: Get Rid of Those Bald Spots!

Post-aeration is a superb time to start a seeding treatment. Seeding treatments fill in bald patches or balding spots in your lawn to give you a lush, healthy and vibrant landscape. When you aerate your lawn, you create small holes that are the perfect germination spot for grass seed. Use a seed mix that works best for your lawn’s conditions and that matches the grass that you already have.

As you can see, properly caring for your landscape can quickly turn into a full-time job. Do you have the time and the expertise to get the landscape of your dreams? If you would rather leave the dirty work to a professional, the lawn care experts at Custom Turf are happy to give you a landscape that your neighbors will envy while you sit back, relax, and enjoy your lawn. If you’re a new homeowner, or even if this is just your first time taking care of your own landscape, we can help you achieve your lawn care and landscaping goals.

Contact us today to learn more about our lawn care services!