The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. With a little regular maintenance, your lawn can be the envy of the neighborhood. A healthy lawn has six basic components. They are weeds, soil, seeding, feeding, mowing and watering. In this post we will talk about weeding, soil and seeding. Before you start, make sure you get all necessary gardening tools ready.
The first thing you need to address is weeds. Look at the overall health of your lawn. If you have large areas of weeds with very little grass, it may be time to start over. Spray the weeds with non-selective weed killer and wait for them to die. Non-selective means it kills all plants, so be careful what and where you spray. Is your lawn is in better shape and you only have the occasional weed, use a selective herbicide and spot treat only the areas with weeds.
Once the weeds are eliminated, it is time to improve your soil. Over time, the soil under your lawn begins to degrade in quality. One of the garden tools you are going to need is a garden rake. Start by raking your lawn vigorously to remove thatch—the dead grass and other debris that prevents water, nutrients and air from reaching the root system. Next, aerate your lawn. Aerating reduces soil compaction by poking holes in the ground. The best option is to use a core aerator, which removes small plugs of dirt to loosen the soil. On small yards, you can use a spike aerator.
Now that your seeds and soil are in check, you’re ready to seed. There are two categories of seeds. One is warm-season grass, like Bermuda and Centipede. The other one is cool-season varieties, like fescue and bluegrass. Choose the grass that’s best for your region.
If your lawn is in good shape, you’ll want to over-seed, which means to evenly spread seed over the entire lawn. Check the label to determine which spreader setting to use. If you have bare patches, you’ll need to spot seed. Loosen the soil with a rake and evenly spread seed directly on the soil. Rake the seed in and tamp it down with the end of the rake. This seed-to-soil contact is essential for germination. Spread a small amount of mulch or straw on top for insulation. Finally, keep the seeded area consistently moist for a couple of weeks until you see the new growth. Make sure not to over-water the area, just enough to keep it slightly wet.
In next post, we are going to talk about feeding, mowing and watering. Stay tuned.