People have always talked about how the grass is never really greener on the other side, but what about when it is? What do you do when the literal grass is actually greener on the other side, on every side, except yours? How do they have a green lawn? No one wants to be the worst lawn in the neighborhood. Settling for a dull shade of sage when others have vibrant green blades by spring is frustrating to say the least.
We’ve discovered the best tips and tricks to be sure that your lawn is the envy, not the eyesore of the neighborhood. It’s as easy as 1-2-3. The good news is you can start now and you can see a difference faster than you might think.
Get a soil test
This might seem a bit extreme, but it’s not really, and just because your neighbor got the test doesn’t mean you can piggy back on his results. Soil tests are extremely sensitive and can vary greatly from lawn to lawn.
Why? A soil test will show you your baseline, so you know how and when to plant and fertilize for optimal results. The goal is a pH balance of 6.5, potassium between 2-5%, magnesium should be 10-15%, calcium 60-80%, hydrogen 10-15% and sodium should be less than 3%, if any of these numbers are off, then you know where the problem is.
Start in early spring, March or April, or whenever your grass starts to actively grow and the frost season is over. Fertilize with nitrogen first, and then repeat with another application a month or two later.
Why? Fertilizer has three key ingredients for growing up, down, and all around green grass. Nitrogen for helping your lawn grow “up”. Phosphorous is good for helping your turf grow healthy roots “Down”. Potassium helps your grass grow in size in general, “all around”. Hint: use your soil test to figure out what ingredients your lawn needs most.
If you wonder why your neighbors grass always looks impeccable. Start paying attention to how much he mows. Chances are, it’s more often than you do. You should only remove the top 1/3 of the grass height every time you mow, this means you’re likely mowing once a week. If you mow shorter or get lazy and slack off, your lawn will pay for it.
Why? Every time you mow, the resources go to the top of the blades instead of growing the roots, the more damage you do when you mow (the shorter you go), the more work the grass puts into healing the tips which can lead to disease and weeds near the roots.
Water Low and Slow
If you have new turf, it will require more watering, but established lawns need less watering that is long enough to really soak the soil early in the morning.
Why? It’s best to water when it’s cool, but not overnight when the lawn is more susceptible to disease, this makes morning watering ideal. Watering long enough gives the soil time to be completely saturated so that the roots get the hydration they need.
That’s it! We told you it was easy, right?