4 steps to expertly green grass on a DIY budget
Posted: April 01, 2020 | Word Count: 757
Having lush green grass is a delight for the senses. Not only does it look amazing, boost your mood and enhance your property value, but few things are better than walking barefoot through your yard or the fresh smell of grass on a warm, sunny day.
"Many people think you need to hire professionals to get the green grass they admire in magazines, but the truth is you can do everything they do, with a little guidance and the right strategies," says Phil Dwyer, Ph.D., R&D Principal at ScottsMiracle-Gro.
As we look outside in these first days of spring, this is the ideal opportunity to improve your lawn and give it just what it needs to thrive. Consider these smart lawn care tips to get a lush green blanket of grass across your yard for months to come.
Access technology for guidance
What type of grass grows in your yard? What is that weed over there? When's the best time to fertilize? You may not know these answers, but technology can help provide expert guidance at no cost. For example, the free Scotts My Lawn mobile app lets you geo-target your specific yard to get expert insight and step-by-step guidance on how to create a customized lawn care plan for an entire year based on your location, climate, environment and goals. Ask questions through live chat, use the weed identifier tool to tackle tough weeds and follow seasonally relevant lawn tips and grass seeding recommendations. It's like having an on-call pro, without the costs.
Mow to the highest preferred height
How and when you mow can impact the health of your lawn for better or for worse. Because mowing takes time and energy, it's best to know strategies to help you maximize effectiveness with minimal effort. Overall, the higher you mow the deeper your roots grow. It's important to learn which grass type you have so you can mow appropriately. Northern cool-season grasses should be cut 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches. Some southern warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass do better when cut a little shorter. Make sure to avoid cutting more than a third of the grass blade at a time so you don't stress the plant, and also try to vary your mowing pattern to avoid ruts. These steps will help your grass grow strong at an optimal height that also helps shade the soil to prevent weed growth and water evaporation.
Feed at the right times
It's not only about how much you feed your lawn. Using the right treatments at the right times gives grass all it needs throughout the season and saves you money along the way. Typically the first treatment should occur in the spring after your first mow to jump-start growth and strength. As months continue you'll need treatments that support a lawn's overall health long term, including weed and insect control. Scotts takes the guesswork out of lawn care with an easy, customized subscription plan that delivers the correct amount of what is needed when it is needed. Fill out a brief diagnostic quiz at program.scotts.com to get recommendations and order for convenient delivery. In general, a nice lawn can be achieved by feeding once in the spring and again once in the fall. If you want to create a really beautiful thick green lawn, in the North try feeding twice in the spring (4-6 weeks apart) and twice in the fall (Labor Day, Halloween). In the South, apply four applications spaced out between spring and Labor Day.
Use wise water strategies
Reduce your water footprint, save money on utilities and help grass thrive with wise watering methods. Frequency will depend on how much it rains and the time of year, as grass needs less water in spring and fall than it does during hot summer months. Rather than watering only once a week, try watering for shorter periods every other day to best respond to changing conditions, needs and rainfall. When the grass starts to look purplish to light brown and doesn't bounce back when walked on, it's time to water. Water is best applied in the early morning hours, as this prepares grass for the heat of the afternoon. Soil should be moist to the sticky point, but not muddy or dripping wet. Most sprinklers can achieve this in about 15 minutes per zone.
"These four simple steps will set any homeowner on the path to a green lawn," says Dwyer. "You'll enjoy spending time in your yard and enjoying the outdoors to the fullest."