The grass is always greener on the other side isn’t just a saying if your neighbor’s lawn is actually greener than yours. This year, flip the script and show the Joneses exactly what you’re made of by getting your lawn nice and green with these six tips.
1. Watering right for your lawn type
When it comes to watering, not all grasses are made alike. Some guzzle. Others sip. But if you give a Big Gulp to a sipper or a sippy cup to a gulper, well, then you get the idea. So step away from the sprinkler for a second and get to know your grass type.
Think of it like a personality test for your lawn. Most Utah lawns are Kentucky Bluegrass, which will stand by you longer in a drought but still needs its H20. In average weather (70˚F), that means about an inch a week. Water more when it’s hotter, less when it’s cooler. And hey, while you’re at it? Say hello to your soil, too, and pay attention to wind and evaporation — all factors in lawn thirst.
2. What’s your angle?
They don’t call it a right angle for nothing: Edging your grass at a 90-degree angle helps prevent soil compaction and weed growth. Plus, it keeps your lawn from going into shock, which can send your lawn spiraling for up to eight weeks and your reputation in the neighborhood for even longer. Don’t stop living on the edge — just do it right.
3. All height and mighty
Cutting your lawn extra-short may look extra-tidy, but it can also make it extra-yellow, extra-dry and extra-dead, aka too depressing to picnic on. So do yourself a favor and keep up the height. Picture your grass blades as growing little ones marking their heights on some proverbial kitchen wall. Kentucky bluegrass should measure 2.5 inches, ryegrasses and fescues a solid 1.5. (Aw, they grow up so fast!)
4. An ounce of prevention
Well, it might take more than an ounce, but it’s definitely better than a pound of cure. The best thing for a spring lawn is fertilizing the fall before, and all lawns improve with a little regular seasonal fertilizing help from their friends. That’s because grass is greedy, and will slurp up nutrients in the surrounding soil if you let it. Fall fertilizing helps root development, while spring fertilizing helps with color. Use pre-emergent spring fertilizer to stop weeds before they start, and use a fertilizer with a good balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. (We recommend a 25-4-8 with iron for maximum green.)
As always, remember the Goldilocks rule: too much is bad (causing lawn burns, fungus, or ring spot) but too little leaves the lawn hungry.
5. Hole-y moley!
Give your neighbors something to exclaim about by aerating your lawn. Punching holes in your yard in spring and/or fall may seem strange, but it does the grass a world of good. Aerating allows roots to absorb more nutrients, reduces soil compaction, and allows thatch-eating microorganisms to do their thing. It also decreases water run-off and gets your lawn through the dog days of summer.
In plain English: Aerating makes a good lawn great!
6. The early bird catches the dandelion
It’s sad but true: The best way to eliminate a botanical interloper? Nip it in the bud (we couldn’t resist). That’s not tough love; that’s real advice. The best way to eliminate weeds is to get at what causes them — usually poor soil management — and get at them in spring, before they’re even a twinkle in Mother Nature’s eye.
Apply a pre-emergent weed deterrent when ground temperatures are between 50 and 55 degrees and you’ll be congratulating yourself through summer and into fall. There goes the family with that perfect lawn, the neighbors will murmur as you pass, How do they do it? You’ll just smile and wave and chuckle to yourself while you sip some ice water and survey your hard work.
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