There are many reasons why more and more people are encouraged to enter the world of gardening.
Whether it’s because you have a lot of free time or are passionate about gardening, the truth is that most of us want a garden to boast that it looks spectacular.
However, to achieve this you need to have beautiful and very healthy grass. But when we talk about grass, caring for it is an important aspect, which if not done correctly can greatly affect the development, growth, and appearance of your lawn.
If you have problems at first do not worry, taking care of your grass may seem like a very simple job, where you only have to water it and cut it from time to time, but the secret of having a good grass is much more than that.
Keeping your lawn abundant, healthy, and uniform is not a difficult task that you need to be a lawn care expert to achieve, but it does require a series of care throughout the year and that is why I bring you 11 tips for lawn care for beginners.
These tips will undoubtedly help you get an amazing lawn to make your garden look better than ever.
The tips that I recommend to have a beautiful lush lawn are:
1. Know your type of grass and soil
Taking care of your lawn can become a somewhat complicated task that can be much easier if you know the type of grass you have in your garden.
Not all lawns are the same and are not cared for in the same way and that is why this is the first tip, knowing more about your type of grass and soil will help you a lot when it comes to taking care of it and solving problems.
Also, if you have not yet planted grass in your garden, you can investigate what type of grass adapts to you and the region where you are, so that it can develop and grow in the best way.
Planting is a great way to grow beautiful and abundant lawns, and if you are thinking of transforming your garden and have decided to plant a new lawn, you should keep the following tips in mind:
When is the best time to plant a lawn in the garden?
The planting period will be key and it is essential to know them so that your garden looks beautiful and healthy.
The time in which you plant your grass will significantly determine its development, so it is very important to know when is the best time to plant it in your garden.
The best times to plant lawns are spring and early fall.
Because these are the times of the year where plants have overcome the stress of summer droughts and winter cold.
Both periods are considered the best for growth as it is in these periods when all, or almost all vegetation, develops.
3. Overseed excessively
Over-seeding is a process of adding new grass seed to your lawn.
Over-seeding is a wonderful technique for treating thinning and brown areas, as it fills damaged and thinning areas while improving color and reducing the possibility of moss and weed invasion.
Also, it’s important to mention that this process can help strengthen your lawn’s ability to combat some future damage from drought and other problems.
If your garden only needs a touch up in some thin or stained areas, sowing seeds excessively is your solution. Your lawn will become dense and healthy by covering the entire space with large amounts of seeds mixed with fertilizer.
For over-seeding to be successful I recommend that you follow these tips:
• Over-seeding is usually more successful when combined with aeration.
• Before you start spreading the seeds, I recommend that you have your lawn well aerated, cut and watered.
• Once planted, the lawn should be kept moist to stimulate germination.
4. Cut your grass
Mowing the lawn correctly is one of the most important tasks and without a doubt, it is the key to making the lawn look amazing and above all to stay healthy.
However, although mowing the lawn may seem like an easy task. The truth is that mowing the grass correctly is harder than it sounds and many people often do it the wrong way.
To cut your lawn correctly, I have compiled a series of tips that you should take advantage of to achieve the benefits of a good cut.
These tips are:
• Cut only with sharp blades: Many people, especially beginners, often forget about this but sharpening the mower blades is extremely important, and should be done from time to time.
This is because when a mower does not have its blades sharp it tends to tear and rip the grass instead of cutting it, which is unhealthy and leaves an ugly and sloppy result.
However, sharp blades ensure a clean cut and that the grass is not damaged every time you mow the lawn.
But how can I sharpen the blades?
You can sharpen your mower blades yourself using sandpaper or other tools, or take your mower to a local home improvement store.
The blades are usually returned to you that day, sharp and ready to use.
As mentioned above it is of utmost importance to make sure that the blades are kept sharp for best results.
• Only mow the lawn when the grass is dry: Lawn should always be mowed when dry, as wet grass blades will be weighed by the water, while dry grass is upright and ready to mow.
• Cut to the correct height: Mowing the grass shorter just to reduce the cutting frequency may seem like the easiest option, but this can negatively affect the health of your lawn.
Mowing the lawn too short puts a lot of pressure on it, which can lead to brown spots, overgrowth, and even pest problems in your yard.
Longer lawns resist heat and sun better than shorter ones.
Therefore, I recommend that you cut it correctly.
The correct way to mow the lawn is only by cutting 1/3 off the total height of the grass, this is important because in this way it stimulates the growth of new shoots and also causes the lawn to spread organically.
An example might be, if your lawn is 3 inches tall then you should trim just one inch to keep the lawn healthy.
However, there are fast-growing and slow-growing grass species that do not need a high cutting frequency.
Among some of them, we can mention…
Fast-growing species and frequent cutting:
- Ray-grass English
- Festuca arundinacea
Slow-growing species and less frequent cutting:
- Zoysia japonica
When to mow?
A lawn should be cut every 3 to 7 days and only remove a third of the height of the lawn each time you mow to avoid stress.
It is important to mention that if you sow the grass from scratch, the first cut should be made when the grass reaches a height between 5 to 10 cm, then subsequently lower it to about 3 or 4cm.
Fertilizer is an essential factor that you cannot overlook. Fertilizers contain many nutrients that will help you achieve that beautiful and healthy lawn that you long for.
However, if you don’t use the fertilizer properly, it won’t give you the results you want.
The following tips will help ensure that your lawn will have those nutrients it needs:
What type of fertilizer to use and how to use it?
My recommendation is that you choose to buy a granular fertilizer that has calcium, magnesium, and micronutrients, especially iron, as they are easier to use.
The correct dose to apply for these types of fertilizer is between 30 and 35 grams per square meter of surface.
It is also important to moisten the fertilizer with a watering afterward so that it is released slowly.
Fertilize only when necessary
The amount and frequency of watering are extremely important for the proper growth and development of your lawn, which, if not done correctly, can be detrimental.
To water your lawn correctly I recommend that you follow these tips:
How much water should be watered?: In order for your lawn to establish healthy and strong roots, you need to water it the right way, so it would be best to water it deeply with at least 1 to 1.5 inches of water a week.
This can be accomplished by watering your lawn 3 times a week for 15-30 minutes per zone. However, this can completely change depending on your grass type, your region, and the time of year.
If you water your lawn type correctly and take environmental factors into account, you will surely have no trouble getting a beautiful lawn with strong, healthy roots.
When is the best time to water?: The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning when the weather is cool before the temperature gets too hot and the water evaporates. If you have sprinklers, it is recommended to configure them so that they work between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Find out the answer to whether watering your grass in the sun will burn it?
In addition, it is important to mention that it is necessary to adjust the irrigation seasonally. Once you have your irrigation schedule established, you can follow these tips:
- In summer it is very hot and therefore you should give more attention to the lawn. However, you have to be careful not to overdo it, excessive watering can have several consequences.
- In spring, when there are more rains, the most advisable thing would be your normal watering schedule.
- In autumn and winter, your lawn will need little water and less attention.
How do I know if I am watering enough?: One way to find out if your lawn is being watered with the right amount of water is to push a screwdriver 6 inches into the ground and if you can do this without difficulty you are watering enough, there are many factors that can affect your watering, so don’t forget to use a screwdriver to be safe.
7. Excessive watering
As I mentioned before, excessive watering can have many consequences for your lawn. Among the most relevant consequences I can mention:
• Compacts and hardens the soil: This hardening of the soil hinders the growth of the roots. It does not allow adequate aeration of the soil or adequate drainage of water, so the root can become sick and die from suffocation.
• It washes it of nutrients: If it is very sandy soil and fertilizers are not used regularly, the few nutrients that the soil has will drain with the water to areas where the roots do not reach.
• Fungi: Overwatering can cause the appearance of fungi.
8. Lack of irrigation
Just as overwatering is a problem for your lawn, lack of water is also a problem. However, unlike excessive watering, the consequences can be resolved by watering the lawn properly.
Lack of irrigation of the lawn causes consequences such as:
- The lawn does not recover from footprints leaving marked footprints.
- The color of the grass turns yellow and straw-colored.
- Growth takes place slowly.
If the grass experiences a prolonged dry period, it will begin to wilt and turn grayish-green, if watered at this time it can recover quickly.
Surely as a beginner to lawn care, you may be wondering what is aeration?
Aeration is the process of drilling the ground with small holes throughout the lawn. In order to loosen the compacted soil, reduce thatching, and also allow water, air, and nutrients to reach the soil at greater depths. And thus improve the health of your lawn.
Air, even if it doesn’t seem like it, is a very important element for a healthy lawn. And this process creates optimal growing conditions for your lawn by helping to circulate air and nutrients in the soil.
Aerating your lawn brings with it a number of great benefits that go a long way in helping your lawn grow and look much better.
Among its benefits I can mention:
• Looser Soil: Overly compact soil will suffocate the roots of your lawn and prevent them from growing, by aerating the lawn the soil becomes loose, the roots can grow more easily and gives your lawn some room to breathe.
• Less thatch: By removing excessive thatch, water, pesticides, and fertilizers will have a greater effect on your lawn, because the thatch will not prevent them from reaching the ground.
• Better tolerance to drought and heat: An aerated lawn will have a better airflow, making it more responsive to stress.
• Improves drainage and reduces water runoff: After aerating the lawn, your garden soil will be much more penetrable, which will reduce puddles and will also allow more water to reach the roots of the lawn, improving its appearance and making make it healthier.
When to aerate the lawn?
Aerating your lawn at least once a year is an ideal option to take advantage of all its benefits and obtain healthy and perfectly looking lawns. Also, your grass type affects when you need to aerate.
To know when is the best time to air, follow these steps. When to aerate by grass type:
• For warm-season lawns: I recommend airing in the spring.
• For cold season lawns: I recommend airing in the fall or spring. This will give your lawn a better chance to heal from the harsh stress of summer and winter.
There are also different signs that your lawn needs to be aerated.
Signs that indicate that it should be aerated:
- Grass has areas where puddles always form: If this happens constantly it means that the water does not reach where it is needed most and you should aerate the grass in that area.
- If the grass feels spongy: If it feels spongy it is due to excess thatching and therefore it needs to be aerated.
- Excessive thatching or hard and compact soil: If you have these symptoms it will mean that your lawn needs to be aerated soon.
Lastly, it is important to mention that aerating too frequently can damage the landscape of your garden, therefore, I recommend that you only aerate once or twice a year.
How to aerate the lawn?
There are two methods to aerate your lawn, which are:
Core Aeration: With core aeration, instead of making holes, a core aerator will remove small cores of soil to create holes.
Dowel Aeration: Dowel aeration involves drilling holes in the ground with a drilling tool. However, this method requires more effort and is less effective than core aeration.
Before aerating you must wait for the soil to be moist and not too wet and use a properly functioning aerator.
Topdressing simply involves applying a small layer of sand, mulch, or a mixture of both on the lawn.
Topdressing is a task that is best carried out after aeration because this way the holes are filled with a new, looser substrate that will make it easier for the roots to spread and the quality of the lawn to improve.
It is also often used during overseeding so that the seeds are buried in a thin layer of topdressing.
To topdress your lawn. I recommend that you add a light layer of:
• Mulch or peat
• a combination of the elements: Sand + Mulch or Sand + Peat
This is a lawn care tip most beginners don’t know can massively improve your lawn.
11. Eliminate weeds
Weeds, in addition to giving a bad look to your garden, are very annoying because they can prevent the growth of your lawn, by blocking the amount of air and nutrients that reach the roots.
Whatever your type of lawn, there is always the risk of acquiring weeds, because they can reach your garden by birds, pets, or even your shoes or clothing.
Weeds can sometimes be difficult to remove, as some of them have seeds ready to drop and take their place if they are uprooted.
However, this does not make it impossible to remove and keep your lawn healthy and beautiful.
Below I present you with different examples of weeds that can appear in your garden and also tips to eliminate them in the best way:
• Without a doubt, the easiest option is to extract all the weeds with their roots. This process can be carried out using your hands, using a tool, or you can also choose to use a low toxicity herbicide.
• As I mentioned before, weeds never appear alone, they have seeds that are willing to take their place without problems.
Thatch is a layer of organic matter that usually accumulates between the grass blades and the ground, it is mainly made up of root stalks and dead leaves.
Excessive thatch is often a problem because it creates a block that prevents fertilizer nutrients and moisture from reaching the ground and down to the roots of your lawn, affecting its growth, appearance, and creating dead patches.
Despite being a big problem, the solution is very simple and for this, I recommend following the following advice:
How to remove the thatch?
I recommend that you do scarification on your lawn, which is the process of raking and removing the mulch from the lawn, to do this you can choose to use a scarifier to make the process easier.
Moss is a weed that reproduces from millions of microscopic spores which can be the worst problem for your lawn.
Moss is a flowerless plant that grows on low-quality lawns reducing its ability to grow grass.
Moss arises when:
- The soil remains moist.
- Nutrients in the soil are low.
- The soil is compacted and has poor drainage.
- The area is in the shade.
To eliminate the moss I recommend you follow the following tips
How to remove moss?
Remember it is important that you do not rake the moss if it has not been treated, doing so will simply spread the moss spores and only make things worse.
To remove the moss I recommend that you apply a moss control in the spring, this will make the moss turn brown in a week and allow you to use a rake to remove the debris without spreading it.
To avoid the appearance of moss on your lawn again you can follow the following recommendations:
To prevent moss you should make sure:
• Do not cut the grass too short: Cutting the grass too short will weaken the grass and leave the ground open for moss invasion.
• Make sure the lawn receives sunlight: the heat of the sun will dry the surface of the wet soil preventing the appearance of moss.
• Improve drainage: Improving drainage will prevent the soil from remaining moist and thus prevent moss from arising again.
• Aerate the lawn: Aerating the lawn will allow the compressed soil to be loosened, preventing puddles from forming and the soil from remaining moist.
• Sow excessively: When removing the moss, there may be bare spaces in your lawn, therefore, I recommend that you fill those spaces with seeds of a lawn that is resistant to shade to avoid a future appearance of the moss in the same place.
• You can eliminate clover, daisies, etc. with a selective herbicide, with a sprayer. They generally work best at temperatures above 15º C.
• You should aerate the lawn when it is very compacted.
• Do not use herbicides in full sun or wind, it can reach neighboring places and destroy plants that you surely do not want to destroy.
There are some useful lawn care tips for beginners I hope you will find them useful and grow that beautiful lush green lawn you hope to achieve.