Lawn care is the art and science of keeping a healthy, attractive lawn. Proper care includes grass mowing, watering, fertilization and insect control. It also includes weed control and soil improvement. It can include landscaping and hardscaping to create a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy.
The basics of good lawn care are mowing the right height, regularly aerating the soil and using a high quality fertilizer. A lawn that’s properly fertilized can help it stand up to drought and heat. It’s also important to have a well-functioning irrigation system to avoid over-watering and encourage deep roots.
Getting rid of thatch is another key to a healthy lawn. Thatch is a layer of dead organic material that builds up in the lawn, blocking water and nutrients from reaching the grass roots. Dethatching is a process of raking or scarifying the lawn to remove this material, which should be done in autumn and spring.
A thick, lush lawn can discourage weeds and insects, so overseeding the yard each fall is often a good investment. Overseeding can fill in thin spots, and introduce newer, more resistant grass varieties that may have better disease and insect resistance than old established types.
Most lawns need about 1 inch of water per week when not in a drought. It’s best to water in the early morning, when the sun will quickly dry the grass and lessen the chance of fungal diseases from prolonged wetness. A rain gauge or soil moisture tester can help you determine if your yard needs more or less water.
The type of weed killer used can affect the health of your lawn. For example, some broad-spectrum herbicides may kill beneficial insects that prey on pests and can harm earthworms that help maintain a healthy soil.
Grass that’s prone to disease can be improved by adding organic matter, such as compost, to the soil. Some good sources of organic matter are manure, leaf mold and shredded bark, all available at garden centers and some feed stores. A layer of corn gluten meal, another organic product, can prevent many weeds from germinating and is nature’s weed & feed.
If you are going to hire a professional for lawn care, be sure they know your expectations for a healthy and attractive yard. Ask them about the services they provide, including the chemicals and equipment they will use. A lawn care company that focuses on quality will be able to explain how their service will benefit your property.
It’s also a good idea to get a quote before hiring someone, especially for services that are not regularly performed. Some companies levy a flat travel rate, while others charge per hour of travel or by the mile. In addition, the size of your yard and any obstructions such as trees or playground structures will impact your bill. The type of soil in your lawn (ie sandy or clay) and the terrain may also add to the cost.