It may seem simple, cut it and water it and your lawn will grow green and healthy. But what do you do when a brown patch appears, or your grass is slowly being replaced with moss? And how do you keep your lawn looking its best whatever the season? Read on to find out how to deal with lawn problems and maintenance tips.
Knowing When to Mow
Mowing is essential for your lawn, you know that. But do you know why? Wild grass is often cropped by grazing animals and grows from the base, so mowing mimics this effect. Be careful to not cut too short or the grass will become weak and be in danger of being invaded by weeds. Never remove more than one third of the length of the grass, as it needs lots of energy to grow. The good news is there are plenty of times you shouldn’t mow your lawn. Not when it’s wet, not when it’s too hot and not when its frosty. The bad news is, during the growing season when it’s warm and sunny but still moist, you may need to cut the lawn twice a week to keep it looking at its best.
Now’s the time to do a lot of work on your lawn, as the grass starts to grow again. Feed it with a commercial lawn feed after mowing every few weeks. Alternatively, you can get long-lasting feed that you only need to apply once in four months. Deal with weeds in the spring. If you have small patches of weeds or moss, use selective weed killer that won’t damage your lawn. If you have a widespread moss problem, you can buy weed and moss killer that also contains feed for the grass. If you have any resultant bare patches, cover it with a specialist mix that contains grass seed, grass feed and seeding soil for best results. You can even get coated grass seed that withstands the ravages of pet urine.
With all the preparation you’ve done in spring, you shouldn’t need to water your lawn very much in summer. If you live in a hot climate, however, water your garden at dusk during the summer months. During the day the grass needs to soak in energy from the sun so shouldn’t be covered with water if you can help it.
If you have very compact soil, aerate it with a hollow tine aerator or a simple garden fork. Do this before watering to allow the moisture and feed to get down to the grass roots more easily.
Fall and Winter
Adjust the cutting height on your mower to cut the grass higher as it will be growing more slowly now. You can cut less frequently throughout fall and winter. Instead of mowing, you’ll be raking away fallen leaves and other debris. If you want to feed it before winter, make sure you use a fall specific lawn feed. Don’t feed the lawn over the winter, as this will encourage early growth that wouldn’t withstand winter weather until the spring sunshine returns.
Photo by Fang Guo