You may be ready for summer picnics, playing in the sprinklers, and lounging around in the yard, but is your lawn ready? If your lawn isn’t lush and soft enough for you to enjoy with bare feet, then we’ve got some work to do.
Not sure where to start? No worries. We’ve got you covered with our lawn care tips that will leave you with a lush green lawn.
And if taking care of your lawn is too much for you, we’re here to help. Call us today! We’ll get your lawn ship shape in no time.
Promote lush, green growth by having your lawn mowed regularly. Not only does consistent mowing keep your lawn looking beautiful, but it also encourages roots to spread. If grassroots take up most of the space in the soil, weeds won’t have a way to sneak in.
We keep your grass from turning brown during the dry summer months by raising the cutting height of our mowers to around 1.5 – 3 inches to leave the grass longer.
- Bermuda – 1.5 inches
- St. Augustine – 3 inches
- Zoysia – 2.5 inches
Hopefully, you haven’t let the grass get too tall between mowings. But if you have, don’t have it mowed all at once. Ask to have the starting mowing at the highest setting.
And then go a bit lower 3 – 4 days later and so on until the desired mow height is reached. Cutting more than 1/3 of the grass blade at one mowing can stress the grass and cause it to brownout.
Water, Water, Water
This tip is a no-brainer for North Texas and Oklahoma residents. But we often get questions about how to water a lawn and how much water a lawn needs.
A young lawn needs a thorough watering. A more established lawn, not so much. And if you make a mistake and your established lawn turns brown, don’t worry.
It’s not dead. The grass will come back and turn green again when it rains— or you start watering again. Here are answers to a few FAQs that we get about watering lawns.
When to Water?
Check the soil moisture by inserting a trowel or moisture probe into the soil. If the top 2 – 3 inches are dry, it’s time to water. If that top layer is wet, hold off for another day or two depending on the heat index.
A simple, easy check for your lawn to determine if it is properly hydrated is to walk across the lawn. If you can see your footprints because it broke the grass blade verse it popping back up, your lawn probably needs watering to increase turgidity (internal water pressure) and make grass blades supple, so they pop back up.
Conversely, if your lawn does any of the following, there is too much moisture creating an anaerobic environment (lack of oxygen).
- Is turning yellow
- Squishes when you walk on it
- Smells like it is rotting
It is imperative to cut back watering.
How Much to Water?
Once again, insert your trowel or moisture probe into the soil. This time you will want to test the soil 4 – 6 inches below the surface. If this layer is not yet moist, continue watering until it is.
You want this deeper layer to be moist to encourage the roots to reach down further into the earth. Deeper roots equal a healthier lawn. However, it is also very easy and, in our experience, and much more common to observe established lawns with irrigation systems to being overwatered, then underwatered.
This is especially true with St Augustine, which is prone to fungus (as it was developed originally in the sand dunes of Raleigh NC) when we plant it in our black clay soils and keep it constantly wet.
Most established lawns would do best by watering deeply with longer cycles, less frequently as this encourages lawns and plants to develop deeper root systems. If your property is on a slope that creates runoff, we typically set these up on shorter cycles that are set to repeat several times on the allocated watering days.
This allows for the water from permeating the soil but turning off section once the soil is saturated and begins to create runoff.
What Time of Day to Water?
Watering between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. is typically a good time of day as the air movement is usually the calmest mitigating wind drift. This also helps ensure that the sun won’t rob moisture from your lawn or scald it.
Watering too early in the evening can encourage fungus on your lawn. If you don’t like to get up early or you have trouble consistently remembering to do things, a sprinkler system with a timer can save your lawn and is well worth the investment.
The newest timers can be controlled from your phone and adjust automatically to weather and seasonal changes. You will also need to check with your city or municipality as they may have laws about what day and time you can water based on your address.
Weeds will quickly overtake a lawn if left unchecked. Although dandelions can be fun, their flat, broad leaves can quickly smother large areas of a lawn.
Clover and buttercups grow swiftly and can take out a lawn in no time at all. Weeds are typically defined as either cool-season broadleaf weeds or warm-season grassy weeds.
Grassy weeds such as Dallis and Johnson Grass & Nutsedge tend to be more challenging to eradicate once they are established. The best time to remove or treat weeds is while they are still young.
Not only are they easier to remove, but if you eradicate them before they go to seed by applying a pre-emergent, you will have fewer weeds pop up in the future or by applying a post-emergent once weeds appear.
It is often best to hire a licensed professional to use pesticides properly. If you are applying pesticides yourself purchased at a local nursery or garden center, read the label carefully and follow the directions to avoid damage to your turf and garden plants.
If you choose to remove the weeds rather than kill them off with a weed killer, do it while the ground is wet — this will make your job much easier, and you have a better chance of pulling up the entire root.
You can try pulling dandelions and nettles up, but you will probably need a spade to dig them out of the ground. Make sure to get all the way down to the roots, or they will spring up again.
Wear gloves if you are working with nettles, or you will end up with itchy, burning skin. However, certain types of weeds such as Nutsedge will spread if pulled verse treated with a systemic herbicide before removal.
Compacted grass grows poorly. When grass gets compacted or only grows in clusters, you will end up with bare dusty patches in the summer and slippery mud puddles in the winter.
How do you know what areas of your lawn need to be aerated? Inspect your lawn and ask these three questions:
- Is water pooling here?
- Does the grass look thin?
- Can I insert a screwdriver 5 – 6 inches deep into the soil?
If you answer “yes” to either of the first two questions or “no” to the third, then you need to aerate the area.
To aerate most effectively, it is better to call a professional to perform this with the correct equipment. However, to perform this service yourself:
- Locate and flag irrigation heads and lines to avoid damage to the sprinkler system or other shallow utilities.
- Insert a pitchfork about 4 inches deep into the soil.
- Gently rock the fork back and forth.
- Pull the fork out.
- Move over about 4 inches and repeat.
- Keep going through the process until you have covered the entirety of the problem area.
By aerating the soil, you are helping the roots to breathe and encouraging regrowth.
Create professional-looking results by defining the edge of your lawn. Some people use a weed whacker to set the boundaries of the lawn and keep the grass off of the sidewalks, but this can create a “beveled” effect, which is not ideal, and it is more likely to throw rocks which can damage windows. A better option is to buy a stick edger with a flap on the backside to stop flying gravel, etc.
If the grass has already hopped the borderlines, you may have to go after it with a spade or treat it with an herbicide. Makes sure to get the roots out— grassroots can be long and tough. For areas where the grass keeps overflowing the bounds of the lawn, create a shallow swale between the lawn and the border garden or tree, sometimes referred to a V trench.
You can also install permanent hardscaping that grass can’t hop, such as:
- Fiberboard edging
Edging your lawn keeps things looking neat and tidy. There’s nothing more satisfying than a precisely edged lawn!
Fertilization can be accomplished organically or with synthetic products. When possible, feeding organically does tend to create the best soil biology, which encourages mycorrhizal fungi and proper root development.
Studies have proven that with appropriate organic feeding, plants develop exponentially larger root systems than those feed by systemic salt-based fertilizer.
This makes plants considerably more resistant to insects and drought. Lawns can be feed by applying compost or by other products that come in bags for easier application.
If you haven’t already fertilized your lawn as part of your spring lawn prep, do it now. Don’t wait until the summer temperatures skyrocket. Fertilizer is best added right before the rain.
You want the fertilizer to soak deep down into the soil so that it can enrich the roots. If fertilizer sits on top of the lawn, you may end up with burned leaf blades, especially if using a syntenic fertilizer that is high in Nitrogen.
In Texas, rain can be a luxury, so if there’s no rain to be seen, you can give your lawn a good soak with a hose or sprinkler system.
Accurately spreading the fertilizer can be a cumbersome job. A wheeled lawn feeder is a valuable asset for this task. The larger the lawn, the larger the feeder should be. Dealing with fertilizer can be stinky, tiresome work, so plan and drink plenty of water.
If it’s not in your wheelhouse, don’t fret—hire a professional. The investment is worth it as your grass will be greener within a week!
Get Back to Green
Sometimes those bare patches of lawn don’t grow back on their own as there may be too much shade, so start with pruning your trees.
Complete Landsculpture can help with this through our tree care division, which is run by an ISA Certified Arborist. Other times, you may be impatient with that ugly dirt patch staring at you. No problem, you can fill it up.
You can buy pre-grown turf squares from your local nursery. Just make sure that you are refilling the bare patches with the same kind of grass that’s already dominant in your yard.
To fill in a bare patch:
- Mark out a square around the area.
- Dig up the soil in that square to the depth of your new turf strip.
- Cut the turf to fit.
- Lay the turf over the patch.
- Press it down firmly so that there are no gaps between the soil and the turf patch.
- Make sure the height of the new turf is level with the height of your existing lawn.
- Water thoroughly with a water hose. You will also need to add extra runtime to each effected sprinkler zone to keep the turf moist while it is growing new roots.
If the bare patch in your lawn just won’t take grass and you have done all you can to provide daylight by pruning trees, you could plant a native ground cover in that area instead. Or call a professional— we’d be glad to help you figure out what’s going on and get your grass back on track.
Contact Us Today
If taking care of your lawn is too much for you, we’re here to help. Call us today! We’ll get your lawn ship shape in no time so you can sit back and watch the kids play in the sprinkler— or even run through it yourself!