The average homeowner who has a garden spends most of the summertime outside, but many do neglect to prepare their lawns until it’s too late in the season. By spending a little time before the warmer weather arrives preparing your grass, you will have a much happier time when the good weather does come. Common excuses for having a poor lawn range from “I don’t have the time” to “not enough sunshine.” Considering the amount of time we like to spend outside in the summer it is undoubtedly worth a bit of effort to keep it clean, tidy and looking good. We have put together a few tips to help you in this endeavor.
Prepare Before Winter
The best time to start getting your lawn ready for the spring and summer is before winter, the previous year. Mowing the lawn on any dry days before winter will stop it getting too long which blocks the sun and kills the roots. Keeping the height of the grass at approximately 1.5 inches in the winter and about 0.7 in the summer, check the packaging for the exact grass height needed. Families with young children often leave toys, bikes and other stuff lying on the lawn, and this is going to damage large patches of grass, so keeping the lawn free from toys and debris will limit problems. When possible, cut the grass until all the leaves have fallen from the trees to ensure you don’t smother the lawn.
Compacting of the soil is more severe in the wetter cooler months as damp earth can compress and leave little room for water or air to penetrate and help the grass grow. An obvious solution to compacting is to limit traffic across the garden, but this will not necessarily eliminate the problem as heavy rain, snow and frost will also contribute. Aerating the soil with an aerator or garden fork will assist breaking the dirt up, and you should also add some compost mixed with sand to get the organisms and bacteria that keep soil healthy, back in the ground. If you suffer from lawns with heavy traffic it may help to change to more suitable grass seed. Couch and Kikuyu, for example, are both the preferred choice for sports pitches and can withstand heavy wear and tear.
If you live in areas with severe winters, the chances are you will get patches of grass that have died. A few spots here and there are common, even for those who cleared all the debris throughout the cold months. A lack of sunlight, heat and excess rain contribute significantly to uneven growth after winter. To ensure a healthy lawn for the summertime, you should plant grass seed in these areas before it starts to get too warm and prepare the area with a little fertilizer to encourage growth. If you leave re-seeding until after the temperatures start to rise you will find that weeds may have taken over the damaged patches and will already be spreading across the lawn. Ensure you get any repairs that are needed doing completed before the weeds arrive.
Feeding and Watering
Once you have resolved any issues with the lawn, you can look at getting it healthy for the warmer months. Grass needs nutrients to grow, and extreme heat or cold can reduce what they are getting from nature. Most keen gardeners have a compost or mulching pile where they put leaves, grass and vegetable leftovers. Using an organic fertilizer or mulch by spreading it thinly multiple times will help to get the grass kickstarted from its winter slumber and thriving. Watering your lawn should be done relative to the rainfall your area has had or is having currently. If the soil is dry, a light watering will be enough to give the grass a drink. Care should be taken to not over water in seasons when rain will still fall. Too much water will lead to the soil compacting, and any seed you scattered will wash away.
Enjoy the Sunshine
Getting your lawn into top condition before the summer arrives is not a time consuming or particularly difficult job, it is just often put off until you are sitting outside looking at a ragged lawn. Investment in outdoor living spaces has seen the most significant rise for homeowners and with this having a nice-looking garden is top of the agenda.
Keeping in the habit of removing leaves and items that children have left lying about will pay dividends when extreme weather comes. Watering and fertilizing are not essential during the winter months, but it is good to give your lawn a kick start in the spring. If your lawn still has issues next year, it may be time to look at a grass seed more suitable to your climate and conditions in your garden.