Garden Lawn Care & Maintenance for Beginners

Do you want to learn how to maintain a garden lawn without hassle? If so, then this article is for you! In it, we will outline the basics of garden lawn care and maintenance, including tips on how to water your garden lawn correctly, control weeds, and fertilize your plants. We will also discuss the different types of garden lawns available on the market and give tips on choosing the best one for your needs. So if you’re looking to get started with gardening but don’t know where to start, read on!

Majestic sunset seen in late spring, showing a recently cut and well maintained large lawn in a rural location. The sun can be seen setting below a distant hedge, producing a sunburst effect.

Start with a Soil Test

Before conducting a feeding, start with a soil test to determine the nutrient content of your soil. Your soil’s organic matter level and the presence of earthworms and other soil-dwelling organisms that naturally control thatch can be determined by conducting this test. The results will help you ensure that you are fertilizing only when necessary with the right nutrients in the right amounts. Every three years, you should conduct a soil test. Maintaining the proper pH (6.0 – 6.8) and soil fertility levels are essential for the growth of a healthy turfgrass lawn.

Soil samples can be taken by anyone. Separate samples should be included for problem areas, such as bare spots or sections with unwanted lawn moss. Include separate samples. Your lawn’s health can be improved with the help of the lab if you tell them you’re testing it.

Determine and Resolve the Underlying Problems

With the results of the tests in hand, turn the recommendations into projects. Don’t risk repeating mistakes; fix them now. To maximize the potential of your lawn, use soil amendments following lab recommendations. Lime, for example, restores soil pH balance so that grasses can access available nutrients.

Know Which Grasses Are Best for Your Area

The best lawns are made with grasses that grow well in their area. So, just like flowers and shrubs in the garden and grasses on the lawn, each type of turfgrass prefers different climates and can handle different types of weather. It’s a good idea to buy seed rather than sod because you can get more types of grass that have different qualities, like how soft it is under your feet.

If you live in a place that gets a lot of rain, Kentucky bluegrass is a good choice because it grows well in cool weather. They thrive in the north. Warm-season grasses, like Bermudagrass, do well in the summer heat and warmer places. Lawn grasses that are native to a given region require less water, other resources, and time to maintain.

Popular Cool-Season GrassesBluegrass
Perennial ryegrass
Tall fescue
Fine fescue
Bent grass
Rye grass
Popular Warm-Season GrassesBahia grass
Common Bermuda
Hybrid Bermuda
Centipede
Zoysia
St. Augustine
Centipede grass

Grasses for special needs:

  • Shade: St. Augustine grass, fine fescue, tall fescue, Ryegrass, Bentgrass
  • High traffic: Zoysia grass, improved Bermuda grass, Bahia grass, regular Bermuda grass, perennial ryegrass

Make Sure You Sow the Correct Seed the First Time

Timing is everything when it comes to the seeding, overseeding, or thickening your lawn. Do it when the grass is at its lushest if you want to get the most out of your seeding. Avoid the common grass seeding mistakes made by many homeowners by properly planting seeds.

Carefully read a seed tag and determine who owns the seed you’re purchasing. In the open market, many companies sell seeds, and you might be surprised by what you find inside.

Water Wisely

To maintain a healthy lawn, you must water it correctly. There’s no better strategy than to give the soil time to dry out before re-watering it.

At least 6-8 inches of soil should be moistened at a time for a lawn to be healthy. If it’s particularly hot or windy, the grass may require an inch of water per week.

An accurate rain gauge is essential for determining how much additional moisture is needed. Irrigation time cannot be calculated in advance if this is the case. Your soil’s moisture retentiveness and drainage, whether you irrigate in the morning when evaporation is lower, and the type of sprinkler or irrigation system you use all affect how much water you need.

Overwatering can be a problem, especially in areas with poor drainage or irrigation systems set to run on a predetermined timetable. Many automatic systems can now make life easier for homeowners with rain sensors.

As a result of overwatering, diseases can spread more easily, grubs can thrive on your lawn, and fertilizer is flushed out of the soil before it can benefit your plants. When nutrients from your soil leach into nearby waterways, they will have a negative impact on the ecosystem as a whole, resulting in serious problems.

To encourage turfgrass plants to grow more extensive root systems, it is best to water deeply and allow the soil to dry out before re-watering. Water can be found more easily by plants with more roots, which reduces the amount of water they need to supplement their own water supply.

Repairing Bare Spots

You want to break up the clumps when you start digging in the area. You want to do this for about 6 inches. Like gasoline or herbicide, a spilled chemical may have caused the problem. If this is the case, remove several inches of the surface soil.

The soil will be better if you add topsoil to it. This will also help new grass or sod get off to a good start.

3: Rake and tap to ensure the surface is even and firm. It should be the same height and width as the rest of the lawn.

4. Spray the lawn product on (whichever method you choose from the list above).

5. Make sure to water the area well.

These are the steps to follow after you’ve done the work. It’s not possible to keep your lawn healthy and green without having any bare spots.

Use a hose to keep the soil moist but not soaked. Keep the soil from drying out so the roots from the grass seed can get into the soil. General lawn fertilizer can help the grass grow after it has been established and is growing well. Mow the patch with the rest of the lawn. During the first year, keep an eye on the area.

Ensure That You Are Feeding Your Grass Right

Lawn grasses necessitate a balanced diet to thrive. A healthy lawn necessitates an abundance of nitrogen to remain lush, vibrant, and green. You can use your soil test results to determine how much nitrogen your lawn needs each year (usually per 1,000 square feet).

The percentages of actual nitrogen and other nutrients on fertilizer labels can help you choose the right product for your needs. However, you must exercise caution, as overfeeding or feeding too frequently can cause more harm than good. Ensure that your lawn’s fertilizer needs are met by establishing a feeding schedule and sticking to it.

How To Fertilize Your Lawn

The soil gives turfgrass some important nutrients, but most soils can’t give your lawn everything it needs for the whole growing season. A lawn growing quickly needs a lot of energy from these nutrients. helps your grass grow by:

  • Making it easier for new leaves and roots to grow
  • Recovery from damage caused by pests and people walking on them
  • Getting rid of and controlling weeds
  • Replacing nutrients that were lost because of leaching, volatilization, and removing grass clippings

Choosing Lawn Fertilizer

You need to pick the right food for your soil to have a healthy, green lawn. There are many things to keep in mind when it comes to fertilizing your lawn. Choose the right lawn fertilizer for your area, the type of grass you have, and what season it is.

When Should You Fertilize Your Lawn?

To provide the best lawn care possible, you must feed your grass at the proper time. Different types of grass require fertilizer at various times of the year. We’ve included general guidelines below, but see our fertilizer scheduling tips for details specific to regions and grass types.

In general, fertilize your lawn while it is actively growing. It takes some commitment, but maintaining a consistent fertilizing schedule will result in an attractive lawn year after year.

Fertilizing Grasses in the Cool Season

Cool-season grasses thrive best in spring and fall cool months when temperatures hover between 60-70°F (15.6-21.1°C). Autumn is the time of year when these grasses grow most vigorously. Fertilize heavily in the fall — after the summer’s intense heat has passed but well before severe winter weather. For the fall application, you may choose to use a winterizing fertilizer. These fertilizers have been specifically formulated to aid in protecting the grass during the winter months.

Fertilize lightly with a slow-release or a quick-release fertilizer in early spring. Adjust your fertilization schedule to ensure that all fertilizer is used up before the arrival of hot summer weather, during which cool-season grasses frequently go dormant.

Fertilizing Grasses in the Warm Season

Fertilize in the spring when the grass begins to turn green. These grasses will bloom in the late spring or early summer. However, warm-season grasses thrive in temperatures between 80-95°F (26.7-35°C), though they can also grow in lower temperatures.

If you’re using a slow-release or quick-release fertilizer, make sure to time your feedings so that the fertilizer is used up before the onset of severe summer weather. Re-fertilize once the heat has subsided.

Simple Fertilizer Application Procedures

Dry granules or liquid fertilizer can be used to feed your lawn. When using any lawn-care product, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply and keep your lawn healthy.

Broadcasting Fertilizer Granules

Step 1: Prepare the Spreader for Use. Check to see that the spreader and fertilizer are both dry. Make sure that the rate of flow for the spreader is set according to the instructions on the fertilizer bag. If you have any doubts, it is better to apply too little than too much. Close the hopper vent if it is open. Spread the spreader on a hard surface and slowly fill the hopper with fertilizer.

Step 2: Put the Fertilizer on the Plant. To spread the fertilizer, first, run it around the perimeter of the lawn with the hopper vent open and then back and forth across the rest of the lawn, overlapping each pass a little. The fertilizer package may also include a recommended pattern for complete and even coverage.

Step 3: Clear the Area. Following each use, thoroughly clean the spreader. Remove excess fertilizer from driveways, patios, sidewalks, and other hard surfaces.

Spraying Liquid Fertilizer

Step 1: Get the Sprayer Ready. Simply attach the hose-end sprayer bottle to the hose to apply the liquid fertilizer.

When using a separate sprayer for the fertilizer, fill the sprayer canister with liquid fertilizer and fill the sprayer canister with water according to package directions. Sprayers that attach to the end of a garden hose must be carefully attached to the hose end of the sprayer. Prepare handheld sprayers to apply the liquid by pumping the handle to build pressure, typically done by holding the handle down.

Step 2: Apply the Liquid Fertilizer. Use a steady pace to cover the entire lawn with a uniform layer of spray after activating it. Slowly walk around the perimeter, spraying from one side of the perimeter to the other.

Step 3: Clean the Sprayer Nozzle. If you used a reusable sprayer to apply the fertilizer, thoroughly clean it before putting it away in a safe place.

Weed Your Lawn

Get rid of the weeds in your yard. Despite their easy removal with a hand trowel or daisy grubber, plantains and dandelions can smother large lawn areas and impede growth. Roughing up the lawn before you mow can help to weaken and eventually kill off yellow medicks, buttercups, and clover, which spread quickly throughout a lawn.

Avoid the use of the weedkiller. When it comes to weed control, chemical weedkillers can be expensive and don’t address poor grass health, allowing weeds to flourish. Instead of buying one, make your own weed killer if you must.

Lawn mower cutting green grass in residential area in late afternoon light

Mowing

The height and frequency of mowing are the two most important aspects of mowing. Lawns must be 2 inches high to be legal. All Colorado species prefer a 2.5-3 inch mowing height. Weeds, insects, and diseases thrive in lawns mowed to less than 2 inches high. Keep your lawn mowed at the same height. Late fall mowing is unnecessary.

Make sure to mow the lawn frequently enough to avoid losing more than 1/3 of the grass height. Mow the grass at 3 inches tall if your mowing height is 2 inches. This means you may need to mow every three to four days in the spring but only every seven to ten days in the winter. Buffalograss lawns require mowing every 10–20 days, depending on watering.

Temporarily raise the mower’s height to avoid cutting too much at once if the weather or other circumstances prevent regular mowing. Return to normal mowing height a few days later.

Less is more when it comes to grass clippings. It decomposes quickly and provides recycled nutrients and organic matter to the lawn. Mulching mowers are easy to use. These mowers also work well if mowed frequently enough.

Grass clippings do not build thatch. Vegetable and flower gardens should not be used if herbicides are applied to the lawn. Keep them out of the grass. Throughout the season, sharpen and adjust mowing equipment.

Sharpen rotary mower blades every fourth mow, especially fescue and ryegrass. A dull mower blade shreds and frays leaf blades rather than cutting them cleanly. That leaves a brown, ugly lawn. To avoid shredding and tearing grass leaves, ensure that your reel mower is adjusted correctly before each mowing.

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