The grass doesn’t have to be greener on the other side. By choosing the right seed and following lawn care practices such as proper watering, mowing, and fertilizing, you can have a deep green, lush lawn enviable by neighbors and passers-by.
To help with your endeavor, we’ve put together the best lawn care steps to get the green lawn you dream of!
Plant the best grass type for your climate and yard
The best way to get a greener, lush lawn is to plant grass appropriate for your regional climate and your family’s activities. If you live in the northern part of the US, opt for cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass or perennial ryegrass; if you’re in the southern US, look at warm-season types like St. Augustine and Zoysiagrass.
To choose the best species, look at how much sun your yard receives, the foot traffic it needs to withstand, and how often you want to mow or fertilize.
Water deeply, yet infrequently
Instead of watering your grass a little bit daily, give your yard a thorough soaking a couple of times a week. Most lawns need about one inch of water weekly, and it’s best to break this into two or three waterings to encourage the root system to grow deeper in the soil.
Avoid watering with hot water if you’re using a hose-end sprinkler. It can overheat the roots or kill the grass entirely if it’s too hot. After each use, empty the hose or flush the hot water out before you start watering with it.
Water early in the morning
It’s best to water your lawn in the morning just before or right after the sun comes up. During this time of day, little water is lost to evaporation, but moisture doesn’t sit on the blades long since the sun is coming up. When water sits on the grass, it opens the door for fungal diseases, which can discolor patches of your lawn and even kill it.
Mow your grass with sharp blades
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when cutting their grass is using worn, dull mower blades. This is one of the worst things you can do! It’s like shaving with a dull razor.
When the mower blades are dull or gauged, they tear the tops off the grass blades rather than making a nice, clean cut. When torn, that ragged edge usually turns brown with a bit of white, where the grass dies. So, keep your blades sharp for greener grass.
Fertilize your grass regularly
Ensuring your grass has adequate nitrogen is one of the best ways to get a green lawn. The exact fertilizer schedule depends on your lawn type (cool-season or warm-season grass) and your soil fertility.
Generally, the most crucial time to fertilize cool-season grasses is in the fall to recover from the summer heat, and warm-season grasses in the spring as they begin to green up for the season.
For best results, use a product containing slow-release nutrients and test your soil every year or two to check the soil’s nitrogen concentration.
Add iron to your fertilizer
Adding extra iron to your fertilizer is another effective way to make grass greener. Especially if you’ve been doing all of the other tasks on this list and you’re just not seeing the desired results.
Once temperatures get above 60 °F in the spring, mix a granular iron supplement into your slow-release lawn fertilizer and apply it with a broadcast fertilizer at the recommended rate. Continue to use it through the growing season, following the iron dosing instructions so you don’t add too much and turn your lawn gray.
Pull weeds and treat pests promptly
Lawn weeds and insect pests easily contribute to browning and yellowing grass. Weeds compete with the turf for water and nutrients; lawn pests can eat parts of the grass, weakening it considerably.
Constantly scout for both problems and eliminate them immediately to keep your grass greener and healthy.
Aerate to break up soil compaction
Foot traffic across your lawn leads to soil compaction that negatively impacts grass growth. Core aerate routinely to break up that compaction and improve lawn health.
Core aerating removes cylindrical soil plugs from the ground, allowing nutrients and water to reach where the roots are growing. Sandy soils typically don’t need aerating as they rarely compact; silty or loamy soils can benefit from aeration every one to three years, depending on the rate of soil compaction; clay soils can be aerated yearly, if not during the spring and fall if compaction happens quickly.
Dethatch to get rid of organic buildup
Over time, dead and decomposing pieces of grass build up on the soil surface, impeding water and nutrients from moving down into the soil. This thatch layer is a leading cause of brown spots on your lawn.
To keep water and nutrients moving to the roots, dethatch your lawn using a power rake when the thatch layer is thicker than one-half inch.
Reseed bare or thin spots
If your lawn is bare in places, you’ll see the soil peeking through the green, keeping it from looking like a beautiful shade of emerald. So, if your lawn is thin in spots, overseed it to bump up the green color and keep the lawn looking lush and thick.
Cool-season grasses are best reseeded or overseed in the fall; late spring is best for seeding warm-season lawns.
Mulch fallen leaves before winter
You don’t need to rake all the leaves up in the fall, but you don’t want to leave a thick layer of debris. A thick layer of leaves will inhibit photosynthesis and encourage insects, rodents, and diseases which can harm the lawn. Instead, use your mulching mower to chop leaves into tiny pieces before the snow blankets the ground.
The small pieces maintain good airflow and allow for photosynthesis to occur.