Homeowners always want to know how to grow grass that’s green and thick. This blog post will give you advice on how to keep your lawn beautiful and healthy.
Why We Have Lawns
Our lawns have become a major player in our ecosystem. Lawns cover about 50 million acres in the United States alone (a 2003 estimate). That means what you do to have a beautiful and healthy lawn is multiplied thousands of times over, every day, in our country. So it’s important that you do things right when you’re working to grow grass that’s green and thick.
Did You Know?
- Turf grass reduces carbon dioxide emissions, mitigating the heat island effect commonly found in our urban environments.
- Lawns reduce energy consumption through its cooling effects.
- Lawns also help to reduce global warming.
- Grass reduces soil erosion by holding the earth in place during heavy flooding.
- Just 2,500 square feet of lawn not only absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, but it also releases oxygen.
What the experts say is true: grass and lawns are an important part of the environment. Grass not only smells good when you mow it, but also feels good to walk on. Your kids — and your pets — play on your lawn. A beautiful and healthy lawn is a sign of prosperity.
The only thing all that lovely lawn of green grass asks is a little care, a little patience and to be fed and groomed occasionally.
How to grow grass that’s green and thick? Professional landscapers and lawn care workers use these techniques to keep lawns looking lush.
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Your grass consists of thousands and thousands of tiny plants that group together closely to form patches of lawn. A thick, green lawn needs food to grow and thrive. We know we need to fertilize our garden and house plants, but often, the lawn is overlooked. Fertilizer is any material supplying one or more essential plant nutrients. Most turf grass fertilizers include nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, but they may also include other essential mineral elements for green grass growth.
Which Fertilizer to Use
What type of fertilizer should you use to grow grass that’s green and thick? The answer depends on what your lawn needs. There are two basic types: complete and balanced.
Complete fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, but they may also include other essential minerals elements for turf grass growth. If a fertilizer contains fewer than these three elements, it is called an incomplete fertilizer.
Balanced fertilizers provide nutrients in a predetermined ratio that best meets your grass’s requirements for those elements. Turf grasses require nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the approximate ratio of 3-1-2, 4-1-2, or 8-1-3. Remember that the right balanced fertilizer ratio will differ with grass type, and is also influenced by soil levels of certain elements.
You may want to get a slow-release fertilizer that feeds your lawn slowly over a period of time. These fertilizers are commercially produced and available at most home improvement stores, as well as Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill’s garden center. Because these lawn fertilizers release their nutrients over time, rather than all at once, you’re essentially stretching out the feeding. As nutrients are released, the root system of your grass fills in any bare patches.
Before buying any lawn fertilizers, read the instructions on the bag carefully or ask someone at the store for advice. A particular product may not be suitable for your type of grass.
How to Fertilize Your Lawn
Fertilizers do more than make your lawn green and thick. Fertilizer helps grass seed germinate quicker and and put down roots faster. After the grass has been established, fertilizer will make it thicker and healthier. Generally speaking, most lawns will need four applications of fertilizer per year.
- Starting early in the spring, about when the forsythia blooms in Lancaster County. Spring fertilizing gets the grass off to a fast start giving you that rich green color everyone wants.
- Spread fertilizing treatments out about 60 days apart.
- Continue fertilizing your lawn through the growing season until fall.
- Apply fertilizer with a spreader. Do not to fill the the spreader while it is parked on the lawn. You may accidentally load it too much and burn your lawn. Instead, fill the spreader somewhere else, such as your driveway or sidewalk, then wheel the spreader onto the lawn.
- Avoid using too much fertilizer. Too much fertilizer will cause excess growth, lead to fungus growth and weaken the grass. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot more growing in your lawn than just grass. Controlling weeds in a new or existing lawn is vital to the keep grass green and thick.
Some weeds are invasive and fast growing. Their growth crowds out health grass, depriving it of food and water. Other weeds are extremely noxious and cause problems for humans if they get close them. Dandelions, crabgrass and broadleaf plantains are common weeds in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Weeds are also a sign that your lawn isn’t as healthy as it should be. When Turf grass is maintained properly, weeds cannot grow.
The best way to control weeds is to prevent them from growing at all. Pre-emergent products ideally should be applied in the early spring. This creates a layer that prevents any weed seeds from germinating. This protective layer will maintain its defensive qualities throughout the prime germinating period. Of course, there’s no guarantee that additional seeds won’t be carried in by winds, birds or any number of other methods.
Home improvement stores carry a variety of weed killers for lawns.
- Thoroughly read, understand and follow all the instructions on herbicide labels.
- Avoid applying herbicides on windy days, because the product could get blown onto plants you do not want to kill.
- Avoid applying the weed killer during the hottest hours of the day (over 85° F).
- If it rains, wait 24 hours before application.
- Don’t mow for a few days before and after application.
- Consider spot treating weeds as the summer progresses, rather than broadcasting weed killer over the entire area.
- Use caution on newly seeded areas.
- Wait until after four mowings before treating newly seeded lawns.
- Wait 30 days before seeding areas treated with broadleaf herbicides.
- Again, always read the labels and follow the instructions exactly.
We hope you feel confident about how to grow grass that’s green and thick.
If you would prefer to let someone else do the work, we have an annual Turf Care program that’s very effective. Call us at (717) 951-5950 for a free estimate.