When winter is over and it’s finally nice enough to venture out into your yard, the first thing you should do to ensure that your lawn will have a good head start for the growing season ahead is to clean up all the debris that built up over the last few months. A power blower will help you remove leaves, sticks and other materials.
The first cut in the spring and the last cut in the fall should be low. In the spring this removes any winter fungus and in the fall prevents fungus from getting established during the winter.
An underwatered lawn cannot thrive. Weeds that are more drought resistant can overtake dry grass. A thorough watering once or twice a week is sufficient in most climates.
During construction, soil will often be without grass, trees, shrubs, and other plants. Without this protective vegetation, storms can move the soil into your neighbor’s yard, clog storm drains and streams, and carry pesticides and nutrients into the water. To prevent erosion, cover these bare areas with mulch, such as straw, grass clippings, stones, wood chips, and other protective cover. On steeper slopes, you should cover the mulch with burlap netting for extra protection. Vegetated and mulched areas increase water filtration into the soil, reducing erosive runoff water.
A sharp mower blade is a key to a perfect cutting job. However, whenever you sharpen a blade yourself, always check it for balance. An out-of-balance blade can cause excess mower vibration and wear. One way to check is to tie a metal washer onto a string, thread the string through the center hole of the blade, then hold the blade up with the washer supporting it. The washer should be on center and turned perpendicular to the blade. The blade should stay level. If it doesn’t, grind it for balance on the back side of the blade. Always disconnect the lawnmower’s sparkplug wire before removing or replacing any blade.
All pesticides are toxic to some degree. This means they can pose some risk to you, to your children, pets, and to any wildlife that venture onto your lawn, especially if these chemicals are overused or carelessly applied. Pesticides can also kill earthworms and other beneficial organisms, disrupting the ecological balance of your lawn.
If the area you are building in has a steep slope, build terraces or steps made of logs or old railroad ties across the slope to divert water away from slopes and prevent soil erosion. Between the steps, spread a thick layer of wood chips to protect the soil. If the slope is gentle, seeding grass may be enough. Use splash guards on gutter outlets to help reduce erosion at the foundation of your home.
As a rule, you should fertilize at least three times a year; spring, summer and early fall.
Choose a grass type that thrives in your climate. The right type of grass, one that suits your needs and likes the local weather, will always give better results. Grasses vary in the type of climate they prefer, the amount of water and nutrients they need, their resistance to pests, their tolerance for shade, and the degree of wear they can withstand.
If you have bare patches in your lawn, prepare these areas for seed or sod. To care for your new and existing grass, be sure to water properly.