Tips and tools for caring for your lawn

Green spaces are beneficial to human health. More specifically, they can help reduce depression and high blood pressure while removing pollutants from the air. And beyond that, a well-kept and healthy lawn increases your home’s curb appeal and value.

If you are fortunate enough to have a lawn, it is vital to learn how to take care of it. While this is not hard to do, many people neglect this task because they do not know where to begin or what needs to be done. This article will walk you through the lawn care tips and tools you need to keep your yard green and thriving.

How to care for your lawn

Your lawn is a living thing. Just like you, it needs food, water and air to grow. You also want to do your best to keep it from getting sick. Doing these nine things will ensure your lawn is lush and green.

Learn about grass

You wouldn’t expect to find an alligator living in northern Maine. The climate and conditions are not right for the animal to survive. Likewise, there are different types of grass seeds for different regions and growing conditions.

To have the best lawn, you need to choose the right grass for your region. Cool-season grasses are best for roughly the northern third of the country. Transitional grasses are best for roughly the middle third of the country. Warm-season grasses are best for roughly the southern third of the country.

Beyond that, you must also consider the amount of sun or shade, the availability of water and the amount of foot traffic your lawn will receive. Luckily, you can find this information on the packaging, making it easy to choose the best grass seed for your needs.

Test your soil

When you go swimming, you want the water balanced: not too acidic, not too alkaline and safe for swimming. To ensure this is the case, you test the water and adjust as needed. It is crucial to have the same concerns for your lawn. Soil that is too acidic, too alkaline or doesn’t have enough nutrients will not support healthy growth. Early in the spring or late in the fall, use a soil test kit to make sure your soil has everything your grass needs to thrive. 

Dethatch

Thatch is the buildup of organic materials on top of your soil. This is important because it helps your soil maintain moisture, and it breaks down to provide nutrients for your lawn. However, once it thickens to over .5 inches, it can start forming a barrier that keeps your grass from receiving nutrients, food and air. Dethatching is the process of removing thatch to allow your lawn to thrive again. Because dethatching damages the roots of your grass, you should only do it during peak growing season.

Aerate

When your soil gets compacted from foot traffic or heavy machinery, it loses vital air pockets that allow water and nutrients to reach the root system of your lawn. When this happens, you may notice puddles on your property along with patches of thin or brown grass. Aeration is simply poking holes in your soil or removing plugs so water and nutrients can nourish your grass.

Overseed

If you have bare patches or your lawn looks thin, this can be fixed by overseeding. To do this, simply sprinkle some grass seed directly on your lawn. Just make sure it is the best grass seed for your climate and conditions. You will have the best results if you overseed during the peak growing season.

Water

Most lawns need an inch or an inch-and-a-half of water each week. If Mother Nature isn’t providing enough water, you may have to water your lawn. Be careful not to overdo it. The soil should be moist, not saturated.

Fertilize

Although you eat right, you still might not have all the nutrition your body requires to stay healthy. It’s hard to get that perfect balance. The same thing can happen with your lawn. Even though you do everything right, the environment might not have enough natural nutrients for your lawn to thrive. Adding fertilizer is like giving your lawn vitamins. It could be the secret ingredient that allows your grass to thrive.

Learn how to mow the right way

Proper lawn mowing encourages growth and helps your grass fight disease. Once your grass grows to about 3.75 inches tall, you should trim the top 1.25 inches. Your lawn mower blade needs to be sharp, so it cuts the grass and doesn’t tear it. Following these two rules when mowing will help your lawn grow thick and strong all season long.

Manage weeds, insects and disease

The best defense against weeds, insects and disease is to keep your lawn healthy. Do not over-water it, neglect mowing it or use a dull blade when cutting. However, sometimes, that isn’t enough. If you need to turn to an herbicide or insecticide, read the label thoroughly to understand the proper application procedures and the risks involved.

Tools needed for lawn care

Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil Test Kit

Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil Test Kit

The best way to learn about your soil composition is to send it to a lab for a detailed report. The Whitetail Institute’s kit has everything you need to collect and mail a sample. Results and recommendations are returned within one week.

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Worx Corded Electric Dethatcher

Worx Corded Electric Dethatcher

Dethatching your lawn by hand can be hard work. This corded model gives you the power to complete the task with minimal effort. It has an adjustable depth setting and a collection bag that helps keep your lawn neat while working.

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Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes

Ohuhu Lawn Aerator Shoes

These innovative attachments add spikes to the bottom of your footwear, so all you have to do is walk across your lawn to aerate it. The spike plate is secured by sturdy hook-and-loop fasteners.

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Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed (Sun & Shade Mix)

If you live in the northern half of the country, this grass seed is for you. It is formulated to stay green in either sun or shade and aggressively spreads to fill in bare spots. The WaterSmart coating keeps the seed moist to jumpstart growth and protect against diseases.

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Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Bermudagrass

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed (Bermudagrass)

This grass is resilient, even in high-traffic areas that receive little water and scorching heat. It is best for the southern half of the country and features Scotts’ WaterSmart coating to provide the seeds with additional water and nutrients.

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Orbit Three-Arm Sprinkler with Wheeled Base

Orbit Three-Arm Sprinkler with Wheeled Base

A sprinkler lets you water your lawn without saturating it. This metal model from Orbit has three arms that rotate to ensure coverage of up to 24 feet in all directions. It is best for medium-sized lawns.

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Briggs and Stratton Premium Heavy-Duty Rubber Garden Hose

Briggs and Stratton Premium Heavy-Duty Rubber Garden Hose

To connect your sprinkler to your outdoor faucet, you need a durable hose. This heavy-duty rubber model from Briggs and Stratton is 25 feet long and has crush-proof, nickel-plated brass couplings for durability.

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Greenworks 40V 20-Inch Cordless 2-In-1 Push Lawn Mower

Greenworks 40V 20-Inch Cordless (2-In-1) Push Lawn Mower

Greenworks’ battery-powered lawn mower has a 20-inch cutting deck to offer a balance of cutting capacity and maneuverability. The smart cut technology adjusts power depending on the thickness of the grass, while the dual blades excel in mulching capabilities.

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Roundup Max Control 365 Ready-to-Use Comfort Wand Sprayer

Roundup Max Control 365 Ready-to-Use Comfort Wand Sprayer

This weed control is rainproof in 30 minutes and can protect your driveways, sidewalks and patio for up to a year. It kills the weed down to the root and features a built-in spraying wand for convenience.

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Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader

Scotts Turf Builder Classic Drop Spreader

Scotts’ large-capacity seed and fertilizer spreader holds enough lawn product to cover up to 10,000 square feet. It features a heavy-duty frame and has a 22-inch spread pattern for maximum coverage.

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