Most homeowners know the value in installing new windows to lower power bills or in keeping your home protected during the winter by properly winterizing the exterior and interior. But have you thought about your yard lately?
Chances are, you probably haven’t. Like most people, you have bigger concerns — things like paying your mortgage on time, playing tickle monster with your kids, and trying to figure out who’s going to win this season of “Dancing with the Stars” all come to mind. But we here at Movoto feel it’s our duty to share with you just how important your lawn is, so you can then make it a priority along with all the other vital aspects of your life.
The reasons that lawn maintenance is important are really pretty simple, and here they are:
- If you want to sell your home, then it’s imperative that your lawn be in tip-top condition. One of the first things prospective buyers are going to see is your yard; you want to make a good first impression — which means that a brown, patchy, or overgrown lawn just isn’t going to cut it.
- If you’re planning on staying in your home, a photo-ready lawn is still just as important. A well-manicured lawn will up your home and property values, and who doesn’t want their home’s value to be the highest it can be?
With all that said, here now are our 9 tips for proper lawn maintenance, courtesy on an article from This Old House.
Test Your Soil. You can either do this yourself with a home kit, or have a cooperative extension service come in and do it for about $20. Doing soil testing is important, as it will let you know exactly what your soil’s pH is and what nutrients are available and in what quantities. This will help you get the materials your lawn requires.
Fertilize Your Lawn. The results of your soil test and the type of grass making up your lawn will determine what kind of fertilizer you buy. We recommend you choose a a slow-release, organic fertilizer; start from the outside edges; and work your way in. Throughout the middle, be sure to overlap each pass by a few inches.
Maintain a Proper Calcium Level. If your lawn lacks calcium, you’re asking for weeds — they thrive in a calcium-deprived lawn. Put high-calcium lime on your lawn if your calcium-to-magnesium ratio is less than 7 to 1. That way, weeds will be stripped of food.
Add Plenty of Compost. Either make compost yourself or buy it from a lawn-and-garden center. Don’t use compost that’s still steaming, as that means it’s not done decomposing. Once you’ve got your ideal compost, spread a half-inch layer over your entire yard and use a rake to work it into the surface.
Kill Crabgrass Before it Grows. When soil temperatures hit about 56 degrees Fahrenheit (the germinating temperature for crabgrass) in the springtime for several days in a row, it’s time to break out either the pre-emergent herbicide or natural corn gluten and apply it to the yard. No need to apply anything to the significantly shaded portions, though — crabgrass doesn’t like shade.
Pull Up Weeds. This seems like a simple one, but it’s very important. Do this after a steady rain and when the weeds are still small — they should be easy to remove.
Maintain Your Lawn Mower. Keep the blade(s) on your mower sharp so they cut your grass instead of tearing it, which may allow disease to set in. Using a vise to hold the blade steady, take a Dremel blade sharpener or a 10-inch bastard mill file and run it in long, smooth strokes along the edge. (Refer to your manufacturer’s guide so you do it at the proper angle.) This should be done every 8 to 12 hours of mower operation, particularly when grass is growing a lot.
Let Grass Grow Some. Your grass needs to be kept at a length of around 3 to 3 1/2 inches during the growing season (unless you have Bermuda or seashore paspalum grass, which can be kept at 3/4 to 1 inch). Doing this allows the soil to stay moist and for weed seeds to stay in the dark, keeping them from growing. Keep your grass at this length until fall, then you can keep it super-short.
Lay Down Sod. This tip is for those who are beginning from nothing. First, start in April since it’s cooler and the grass will have more time to take root. Second, ensure that your seller is giving you grass that best suits the conditions of your yard (sun, shade, or combo). Thrid, only use fresh sod and not the rolls that have obviously been out a long time. And fourth, be prepared to water the sod a lot; your lawn-and-garden experts can let you know what sort of watering schedule you should be keeping.
And that’s it! Take advantage of all these helpful tips, and your lawn should be looking as green as a golf course in no time!
Stephanie Huskey is the resident real estate blogger for Movoto and truly believes that sod works in mysterious ways. (Rim shot!) Interested in getting her advice on your blog? She’s currently seeking guest blogging opportunities so she can share her knowledge with new communities! You can find her over here at Elance.com.