Have you ever wondered what it takes to get that lush, green, HGTV worthy lawn?
I hate to break it to you - there’s so much more to having the lawn of your dreams than mowing it, and maybe performing the occasional weed wack. For those of us who are lawn obsessed (aka, every single person on our team) we know the commitment all too well - so much so that we made a career out of it.
We know how hard work and the right weather, mixed with a little bit of patience and a great maintenance plan, come together to create that HGTV worthy lawn moment (and lawn-envy from the neighbors) for our clients.
While we’re not going to give away all of our secrets, we wanted to share a peek behind the curtain into this passion, obsession, strive for lawn perfection - whatever you’d like to call it!
A Full-Year Commitment
Living in New England, it’s easy to jump into Spring cleaning and lawn maintenance the first time we feel warm temperatures. Unfortunately, we can’t trust that first 60+ degree, sunny day to last. We always wait until we’re fairly certain for there to not be any more snow, and the ground is fully thawed. It’s best to wait until soil temperatures are around 55 degrees before doing any lawn renovations or fertilizations.
Dethatching your lawn: Once lawns are dry and thawed, we start dethatching. This removes the matted grass or thatch. Thatch is the layer of dead grass that lies between the surface and root system below.
Aeration & Overseeding: If your lawn is in dire need of attention: crabgrass, pesky spots from where your dog likes to go potty, and has thin or bare spots - then aerating and overseeding in the spring is a good idea. In the past, it has been best to wait until Fall to complete this service but luckily for you, we discovered a new starter fertilizer that has crabgrass control AND allows the seed to grow. Traditional crabgrass control does not allow seed to germinate. Aeration loosens compact soil and allows air and water to better penetrate the soil which in turn create a stronger root system. Overseeding is spreading a seed blend over your entire lawn with heavier applications on the bare spots
Fertilization: Fertilizing your lawn in the early spring months helps build your lawn's strength to withstand the heat of the summer and keep weeds at bay for the remainder of the season. Starting fertilization in the Spring is essential for making your lawn look great year round. Fertilizing increases growth and helps strengthen the roots of the grass to better absorb nutrients.
Summer is the time of year we enjoy our lawns the most. However, it can also be the trickiest time of year to keep your lawn healthy and thriving…bummer right? Grass is a lot like humans in that it needs 3 essential components to be healthy; water, sunlight, and proper nutrients from the soil. The two most important things we need to do in the summer are properly water our lawns and make sure we have a proper mowing schedule. If these are neglected then it becomes very difficult to maintain the lawn of your dreams.
Your lawn should receive between 1 and 1.5 inches of water each week during the summer months between natural rainfall and home watering systems.
When should you water your lawn? It is best to water your lawn in the early morning before the sun is too strong and the heat is too aggressive. If you choose to water your lawn in the heat of the day you run the risk of the water evaporating too quickly and the water not reaching the grassroots.
Mowing! In the heat of the summer we cut grass high leaving about 2.5-3.5 inches to prevent burning in the sun. Opposite of watering, we mow when your lawn and soil are dry to prevent damage and to avoid leaving behind heavy clumps of grass that are difficult to pick up.
Grubs! A lawn’s arch nemesis. It is absolutely essential to treat for grubs every year in order to keep them at bay. A tell tale sign that your lawn may be infested with grubs is if you are able to easily kick or grab clumps of grass out of the lawn. This is because grubs eat the root system which in turn, kills the lawn.
The responsibility for mowing isn’t quite over yet. It is important to maintain your mowing schedule through the fall as your grass will continue to grow until the first frost. It is also important to continue on with a regular watering schedule to protect your grass roots in the winter months ahead.
If your lawn did experience any burn spots from the summer heat, we will want to tend to them in the fall before the winter months to increase the chances of the grass coming back in the spring.
Believe it or not, even though the fall is known for plants and lawns going into dormancy, this is actually the best time of the year to perform an aeration and overseeding. The temperatures this time of year are perfect conditions for growing new grass
It is normal for your lawn to look a little sad in the early winter months before the heavy snowfall hits. Don’t panic and trust that the work put into the Spring, Summer, and Fall will set your lawn up for success to bounce back in the Spring.
To prepare for the winter months it is important to make sure we apply a winterizer to the lawn as well as clean up all of the leaves from the fall. If you leave the leaves it will not only make your spring cleanup more difficult, but you also run the risk of damage to your lawn.
Finally, when your grass officially stops growing you will want to cut the grass shorter in your final cut of the season.
The Science Behind Fertilizer
Let’s break it down. The five regular fertilizer applications we apply every 6 weeks throughout the season is meant to keep your grass growing at an optimum rate. The final application before winter is often referred to as “winterizer” containing nitrogen and potassium. While grass growth slows significantly in the winter, the root system still grows and the winterizer provides the nutrients needed to help avoid diseases like snow mold so your lawn can come back healthy and happy in the spring.