My lawn is generally OK, but never great. What am I not doing or doing wrong?

by | Mar 29, 2022 | Lawn Care

Lawn care isn’t quite as simple as it seems sometimes. While it may be easy to keep it alive and thwart off most issues, getting from that good to great status takes quite a bit of work. To start, this article is not going to provide any magic sauce or lazy solution to fix the problem. It won’t be a 30 minute or 2-week fix. It will provide many little insights of things to do, things not to do, products, and timing ideas that if applied will help. Taking care of a lawn is similar to taking care of a human body, there are lots of things we all know we should do, but don’t and things we shouldn’t do but do and if we can change just some of them, results show.

The following list of ideas will all help increase the appeal, overall health and strength, and longevity of your lawn. If you don’t do one, it won’t be the end of the world. The more you do, the better your lawn will be.

Lawn Aeration

Your lawn won’t die if you don’t aerate it. Aerating it will help the roots to spread and go deeper and help water and nutrients better penetrate into the root zone. Premier golf courses will aerate multiple times per year.

Power Raking or Dethatching

Dethatching aka power raking, is often neglected on residential lawns. If you have a thick thatch layer this can make a huge difference, and mostly due to bugs. While thatch does inhibit water, nutrient, and sunlight penetration, this is minimal compared to having a thick breeding ground for bugs. Get rid of the bug home and bed, and you’ll see a lot less bugs. More information available on our website about lawn aeration and power raking.

Soil Amendments

This idea is becoming more and more common each year. Products such as humates (humic acid), live earth, soil conditioners, wetting agents, sea weed extract, etc. Do they help? A little. In our testing we haven’t seen any great results, but they have appeared to aid the other factors. Nutrients do a little more. Water is retained a little better. Bugs and fungi are prevented a little more. Some can be pretty expensive, so we don’t recommend spending too much time or effort in this area.

The BIG 3:

More than all the rest, these are the best “bang for buck”. If you focus your time and efforts on these first, you will see the biggest gains and you can work on the other little lawn care details later.

Fertilizing
98% of all lawns in the United States are under fertilized. Most box store fertilizers are 70%+ sand. Generic fertilizer labels make sure the producer is covered from a liability standpoint. You could probably fertilize every other week for the entire year and see nothing but benefits. Soil tests are the most accurate way to see what your soil lacks so you can build it up.

Watering
The government seems to be the new expert on watering; because they do so many other things well or efficiently, right? This is one that takes some time to figure out and has to be monitored ALWAYS. There is no set table of 3x/week for 15 minutes! As much as someone wants to tell you it is that easy, it just isn’t. Only 20% of lawns in America are watered close to appropriately. About 50% are under watered and 30% over watered. You have to know what is needed! You have to observe, measure, and adjust. We won’t cover the details in this blog but you can see them here.

Disease Control
Water seems to always get the blame. Often, we see dry lawns that are being over watered. How can that be? Because bugs restrict the grass’s ability to uptake water. The grass then looks dry and so the watering gets turned up. This increases the bug population and further dries out the grass. It’s a downward spiral. From there we often see the increased watering lead to fungus problems as well. Insecticide is cheap. If your lawn is less than 10,000 square feet you can pay less than $30 a year and do 3 applications. $30 here is worth way more than $30 worth of water, or aeration, or power raking, or even fertilizer. If you don’t limit bugs, you will need to come to terms with a mediocre lawn. Fungicide is more expense, so it probably isn’t worth prevention, but it is worth every penny of correction if you do see a fungus problem beginning.

If you want to have this taken care of for you, we’d love to give you a quote for our full-service landscape maintenance package that bundles all of these items along with the standard care items such as mowing and edging. Click here for a free quote.

Lawn care isn’t quite as simple as it seems sometimes. While it may be easy to keep it alive and thwart off most issues, getting from that good to great status takes quite a bit of work. To start, this article is not going to provide any magic sauce or lazy solution to fix the problem. It won’t be a 30 minute or 2-week fix. It will provide many little insights of things to do, things not to do, products, and timing ideas that if applied will help. Taking care of a lawn is similar to taking care of a human body, there are lots of things we all know we should do, but don’t and things we shouldn’t do but do and if we can change just some of them, results show.

The following list of ideas will all help increase the appeal, overall health and strength, and longevity of your lawn. If you don’t do one, it won’t be the end of the world. The more you do, the better your lawn will be.

Lawn Aeration

Your lawn won’t die if you don’t aerate it. Aerating it will help the roots to spread and go deeper and help water and nutrients better penetrate into the root zone. Premier golf courses will aerate multiple times per year.

Power Raking or Dethatching

Dethatching aka power raking, is often neglected on residential lawns. If you have a thick thatch layer this can make a huge difference, and mostly due to bugs. While thatch does inhibit water, nutrient, and sunlight penetration, this is minimal compared to having a thick breeding ground for bugs. Get rid of the bug home and bed, and you’ll see a lot less bugs. More information available on our website about lawn aeration and power raking.

Soil Amendments

This idea is becoming more and more common each year. Products such as humates (humic acid), live earth, soil conditioners, wetting agents, sea weed extract, etc. Do they help? A little. In our testing we haven’t seen any great results, but they have appeared to aid the other factors. Nutrients do a little more. Water is retained a little better. Bugs and fungi are prevented a little more. Some can be pretty expensive, so we don’t recommend spending too much time or effort in this area.

The BIG 3:

More than all the rest, these are the best “bang for buck”. If you focus your time and efforts on these first, you will see the biggest gains and you can work on the other little lawn care details later.

Fertilizing

98% of all lawns in the United States are under fertilized. Most box store fertilizers are 70%+ sand. Generic fertilizer labels make sure the producer is covered from a liability standpoint. You could probably fertilize every other week for the entire year and see nothing but benefits. Soil tests are the most accurate way to see what your soil lacks so you can build it up.

Watering

The government seems to be the new expert on watering; because they do so many other things well or efficiently, right? This is one that takes some time to figure out and has to be monitored ALWAYS. There is no set table of 3x/week for 15 minutes! As much as someone wants to tell you it is that easy, it just isn’t. Only 20% of lawns in America are watered close to appropriately. About 50% are under watered and 30% over watered. You have to know what is needed! You have to observe, measure, and adjust. We won’t cover the details in this blog but you can see them here

Disease Control

Water seems to always get the blame. Often, we see dry lawns that are being over watered. How can that be? Because bugs restrict the grass’s ability to uptake water. The grass then looks dry and so the watering gets turned up. This increases the bug population and further dries out the grass. It’s a downward spiral. From there we often see the increased watering lead to fungus problems as well. Insecticide is cheap. If your lawn is less than 10,000 square feet you can pay less than $30 a year and do 3 applications. $30 here is worth way more than $30 worth of water, or aeration, or power raking, or even fertilizer. If you don’t limit bugs, you will need to come to terms with a mediocre lawn. Fungicide is more expense, so it probably isn’t worth prevention, but it is worth every penny of correction if you do see a fungus problem beginning.

If you want to have this taken care of for you, we’d love to give you a quote for our full-service landscape maintenance package that bundles all of these items along with the standard care items such as mowing and edging. Click here for a free quote.