By The National Association of Landscape Professionals
Are you green with envy… of your neighbor's lawn? Rest assured, it didn't get that way overnight. Having a beautiful, lush and weed-free lawn takes time.
Beautiful lawns share several of the same characteristics. They are mowed correctly and fertilizer and weed control have been applied at the appropriate times. A picture-perfect lawn also receives the right amount of moisture and is aerated annually to relieve soil compaction and give it a breath of fresh air.
Photo courtesy of James Martin Associates, Chicago, IL
Since all lawns eventually tire out, your neighbor's envy-worthy lawn has likely been overseeded a few times – that is, had grass seed applied – and even had an unsightly bare spot or two, thanks to visits from hungry rodents and other pests, but those spots have long been patched.
Don't fret if your neighbor won't share secrets with you. Lawn care experts will gladly share their expertise and experience. They've been trained to identify and eradicate insects and diseases, install and maintain irrigation systems to ensure your lawn receives the moisture it needs, and test your soil to determine what nutrients may be lacking.
They know when to mow and how much of the grass blade should be removed at one time, and they understand weed control. The best way to control weeds is to have a healthy, lush lawn, but getting there may require assistance from the application of pre- and post-emergent controls.
Healthy lawns often need some "little extras" to give them a boost. Aeration not only relieves compaction, but it opens up the soil's pores so moisture and air easily reach plant roots. Overseeding directly after aeration protects seeds and gives them a better opportunity to germinate.
If your neighbor has a mature lawn, there have likely been some other and possibly more dramatic moves to keep it beautiful. Landscapes evolve, meaning trees and shrubs grow. Lawn grass may now be competing with tall trees and sprawling shrubs for nutrients, water, and even sunshine. This may require overseeding areas with a shade-tolerant grass, applying more fertilizer, or even reconfiguring the irrigation system to apply water in different areas.
The key to a beautiful lawn is keeping it in balance with nature. This requires:
Mowing at the right time and right height with sharp blades.
Applying a fertilizer that supplies nutrients your lawn may be lacking.
Keeping weeds, insects, and diseases in check.
Aerating to allow air and moisture to penetrate the soil.
Overseeding to give tired lawns a boost and fill in bare areas.
Making sure your lawn evolves with your landscape.
If you're dreaming about a beautiful lawn, but can't seem to make it a reality, it may be time to bring in a pro. Lawn care experts have been known to turn dreams into reality on a daily basis.
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