Fertilizing the lawn gives the grass much-needed nutrients to help keep it green and healthy. However, if weeds are present in the lawn, fertilizer will also help them thrive. It's important to get rid of existing weeds then fertilize so that you are not giving nutrients to invasive weeds and only for the grass you want to keep. If done regularly and repeated yearly, you can reduce the types of weeds until eventually you are left with a weed-free lawn. Even after a healthy and green lawn is achieved, it is important to stick to a fertilizer program to make sure the grass keeps getting the nutrients it needs to stay that way. Our standard fertilizer program is a weed and feed program where it keeps weeds in lawn at bay while giving the grass the nutrients it needs. Outside of our standard fertilizer program we also offer soil samples, disease control, fungus control, zoysia grass treatment, and bermuda grass treatment all of which are separate programs.
It is important to aerate your lawn to allow vital nutrients, water, sunlight, and oxygen to reach its root system. By doing this, you will promote a healthy and deep root system, resulting in a lush green lawn that will be better equipped to fight off unwanted weeds and grasses. The purpose of core aeration is to remove small cores of soil and thatch from your lawn. By removing these plugs, air, water, and nutrients can reach grass roots more effectively. Plants that are fed and watered efficiently will have healthier, deeper roots, which in turn will allow them to fight insects and diseases more effectively. The increased foot traffic during summer months (from pets, family, friends) can cause the soil in the lawn to compact due to the weight and pressure. Aeration can help loosen up compacted soil by removing soil cores and relieving tension in the lawn. If you don’t loosen the compacted soil, it won’t allow new growth and your lawn will begin to dry out.
Overseeding your lawn is also an important part of maintaining a thick, healthy lawn. Tall fescue grass typically lives up to 3-5 years. Overseeding helps replenish and restore any grass you may lose over time. Because it is impossible to know exactly when parts of your grass might die, it is recommended to overseed at least once a year to maintain a thick lawn. While a thick lawn may look great, it also helps against many things your lawn must contend with during the growing season, including weeds and other stresses. Having a worn-out lawn invites weeds to take over. A healthy, thick, and vibrant lawn is your best natural defense against weeds.
Grass Cutting Height
Getting grass cut at a proper height can also help prevent damage to your lawn. Grass, like other plants, goes through photosynthesis and requires a majority of its blade length to receive proper amounts of sunlight. When cut too low you reduce the amount of sunlight the grass can use to thrive as well as expose grass roots to too much sunlight causing the grass to potentially die out.
Having picture-perfect grass is no easy task, especially if dealing with an already neglected lawn. Below we have outlined all of the steps necessary to achieve the perfect lawn. Even with all these steps, it is important to keep in mind that there are many factors, unforeseeable conditions, and microenvironments that may exist in or around your lawn. It may take 1-3 years or longer to transform a bad lawn into a good lawn however if there's a break or pause in lawn maintenance it could reverse any progress faster than it took to improve it.
Grass like other living things needs sunlight to thrive and grow. Tall fescue grass needs 3-4 hours of unfiltered sunlight per day. Grass growing under or near the canopy of a tree may have trouble getting enough sunlight to survive. Grass in shadier areas may not get the sunlight it needs to grow a healthy root system and will be less resistant to diseases, fungus, and foot traffic. After rainstorms, it may take longer for shady areas to dry out putting those areas at an even greater risk of fungus and lawn diseases. To maintain a shady area of grass you must regularly reseed or overseed those areas or remove sources of daytime shade entirely. Maintaining shady areas of grass will take more work and time than maintaining grass that gets plenty of sun.
Although your lawn may need plenty of water, too much water can be a bad thing. Excess water and standing water can lead to root rot, mold growth, nutrient depletion, and weakened grass. Installing french drains, dry wells, catch basins, or grading the lawn away from buildings and low-lying areas can prevent these issues and avoid costly repairs to surrounding landscaping and structures.
Animals, Bugs & Other Pests
There are several types of pests and animals found in Virginia that can negatively impact a green, healthy lawn. One of the most common pests is the white grub, which is the larvae of several different species of beetles. White grubs feed on the roots of grass, causing significant damage and even death to the affected areas of the lawn. Another common pest is the chinch bug, which feeds on grass blades and injects a toxin that causes yellowing and browning of the lawn. Other insect pests in Virginia include ants, armyworms, cutworms, and sod webworms, which all feed on grass blades and can cause significant damage to a lawn if left untreated. In addition to insects, animals such as moles and voles can also cause damage to a lawn by burrowing underground and disrupting the roots of the grass. Deer, rabbits, and groundhogs are also common pests that can feed on grass and cause damage. To prevent damage from pests and animals, it's important to regularly inspect your lawn and address any issues promptly. This may include implementing pest control measures or installing barriers to keep animals away from your lawn.
Foot Traffic & Household Objects
Foot traffic and objects on a lawn can cause damage, particularly in high-traffic areas like gates and play areas. Soil compaction from foot traffic can make it difficult for grassroots to access water and nutrients, leading to bare spots, thinning grass, and soil erosion. Heavy objects like trampolines or grills can also damage the grass beneath them, causing compaction and preventing the grass beneath from receiving enough sunlight. To prevent damage install stepping stones or walkways in high-traffic areas and place heavy or larger objects on non-grassy areas like paved or mulched spaces.
Proper Watering Amount
Grass like all living things needs plenty of water to survive. It is recommended to water your lawn with 1 inch of water 2-3 times a week. It might seem like not a lot of water but to water a 10,000 square foot yard at 1" would require more than 6,000 gallons 2-3 times a week (the average flow rate of a garden house can be anywhere from 5-17 gallons per minute). The amount of water your lawn needs also depends on seasonal conditions, for example, you may need to water your lawn less in the spring when rain is more frequent and more during hot dry summer months. The Average 10,000 square foot lawn would need 576,000 gallons of water for the growing season (approximately 32 weeks).
Having an irrigation system for your lawn offers numerous benefits that promote a lush green lawn. One of the primary benefits is that it provides consistent and uniform water distribution to your lawn ensuring that each area receives appropriate amounts of water. This helps to prevent dry patches and over-watering, which can cause root damage and disease. Additionally, automated irrigation systems save time and effort by eliminating the need for manual watering. Irrigation systems take the guesswork out of keeping your lawn hydrated and can be customized to your lawn's specific needs, taking into account soil type, plant types, water pressure, weather patterns, and soil moisture. The system accomplishes this using rain gauges located above ground and moisture meters below ground. Irrigation is the foundation for a healthy and hydrated lawn.
Proper Watering Times
While watering can be good for your lawn watering at the wrong times can be hurtful to it. The best time of day to water is early morning before 10 AM. During the early mornings, the temperature is a little cooler and the water has more time to soak into the lawn before evaporating, and less chance of the sun causing damage to wet grass blades. Watering in the evening or at night can lead to water staying on the lawn for most of the night creating a perfect environment for fungal diseases and root rot. The later into the evening you water the greater the chances are that your lawn may develop a turf disease.
Dangers Of Insufficient Watering
When the lawn can't get the water it needs, the grass goes into dormancy which is a natural method of preserving itself against freezing conditions in winter and against dry conditions in the Summer. In our area, most of the grass is Tall Fescue which is considered a cool-season grass meaning it thrives in lower temperatures. Drought symptoms can show up quickly In the Virginia Summer months if grass goes without water for too long causing the grass to go dormant. With drought-induced dormancy, grass becomes dry, and brown, making it appear dead. After 2-3 weeks of drought-induced dormancy with no water, the affected area may start to die and for that reason, it's important to spot it early before the damage becomes irreversible. When grass goes dormant for winter it will typically come back when the weather gets warmer.