You know an awesome lawn when you see it – a dark greek that it’s almost blue, defined stripes in the lawn, and it stands out among the entire neighborhood. If you want to have a great lawn then you need to know exactly what to do at the right time.
No matter what your experience level, you, too, can have a beautiful lawn. Arm yourself with the tips and resources outlined in this post, and download our free guides and schedules to get yourself an awesome lawn next year!
1) Measure your lawn
The first step to a beautiful lawn is basic but very important – measure your total square footage. This will dictate the amount of lawn care products you need for your grass – fertilizer, herbicides, etc. – as well as the right mower for your yard.
The overall area of your yard will also influence your irrigation needs. Smaller yards can be watered using a hose and a sprinkler, while larger areas may need in-ground irrigation with rotor sprinklers.
2) Keep a lawn care schedule and journal
We have a free cool-season lawn care guide for you to make a copy of, or download and edit. Having an idea of what to put down and when to apply is important. But equally as important is making the following notes:
- What you applied?
- How much was applied?
- When was it applied?
- What were the results (if any)?
A few things that I keep on my lawn care guide before the season starts (in March) as a reminder are:
- Submit a soil test in the early spring
- Clean, sharpen, and balanced mower blades – keep a backup blade on hand
- Maintain lawn care equipment (change the oil, spark plug, and air filter)
3) Mow Tall & Mow Frequently
There are no two ways around it, mowing your lawn frequently (and properly) encourages your grass to grow thick. For healthier grass, aim for a minimum of once a week. Here are a few other lawn moring tips to be mindful of each time:
- Mulch and return your grass clippings. Make sure they’re properly mulched – tall grass blades returned to the lawn will just look like clumps of brown dead grass on your lawn
- Always use a sharp blade. A dull blade
- Follow the 1/3 grass cutting rule and never mow more than one-third of the grass blade off in a single mowing.
- Read all about our mowing tips in our post, how often should you mow your lawn
4) Fertilize regularly
Cool-season grasses grow and thrive during the spring and fall months. During these times, especially, apply a balanced fertilizer. The general rule of thumb is to apply between 3-4 pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. throughout the entire growing season. This means you’ll target anywhere between 0.5 – 1.0 pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. per application.
You can fertilize in the summer months, but considering using organic slow-release nitrogen (i.e. Milorganite) versus a synthetic blend (i.e. Scott’s Turf Builder).
Feeding your lawn a balanced nitrogen fertilizer will help it develop better root growth and result in a much thicker lawn – and a thicker lawn will crowd out new weeds. For help calculating the amount of nitrogen in your fertilizer bag, use our free Nitrogen Calculator.
Aside from mowing, the next best advice for a healthier lawn is by incorporating organics such as humic acid, sea kelp, and micronutrients. These beneficial ingredients are key to healthy growth and a dark green, lush lawn. We like Kelp4Less and N-Ext biostimulants such as RGS and MicroGreene.
I won the July 2019 Jonathan Green lawn of the month and attribute the addition of humic acid, fulvic acid, amino acids, sea kelp, molasses powder, and iron to my lawn every month. Adding nutrients tons of benefits from thickening and strengthening the grass blades, and making the grass greener, to chelating the
5) Water & Irrigate Properly
Water the grass deeply but infrequently. This means watering around 1/2inch of water 2-3 times per week – aiming for one inch of water (including rainfall) per week, and around 1.5 inches in the hotter summer months.
Water deeply in the early morning before 10:00 a.m. and avoid watering overnight. Refer to our post, the best time to water grass.
6) Rotate fungicides
Use lawn fungicides to help prevent lawn diseases. Use liquids over granular for best results. Be sure to rotate each type of lawn fungicide every other application. For example, you do not want to apply Propiconazole 14.3 more than two consecutive times – rotate with another type like Artavia 2SC (azoxystrobin) to prevent resistance. This also goes for warm-season grasses.
7) Aerate and overseed
This is vital to a healthy lawn. Whether you’re overseeding established lawns or newly renovated lawns, use a premium grass seed blend like Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra. It contains a variety of grass seeds including Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Perennial Ryegrass. A blend of lawn grasses will help ward off diseases and insect damage.
A blend of grass seed each has its own benefits: A rhizomatic grass type like Kentucky Bluegrass will self-repair and begin to fill in bare patches. Turf Type Tall Fescue is drought tolerant. Ryegrass handles heavier foot traffic very well.
Core aeration helps relieve soil compaction and allows more oxygen, water, and nutrients to the roots. Use a gas-powered aerator that pulls cores of soil, and not tines that poke holes. Do this every year in the late summer and early fall to help repair lawn damage from the summer months, and to continue to build a healthier, thicker lawn. Aerate before applying grass seed and a starter fertilizer. Be sure to check out our post in watering grass seed and core aeration and overseeding.
8) Get ahead of grassy and broadleaf weeds
Do not skip this step: Get your pre emergent herbicide down in the early spring to prevent early weeds like crabgrass. Any weed seeds that were in the soil over-winter will begin to germinate as the soil temperatures get warmer. While weed seeds will germinate, a pre-emergent will prevent the weeds from emerging through the top of the soil and surviving.
For best results, apply a pre-emergent in the early spring before soil conditions become ideal – this is generally when soil temperatures approach 55 degrees – and a second-round in the late spring/early summer.
For more weeds that do appear – particularly in bare patches and in hotter areas of the lawn along with the driveway and sidewalk areas – use a crabgrass killer for grassy weeds (usually containing Quinclorac), and a selective weed killer for broadleaf weeds (usually containing 2,4-D). If you see new weeds, take action and eradicate them immediately.
How can I make my grass thicker and greener?
For a healthy lawn, mow your lawn frequently, incorporate micronutrients along with your fertilizer feedings, and follow the tips outlined in this post. Your grass will grow healthy, vibrant, and awesome – both northern lawns and southern lawns.
Having a game plan for your future amazing lawn is essential to crafting the landscape of your dreams.
Well, the perfect lawn takes time! An amazing lawn isn’t as simple as seeding and watering one time!
It takes time to make it happen. That is why it is so essential to making the lush lawn of your dreams.
Get this, when making your plan use the next steps.
This may not be the ultimate guide to lawn care, but if you want an awesome lawn, this will help you get there. An awesome lawn doesn’t have to be complicated. The most important thing is to keep up on it and maintain it regularly.
The rest will just happen naturally.