Spring is a busy time, grass and plants are starting to grow, you may be looking for a lawn or landscape service to help with your yard. Even if you are going to do it yourself, here are a few tips to keep a healthy lawn naturally.
-Don't bag grass clippings, instead let them discharge from the mower into your lawn. These clippings break down and provide a natural source of nitrogen equal to 1 lb of N per 1,000 sq ft (the average application rate.)
-Hand pull weeds. If you have to use a chemical spot treat as necessary. Do not simply put down a bag of herbicide each spring.
- Don't cut more than 1/3 of the blade at a time. Grass is a living, growing thing and each cut harms the grass. Keep blades sharp. Dull blades prone your lawn to infection and invasion of the various species of weeds.
-When applying fertilizer, make sure you understand the new Maryland Lawn Fertilizer Law.
This law is made to prevent over-use of fertilizer and correct application techniques. Basically our environment is very polluted- our neighborhoods, the Chesapeake bay, and other local areas, and this an action taken to limit the amount of pollution entering our ecosystem. Some of the things the law does is monitor use of fertilizers by lawn services and also restrict applications dates and quantities for everyone- including homeowners. Full details are available at: http://mda.maryland.gov/Pages/fertilizer.aspx
-Instead of fertilizer you can try an organic alternative like compost, or Leaf Gro- produced in Montgomery County. Just apply 1/8 to 1/4 inch to the top of your lawn in the spring or fall and this will supply the turf with proper nutrients to remain healthy and green. This is called 'top dressing".
-If grass isn't working for you, check the soil: is there at least 3 inches of topsoil? Or is it all clay? When houses are built the topsoil is stripped off the lot and the remaining clay is compacted, not allowing the roots to establish a healthy foundation for the turf.
If your soil is good and the grass still isn't growing, take a soil test. Soil pH affects the turf's ability to intake certain nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, etc...
If the soil is perfect and the lawn is doing poorly, you probably don't have enough sunlight. In this case its a good idea to do some landscaping and mulching if you want to do something to the area.
We hope these tips help you prepare for the upcoming season. Remember to plant plenty of native plants to attract pollinator species, be host plants for wildlife, and provide beautiful scenery to your property!