When you purchase a new home, you always receive great advice from friends and family about decluttering, packing and hiring movers. However, has anyone talked to you about lawn care? You know you’re going to need a lawnmower, but what else goes into it other than waiting for the grass to grow?
If you want to make sure your new lawn looks as nice as your neighbors, follow these handy Long Lake Ltd. new homeowner lawn care tips:
- Don’t rush things. You finally have your own home, and you’re just itching to get started on your lawn care, but don’t be in a big hurry. Even in Houston, we have to worry about freezing temperatures that can do a lot of damage, like shearing the roots if you start walking on it too soon. If you start raking and aerating too soon, you will open the turf grass canopy and expose fragile new growth to too much light. So, slow down and wait until you’re certain there won’t be any more freezing temperatures.
- Level the ground. Even in new construction homes, you should always check for low and high spots all over your lawn. High areas get scalped by the blades of a lawnmower set too low and the low areas cause poor drainage. Don’t be afraid to cut away high ground and fill in the lower areas.
- Aerate your lawn. Fall is always the best time to aerate, but if you just moved into your new home, you will need to do it in the spring. Aerating your lawn controls thatch, reduces soil compaction, improves nutrient and water filtration, and stimulates new root growth. There really is no need to purchase an aerator when you can rent one from a local home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowes.
- Test your soil. Again, even in new construction homes, you should know what nutrients your soil needs, so have your soil tested. This should be done every three years to help you control weeds, disease, and insects without using harsh chemicals. It also allows you to track your progress for total and complete lawn care. If you have spots in your yard that just won’t grow, a soil test could help reveal the problem. They’re easy and inexpensive and you can do them yourself.
- Seed bare areas. Fall is the ideal time to seed, so put this on your home maintenance calendar as a reminder to make sure your lawn care is in full swing and you have a lush green yard next year. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t seed in the spring. As long as you seed early, you can develop strong roots before the stressful summer temperatures and the need for mowing come along. Note: Seeds begin to germinate at 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so if the weather is warm enough and there is no risk of frost, then seed away! If your lawn is aerated, over-seeding is very effective as it allows the seeds to enter into the holes where they can make contact with the soil, which also provides more protection.
- Get a jumpstart on Crabgrass. This is a high priority in the spring because Crabgrass is a prolific seeder. Consider using a natural treatment instead of a toxic preemergence herbicide. Corn gluten meal is an organic and safe option.
- Go easy on the fertilizer. A lot of people assume that spring is the best time to heavily feed their lawn. Not true for proper lawn care. During this already vital stage, too much growth, too fast will compromise the roots. St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Bermuda, which are warm season grasses and are in most yards here in Houston, should be fertilized during the summer when they’re actually growing.
- Hold off on the water. This one last bit of advice regarding yard maintenance is to not water your lawn too early. Until it’s dry and warm, water shouldn’t even be on your mind. Don’t panic if your early spring lawn shows signs of drought, this will only force the roots to grow deeper in search of a water source.