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Set your lawn on the road to great condition

house and lawn at sunset

A beautiful lawn is an asset to any garden, but it’s often one of the first casualties of a lack of time. If you don’t pay it enough attention, it can quickly become overgrown, ugly, and out of control. However, the good news is that keeping on top of your lawn’s maintenance will keep the overall amount of work needed to a minimum; little and often is the key once a lawn is healthy and established.

Assess what you have to work with

There’s an old joke about a city-dweller in the country asking a farmer for directions, only to be told “Well, I wouldn’t want to start from here.” Humorous or not, this is an important point to consider when beginning your quest for the perfect lawn: should you go on from where you are or start afresh?

If your current lawn is riddled with weeds and contains only coarse clumps of grass, it might be better to start again with brand-new turf rather than fighting a long and losing battle. Your future efforts can then go toward keeping your newly laid lawn in perfect condition using the rest of these tips.

Water with care

Your local climate and situation will have a huge effect on how often you need to water your lawn. Dry, windy conditions will clearly require more frequent watering than a climate where rain is frequent.

However, it’s a mistake to set up an automated sprinkler system to keep your lawn continually irrigated. Not only is this wasteful of water, which may or may not be an issue in your area, but it also lulls your grass into having high expectations. It becomes weakened and reliant on regular watering, and will soon show signs of distress if the supply dries up for even a day or two.

Instead, keep a close eye on the condition of the grass, and water only when your lawn starts to look listless and lackluster. Don’t let the grass turn yellow or brown, as this usually means you’ve gone way past the point where watering was necessary, and the grass will have entered a dormant state.

This method of only watering when necessary relies on giving your grass a generous drink each time; aim for around an inch of water per session. For best results, water early in the day to give the surface moisture time to evaporate, as damp grass overnight can lead to a buildup of mold and disease.

Frequent mowing

Mowing your lawn frequently not only keeps it looking neat and tidy, but also improves the quality of the growth. Grass is quicker to grow than most weeds, but once they get a foothold, weeds can quickly crowd out the grass.

Frequent mowing will help keep the unwanted plants in check, bludgeoning them into submission over time and helping the grass maintain the upper hand. If you can’t find the time to mow regularly, there’s sure to be a local child willing to do the job for a dollar or two.

A proper raking routine

Clearing fallen leaves from your lawn is an essential autumn job, and not only for the sake of neatness. The uneven spread of debris over the grass can lead to patchy growth, as light and air are blocked more deeply in some places than others. Also, more frequent raking after each mowing gently loosens and aerates the surface of the soil, making new grass growth stronger and more even.

Feeding your lawn

A good soil is the foundation of a good lawn, but not everyone is lucky enough to enjoy perfect earth conditions without lending a little help. Thankfully, lawn grass is fairly forgiving when it comes to nutrition. All lawns will benefit from an application of nitrogen-rich fertilizer in spring, before the main growth gets going.

If your grass naturally falls dormant over winter, then this single feed will be enough. If the growth continues for most of the year, however, then another dose of fertilizer in late summer is also a good idea.

Reseeding to repair wear and tear

Even after all your best efforts, lawns can get patchy over time, whether this is through extreme rainfall, uneven scorching from summer sun, physical damage to the turf, or an invasion of suffocating weeds. A light sowing of standard grass seed will improve the situation, and is best done in late summer or early autumn.

At this time of year, the soil will still be warm and the growth of weeds will be on the wane, allowing the sprouting seeds to get a tentative foothold before new growth starts in earnest when spring arrives.

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