Here's What You Need to Do to Get the Perfect Lawn

Posted on Feb. 28, 2020

The perfect lawn might seem unattainable. Perfect things usually do. But our lawn care experts firmly believe that a green, healthy lawn is never out of reach. Here's how you can go above and beyond to achieve lawn perfection this year.

Stop Scalping Your Lawn

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is cutting their grass too short. It's probably motivated by a desire to mow less often. But in reality, cutting grass too short only spurs it to grow back faster. It also makes your grass a lot more vulnerable to pests and disease, and leaves ugly brown spots on the lawn. As a general rule, it's best to cut grass no shorter than 2 to 3 inches, depending on the variety. When in doubt, set your lawn mower deck height to cut off no more than 1/3 of the grass blades each time you mow.

Prevent Weeds Before They Appear

It's hard to control crabgrass and other weeds once they've taken root. Prevention is a much more effective way to go, and a variety of pre-emergent herbicides are available to get the job done (but do the bees a favor and choose an insect-friendly herbicide). The best time to apply is early spring before weeds have had a chance to grow.

Recycle Your Grass Clippings

Far too much lawn waste ends up in landfills every year. Adding grass clippings to your compost bin is a good way to put them to use. Better yet, leave them right there on the lawn. Grass clippings decompose quickly, returning their vital nutrients back to the soil so that your living grass can feed on them. And contrary to popular belief, leaving grass clippings on the lawn does not cause thatch, as long as your lawn mower distributes them evenly and not in big clumps.

Be Smart About Watering

As a general rule, it's better to water deeper than it is to water often (just getting the grass damp doesn't really do much in the long run, no matter how often you do it). You want the ground to be soaked 4" to 6" under the surface. Timing is also crucial. Watering in the heat of midday is a waste of water because most of it will simply evaporate before your lawn gets to soak it up, and watering at night isn't a great idea because the water will just sit there, opening the door to potential disease. If you want your grass to get the most out of each watering, the best time to do it is first thing in the morning.

Vary Mowing Patterns

Mowing in a classic striped, diamond or checkerboard pattern is a great way to give large lawns that well-manicured golf course look. But mowing the same pattern over and over again is a mistake. Not only can it leave ruts and worn-out patches, but it teaches the grass to lean in the direction of repeated mowing. To get the best results, alternate mowing patterns for a healthy lawn.

Use a Well-Balanced Fertilizer

A perfect lawn requires good nutrition, and a well-balanced fertilizer will go a long way toward helping you achieve a greener lawn. Have your soil tested to determine your lawn's needs, and choose a fertilizer accordingly. Slow-release fertilizers are a great long-term option, but if you need to get those nutrients to your grass right away, a quick-release fertilizer is the way to go. The former only needs to be applied once annually, while the latter should typically be applied four times per year.

Keep Your Mower Blades Sharp

One thing that prevents a lot of homeowners from ever having a perfect lawn is dull lawn mower blades. Lawn mower blades generally need to be sharpened once per mowing season to get the best cut. If you're not sure if your blades are sharp enough, just take a look at your grass after mowing. Grass that has been cut with a dull blade will have a ragged edge that turns white or brown shortly after being cut.

Re-Seed as Needed

Even the most healthy lawn sometimes needs a little help, especially in early spring after the winter has taken its toll. Chances are you'll find some bare spots now and then, and the best way to take care of them is to sprinkle some fresh seed around and let nature do its work. If you have trouble spots, consider re-seeding with specific grass varieties that thrive in shady areas, wet spots and other difficult locations.

Mow at the Right Time

The ideal time for mowing your lawn is late morning after the dew has burned away, but before the sun has reached peak intensity. Late afternoon to early evening is also a pretty good time to mow, but avoid mowing during the heat of midday and right before dark. If possible, try not to mow your grass when it's wet, or under severe drought conditions.

A big part of achieving a perfect lawn is having the right tools, and our team is dedicated to making sure you have them. Contact us today to find a Hustler retailer near you, and let's work together to make your lawn perfect.