With spring right around the corner, your thoughts are likely turning toward lawn care. While mowing, fertilizing, and weed management are all important tasks, there are three additional tasks that can really make a difference in how your lawn looks this year. The following will introduce you to these maintenance strategies.
The thatch layer sits on top the soil, around the base of the grass blades. This layer is made up of decomposing plant matter, including lawn clippings and detritus from fallen leaves. A thin thatch layer is actually beneficial to the lawn, as it provides a mulch that suppresses weeds and conserves soil moisture. When the thatch becomes too deep, though, it can smother grass by preventing moisture and nutrients from reaching the soil.
If the thatch layer is more than about 1/4 inch thick, it's time to remove it. For small yards, you can pull up the thatch with a dethatching rake. A mechanical dethatcher works better for larger yards. How often you dethatch depends on several factors, such as whether you leave the clippings on your grass after mowing and whether you have trees in your yard.
Over time, soil can become so badly compacted that grass has trouble growing through it and water won't soak into it. Compaction occurs more frequently in very dry soils or those that contain a lot of clay, but it can affect any soil type. Areas with heavy traffic or those along normal lawn mowing paths are more likely to become compacted.
Annual aeration of the yard will open up the soil so that moisture can flow into the ground again. A core aerator removes small plugs of soil, which are then left on top of the ground to "melt" away the next time you irrigate. You can rent an aeration machine from some hardware stores, or you can hire a lawn service for the task.
An edged lawn looks nicer, and it helps prevent weed encroachment along the verge of the lawn. Edging should be done not just along sidewalks, but between grass areas and landscape beds as well. Edging between lawn and beds helps stop grass from growing into your flower beds.
Although many weed trimmers come with edging capability, they are clumsy and best suited for small areas. For extensive edging, use a lawn edger so you can more effortlessly cut a straight, clean edge.
Contact a lawn service in your area to schedule your spring lawn care appointment today.