Good soil composition can do much more for achieving a low-maintenance lawn than anything you can do for your grass itself. This could arguably be number one because once your established good soil the rest is low-maintenance. Here's a little more on the subject.
The most basic care that effects the health and happiness of your turf is the way in which it is fed. Watering and fertilizing are the two biggest factors in determining the condition of your lawn. we know it sounds fundamental, and it is, but these two areas are most often than not, improperly applied.
Plenty of water is obviously required to maintain a healthy lawn because it not only supplies basic nutrients it also prevents problems from pests and diseases. Northern lawns need very little water, unless of course, you have a dry spell. They usually get enough rain during the season to maintain it’s condition but if there is a drought the grass goes into a dormant mode. So, if it does brown up a bit it will perk up with the next rainfall. If it gets to looking wilted, well, then it’s time to water.
Longer periods of watering a couple of times a week are better than short, frequent watering. Even though the grass may appear green and healthy with frequent sprinkling you are only discouraging root growth. If the roots don’t have to search deep into the soil to find water they get lazy and stay near the surface thus producing weak turf.
Over-watering produces more blade than root requiring more frequent mowing. And if you over water you create an environment friendly atmosphere for insects to lay their eggs.
Early in the morning while the dew is still present or just beginning to evaporate. Lawns require different amounts of water depending on the type of soil you have.
The water needs to penetrate about 6 inches below the surface. To set a time limit on how long to water would vary because everyone has different water pressure. You can place a small pot or plastic food storage container in the yard to collect the sprinkling water in order to measure it’s amount.
Especially during the heat of the summer. And speaking of heat, never, we emphatically never, ever water in the middle of a hot day. We see it all the time. Perhaps there has been a time in your life where you've been on a boat or near a body of water, perhaps on a beach, or in a swimming pool where you became completely sunburned. This occurs at a much quicker rate because of the reflective rays of the sun bouncing off the water. So, not only are you receiving direct sunlight, you are getting hit from all angles of reflected rays as well. This happens to your grass as you water during the day. You are subjecting the blades to an exponential amount of sunshine, which will cause it to burn. Another reason is that the water evaporates quickly; during this time of day, so you are wasting more water and it doesn't have a great chance of sinking deep into the soil where it would be beneficial. Roots will not search deep into the ground. If you take anything from this page, adhere to these words. Do not water in the middle of the day.
The same goes for fertilizing as it does for watering. It is better in moderation. A conservative amount of fertilizer will create the healthiest lawns. Like with water, if the roots don't have far to go to search for food they'll get lazy. Then if the weather becomes dry they won't have much of a chance to survival because their roots have grown shallow. Grass clippings are a natural way to fertilize. We see too many people bagging the clippings and this is just wasteful nutritional supplement. As the grass clippings decompose they release nitrogen into the soil. And the clippings make it difficult for weed spores to find a place to rest and sprout. Once a year fertilizing is all that's really necessary.In northern climates the fall is the best time becausethe rate for top growth has slowed significantly yet photosynthesis is still in full swing. For southern lawnsspring or early summer is the best time so any new growth that’s resulted will have a chance to take root opposed to fall months when winter dormant sets is.
University research has shown that fall (August or September) and late fall (October, November or December) fertilization is ideal for home lawns. Fertilizations during these times will benefit lawns more than any other practice. Most homeowners place too much emphasis on spring and summer fertilization. Some fertilizer is needed during the spring and summer; however, over-application of fertilizer at these times can cause disease, rapid growth requiring much more frequent mowing and other problems that result in "summer lawn nightmares."
When parts of your lawn are bare or thin, a complete lawn renovation isn't necessary. In most cases, thinning can be caused by drought stress, insect damage or lack of fertility. If you still have 50% or more of your lawn, overseeding is a method to bring back it's density or thickness.Overseeding without first working the soil is a waste of time and money. The overseeding will almost always fail. The seed has to be in contact with soil in order to germinate and grow.The first step is to inspect the thatch, or layer of dead grass clippings. If the thatch is more than a half an inch thick it needs to be removed. If it is less, then you have a couple different options for overseeding. You can work up the soil with a good, strong rake working small grooves into the soil, then you can seed. If you are faced with a large area, slit seeder is another method. You can rent a slit seeding machine to do your overseeding. This machine actually plants seed below the thatch layer not requiring additional soil cultivation.
Once the seed has been sown, just follow normal care for establishing the newly seeded area.