Unfortunately, you cannot just plant grass and forget it. Your lawn needs regular maintenance to keep it looking good. New suburban homeowners wonder what happened to that lush green lawn they had when they first moved in. Several factors influence the decline of turf grasses to the point your lawn can just be mostly weeds you mow to a three inch height every week. Here is how to get that beautiful lawn back.
Seed, and Use Chemical Treatments Wisely
You have a natural ecosystem where your lawn is growing geographically. Just like you can force a houseplant to bloom out of season, you can force the incorrect lawn for your area to grow. However, you pay the penalty of spending an annual fortune in seed, fertilizer and insecticides plus more water to keep it looking great. Preferable is planting the best grass seed for where you live and using a little natural fertilizer to get it established. Choose the correct grass seed mix based on your climate, which includes annual temperature extremes and average rainfall. Water if the average rainfall is low, and do not water if it is high.
Your Turf Should Be a Mix of Grasses
Depending on where you live, a lawn that is 100 percent one type of turf grass is not likely to stay looking good year round. Most climates benefit from a mix of grass types. You want grass that will stay alive and green in the cool months with an early spring emergence of grass that will grow best between the cool and hot months. Warm season grasses then establish throughout the summer, and the cool season grasses take over again in the fall. You can find the best mix of grass seed by searching for seed by region.
Different Grass Seed Mixes for Different Lawn Areas
If your lawn is in the full sun most of the day, you can choose a grass seed mix that thrives in sunlight. If almost every square foot of your lawn is under the shade of trees, then grass seed for shady areas will be best. However, most lawns have a mix of sun and shade. When planting, your seed mixes should take into account both the shady and sunny areas. Overlap your seeding in the area where sun meets shade to allow the best grass seed mix to emerge naturally.
Picking a Turf Type
Zoysia is tough and grows evenly. It makes a thick mat of turf that feels great underfoot. It mows easily and does not require a lot of maintenance. However, if you are in a planting zone where it turns cool or cold in the fall and winter, then Zoysia will turn brown during those months. It will return to a nice light green in the summer.
Kentucky Bluegrass has that great bluish green color, but it is not for high-traffic lawns. It is also a cool season grass that does best when planted with other seeds to form a more useful yard.
Bermuda Grass is tough and aggressively spreads on its own. Varieties can be planted that grow low to require fewer mowings and less clippings. However, by itself, Bermuda turns brown in the cold.
Fescue grasses stay green all year in cooler climates. The varieties mix well with the Kentucky Bluegrass varieties to make up a nice suburban lawn turf. Fescues will go dormant when it gets too hot or too cold.
There are many more lawn grass varieties and mixes to choose from. Be sure to consider how much you use your lawn, whether pets and children will play on it, and how much you are willing to water and fertilize when necessary. Every seed type has different needs to keep a great looking lawn season after season.