It’s not uncommon for new homeowners to be surprised—and even overwhelmed—by just how much work goes into producing a healthy, green lawn.
It’s a lot more than just buying a bag of fertilizer at your local store and tossing it down. There are so many small tweaks and adjustments that need to be made along the way that end up having an enormous impact.
Unfortunately, when lawn care mistakes are made, it can really set you back. For that reason, you want to be sure that everything is done right.
If you’re someone who has found yourself with a lawn in need of care—whether that’s because you’ve bought a home for the first time or you’ve moved somewhere new—then you might be looking for lawn care tips for beginners.
You’re not alone in this quest. In fact, there’s a book series out there called Lawn Care for Dummies that addresses some of these beginner tips. However, we don’t think you’re a dummy for trying to educate yourself on what your lawn needs. In fact, we think that’s quite smart—and it’s not something that everyone takes the time to do, so we commend you for the effort.
While we could also write a book on lawn care for beginners (there really is a lot of information), for the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to the essential basics without diving too deep. After all, you probably aren’t looking to become a certified lawn care professional, you just want to understand the basics of what your lawn needs.
Tip #1: There is a Right Way to Mow
Mowing seems like such a basic task that most people assume they can’t do it wrong. But that’s not the case. In fact, when a lawn starts to look yellowish or has weed breakthrough, a lot of times these problems can be traced back to improper mowing habits.
The vast majority of the time, homeowners (or even professional mowers) cut their grass too short. When a lawn is mowed too short, you create an environment that is more prone to weed growth. We recommend a mowing height of at least 3.5 inches, but the taller the turf, the better when it comes to choking out weeds. A lawn that is mowed too short will also be more prone to yellowing as the grass struggles to recover from such a drastic cut.
In addition to cut height, you’ll also need to pay attention to the sharpness of your blades. Mowing your lawn with a dull blade can put it under a great deal of stress.
There is also proper edging to think about. Be very careful not to scalp the edges of your walkways or driveways when edging or you risk creating areas where crabgrass will start growing (and can then spread to your lawn). Crabgrass is an opportunistic weed that will seek out thin areas of the lawn and can quickly spread.
It’s important to recognize that your mowing habits and your lawn care will go hand-in-hand. If you hire a professional lawn care service to handle your lawn’s needs, you still need to make sure that your grass is properly mowed.
Tip #2: Proper Watering will Dramatically Impact Lawn Care, Too
Another really important lawn care for beginners tip is just how important water is to the overall success of the lawn. Watering is another task that really isn’t given the attention it deserves. But if you are newly in charge of a lawn, you would do yourself a great service by implementing proper watering techniques from the start.
Established lawns need one to two inches of consistent water per week during the growing season. During certain times of the year, Mother Nature may provide enough rainfall to keep your grass growing. However, it’s common to have dry spells for several weeks or more. When this happens, lawns can go dormant and brown if you don’t keep up with watering. While lawns can handle a little bit of this, after a few weeks it could lead to thinning areas that may not bounce back. On top of that, anytime that you have declining turf, it will create an opportunity for weeds to creep in.
It’s important to note that not only does the amount of water matter but so does the timing of your watering.
Morning is by far the best time to water your lawn because it gives your grass plenty of time to dry before nightfall and to absorb as much water as possible before it evaporates. This is especially important when night temperatures are over 70 degrees and day temperatures are above 85 degrees.
Of course, if you have recently seeded, then your lawn’s watering needs will differ. Watering a newly seeded lawn requires less water but more frequently. This will taper off as the grass grows. You can read more about watering after seeding, here.
Tip #3: The Most Important Aspect of Lawn Care (That is Often Neglected) is Soil Health
Proper nutrition is the third and final piece that we’ll talk about in this guide to lawn care for beginners. Most people do recognize that nutrition is an important piece of the puzzle. They know that they need to fertilize their lawn in order to provide it with the nutrients it needs.
However, most people oversimplify the process. Proper lawn nutrition is a lot more than just putting down a bag of fertilizer. In reality, the best nutrition comes from good soil health.
Unfortunately, most people don’t know much about soil health—even a lot of professional lawn care companies aren’t focusing on it. But it truly is the secret to a great lawn.
That’s because it’s the soil that ultimately determines the overall health of the lawn. Naturally healthy soil is full of beneficial microorganisms like fungi and bacteria, which help a plant to digest nutrients. These microorganisms also help strengthen your lawn against diseases and pests. Healthy, biologically active soil has a highly diverse array of this microscopic life.
You’ll be able to see the difference between a lawn that has healthy soil and one that does not. Over time, a lawn care service that is focused on the biology of soil health will have fewer weeds and a thicker, greener lawn. It will also need less water—as much as 20 percent less.
This is why lawn care really is a lot more complex than most people make it out to be. As we mentioned, even most lawn care companies are not focused on bionutrition and soil health, and that’s a disservice to you.
Tip #4: Great Lawn Care Requires a Comprehensive, Year-Round Approach
Throughout the year, there are a variety of other issues and challenges that may occur which will have to be addressed. We have written extensively on a wide variety of lawn care issues and published these articles as a resource to you. Here are some of the lawn care issues you should be aware of.
- Winter weeds
- Spring and fall weeds
- Weather impacts
- Late fall fertilization
- Number of lawn care visits
Tip #5: Get Familiar with Helpful Lawn Care Experts
Of the various lawn care tips for beginners, we’d also suggest seeking out helpful lawn care experts who can help guide you with everything that you need to know. After all, there’s a lot involved with lawn care, likely more than you initially thought, and the last thing that we want is you coming away from reading this article feeling even more overwhelmed.
This is why Oasis Turf & Tree is committed to offering free resources (including blog articles like this one) that help educate homeowners about their lawns. Even if you aren’t ready to commit to a professional lawn care service right now, we still want you to benefit from the information that we share which is why the resources on our website are free whether you are a customer or not.
Making Smart Choices for Your Lawn in the Cincinnati, Dayton, OH, or Northern Kentucky Area
You may be a beginner, but you have the opportunity to get your lawn started on the right foot and that will make all the difference in the world.
We truly do commend you for your efforts to understand lawn care for beginners.
Most people just get out there and try to tackle it even though they may be operating with outdated knowledge or were even taught improperly in the first place. As you begin caring for your new lawn, we are here for any other questions that may arise. At Oasis Turf & Tree, we view our relationship with homeowners as a partnership and know that by working together, we can achieve the best results.
Want to learn more about professional lawn care services for your Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio or Northern Kentucky lawn? Request your quote, choose the lawn care program that’s right for you, and then sit back and relax as the pros help you get your lawn in great shape!
Image sources: lawn mower