How to Keep Your Yard Healthy

January 28, 2021

Your lawn is an essential part of your landscaping and can have a big effect on your home’s curb appeal. As such, keeping your lawn healthy and lush is a good idea. Here’s how to keep your yard healthy:

1. Test Your Soil

To start off, you should test your soil so you know what you are working with. You can purchase a home test kit and do it yourself or send it to a lab that offers this type of service. Having the soil tested means that you will know its specific chemistry.

Apart from the pH levels, you will also be able to see whether there are any nutrient deficiencies. Plus, you’ll get a sense of how much organic matter there is. This information is important because you will know what you can plant and how you should fertilize.

2. Work on Improving the Soil

Because the quality of your soil is so important to keeping your yard healthy, you want to work on improving it wherever you can. If the tests show that your soil is less than optimal, you will need to do your best to fix it.

When it comes to improving soil quality in your yard, there are several methods you can rely on. However, the approach you should use depends on the type of soil you have and what is needed to improve it. For example, composting and adding organic matter to the soil can enrich it and provide you with soil that allows you to have a healthy lawn.

3. Remove Thatch, Moss, and Weeds

Even if the test results indicate that there is nothing wrong with your soil, you still need to take care of certain things. For one, you need to dethatch your lawn.

A buildup of organic matter like dead grass, leaves, and root stems, also known as thatch, can prevent moisture and nutrients from reaching the roots of the grass.

You also need to get rid of the moss and weeds. Too many of these will cause the same problem and will prevent your lawn from thriving.

4. Aerate to Prevent Compaction

Another common issue that can keep your yard from thriving is when the soil is compacted. This usually occurs to grass that sees a lot of foot traffic. It is not a huge problem as you can easily aerate the soil.

Aeration means that you will take plugs of soil out of the ground and loosen it up a bit. In doing so, the roots will be able to absorb the air, water, and nutrients that you provide them. As aeration is done only once or twice a year, there is no reason to buy a gas-operated aerator.

You can simply rent one from a specialized store or borrow it from a neighbor. Aerating shoes may seem like a great solution, but it’s generally better to avoid them. They usually will not help and can actually compact the soil further.

5. Stick to Native Plants

If you’ve had bad luck with lawn grass before, it could have been because it was the wrong type of grass for your region. There are many types of lawn grass to choose from, including Bermuda grass, Bluegrass, and Fescue.

However, it’s usually best to opt for a grass that is native to your area. This gives it the optimal conditions to succeed. Additionally, native species are beneficial for local wildlife and they help preserve the local biodiversity. It also helps you avoid invasive plants and other landscaping mistakes.

Whether it’s your lawn grass or plants for a garden, you need to be careful about what plants you introduce even if they are a native species. There are several plants to never grow in your yard because they are difficult to maintain, tend to take over, and are difficult to remove.

6. Don’t Overwater the Lawn

While a native variety will have the optimal conditions, you still have to water it regularly to help keep your yard healthy. However, it’s important that you know how much water the type you planted requires.

You need to make sure you are not overwatering your lawn as that can lead to shallow roots, especially if you do a light sprinkling every day. It’s better to give your lawn a deep watering once or twice a week.

Also, it’s better to water it early in the morning instead of in the evening or at night. Watering too late in the evening or at night often promotes the growth of fungi and diseases that can damage your yard.

7. Learn How to Cut it

Just like you should learn how to properly water your lawn, you need to know how to mow it. First, you should not cut it too short. A third off the top should do the trick. Also, make sure your lawnmower blades are sharp before you start mowing.

Then, don’t mow wet grass as you will damage both the grass and the mower. Finally, you should alternate between a few mowing patterns to prevent compaction and minimize damage to the grass.

8. Avoid Harmful Pesticides and Herbicides

Some pesticides and herbicides are more harmful than others and can affect both the environment and your health. So, you do want to be aware of which ones you’re using and how you use them.

You can also consider various natural ways to help deal with pests. You still need to be aware of what you are using here as well. Natural does always mean good and some things marketed as “natural” can still be harmful.

Choosing a native variety of grass can help cut down on pests, especially non-native pests that could become invasive. Other methods include using natural insecticides, like insecticidal soaps, and pulling out weeds by hand.

You can also work on attracting beneficial insects that consume and control pests. A pollinator-friendly garden is one of the custom home landscaping ideas that can help attract beneficial insects.

These are just a few ways to keep your yard healthy and wealthy. With these tips, you should have no issues when it comes to having a green lawn that will help your home look great and be the envy of the neighborhood.