Growing a Greener Lawn this Spring

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Do you ever look at your neighbors Raleigh lawn and ask, “How in the world do they get their grass so green?” Don’t despair. We’ve all been on the other side of the fence. As warm weather begins to roll into the Triangle, you too, can have green grass if you make sure to do the following.

Get Your Thatch under Control

Thatch is a naturally occurring layer of primarily dead grass the lies on top of the soil of your lawn. Composed of stems, stolons, rhizomes, and roots, thatch can actually harm your grass underneath. If this layer gets to be more than about 1/2 inch thick, it becomes unhealthy and should be removed through a process called dethatching.

If your lawn’s thatch buildup is right around 1/2 inch, you can easily deal with this by aerating your lawn. A thick layer that’s 3/4 inch or more calls for the use of a core aerator or a vertical mower. Both can be rented from the local hardware store.

Don’t Starve It

In dry climates, installing an irrigation system is necessary for growing grass successfully. For most of the U.S., the decision of whether or not to have an irrigation system for watering lawns will not be so clear-cut. Cost is often the primary factor, but keep in mind that in the long run, an irrigation system may save you more money because it is more efficient.

Whatever you choose, your grass must have enough water on a consistent schedule to remain green and healthy. While overwatering can lead to some problems, an under-watered lawn won’t be able to compete with weeds and diseases, aside from the ability to stay green.

Control Weeds with Fertilizer

It’s a known fact that our vegetable gardens and plants need food, but it’s easy to overlook your grass. Instead of thinking of grass as “the whole lawn”, think of it as thousands of individual plants that need to be fed on a regular basis.

Fertilizing goes hand-in-hand with weed control. As grass takes in the fertilizer’s nutrients, the root system will expand with it. Weed seeds find bare spots to take hold. When you remove those spots, you’re hitting weeds where it really hurts. Thanks to your fertilizing and other maintenance efforts, you’ll get to a point where your grass is so healthy that it pushes out most weeds.

Slow-release fertilizers extend the feeding period and are less likely to burn grass than other formulas.

Mow to the Right Height

Cutting your lawn with a mower set at a proper mowing height can save you from having to bag your grass clippings. The rule of thumb says that you should mow when your grass is dry and 3 to 3-1/2 inches tall. Never cut it shorter than 2 to 2-1/2 inches or remove more than one-third of the leaf surface at any one mowing

The valuable nutrients in the grass clippings can do your lawn some good, left right where they lie after cutting, as long as their bulk is kept at a minimum. By cutting only about an inch off the top of your lawn at any one time, the bulk of the grass clippings is kept low.

However, this tip also means more frequent cutting, but the result will be a healthier lawn that is fed by nutrients that you would otherwise be taking away. Cutting a lawn too short can stress it out, especially during periods of hot weather in North Carolina.

Everyone loves curb appeal, and you too, can have a green, luscious lawn. No longer will you have to ask if the grass is greener on the other side. Instead, you can have that lawn.

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