A beautiful lawn is easier to have and maintain than the professional lawn-care people want you to think. Sadly, their way of maintaining lawns is dictated by the fertilizer makers and not by grass know-how or science.
Look outside. Every lawn on your street is a different shade of green. That’s because everybody cuts, waters and fertilizes differently, not to mention the half dozen varieties of common grasses that they may have.
I’ve never been that guy with the greenest lawn, so I asked a lawn specialist how to make my lawn greener. Of course with all the rain this suimmer it was hardly necessary.
He told me the most important factor was how short I cut it. He said, “the longer you leave it, the better. Set your mower on its highest setting.” I was hesitant because I always cut my grass short and I liked the way that looked.
But, longer grass traps more moisture and reduces the sunlight that gets to the roots, which can burn the grass and dry it out.
Grass reacts to the sun like your skin does. Too much sun without protection will burn it. When you have/had a full head of hair, you don’t put sunscreen on top of your head because your hair protects your skin. The same goes for long grass, it provides shade for the roots and soil.
Long grass also develops a deeper root system which makes the grass more fit for dry and less fertile soil.
I followed his advice and my grass still looks neatly trimmed, it’s also the greenest grass I’ve ever had. But, there are other reasons why your grass turns brown or yellow.
Water is an important element in healthy grass. Lawns typically need a minimum of one inch of water per week to stay green, although you will need more when it’s hot, sunny, dry and/or windy. You’ll need less when it’s cool, damp and cloudy.
Soil and other environmental factors, such as pets, can also steal the green from your lawn. If you cut your grass long and water frequently, but still have yellow lawn, you should have your soil tested for nutrient deficiencies and fertilize accordingly.
Otherwise, regular fertilizing in early and late spring along with early and late fall are often a good way to maintain a healthy lawn.
If you do nothing else, try setting your mower on its highest setting. I bet it will make as big a difference for you as it has for me and it might even save some water since you can water a bit less.