Your lawn is the jewel setting of your home. Although it’s often overlooked in favor of picture-perfect patios, pools, and perennial beds, an unhealthy lawn detracts from all those things. From the Northern VA landscape experts at JK Enterprises, here’s what you need to do to keep it looking great all year long.
Spring Landscaping Tips
As the ground starts to warm up and the lawn starts to green up, you can get it off to a great start with three simple steps: dethatch, aerate, and fertilize.
Most people will only fertilize, but that’s a mistake. In fact, fertilization is the least necessary step. Dethatching pulls up the dead grass from the roots of the lawn, which can smother grass growth. You can get a special dethatching tool, but for a small lawn, a sharp-tined rake does just as well. Vigorously rake up the thatch twice, at right angles. Collect the thatch for your compost pile.
There is also a special tool for aerating that you may want to invest in, but in the meantime, using a garden fork to poke holes in the soil will work well enough.
A light fertilizing after all that will get your lawn off to a great start, but it might not need it if you do the other two steps. To avoid stressing the grass, mow the first several times on the highest setting. Mow more regularly if you have to — removing more than 1/3 of the blade at a time will weaken its growth.
Summer Landscaping Tips
The high heat of summer is very hard on grasses. In fact, it sends most local turf grasses into dormancy. When the grass turns a dull yellow, it’s important to understand: the grass isn’t dead, it’s sleeping. There’s no need to water, mow, or fertilize during this season, since it’s the temperature itself, not the lack of water, that’s making the plant go dormant. As soon as the mercury drops, you will notice your lawn take on new life.
A good rule of thumb is to water only when it has been a week since the last rainfall. And be sure to water in the evening or the early morning.
Autumn Landscaping Tips
Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons here in Northern Virginia. Your lawn is probably looking the best it has in months, the perfect foil to the turning leaves.
As the leaves start to fall, you’ll want to be proactive about collecting them. Damp leaves tend to form mats that smother the grass.
You can also take the opportunity to dethatch, aerate and fertilize during the cool fall days. You can be even more aggressive about dethatching and aerating because the cool days will encourage more root growth than blade growth in your lawn, preparing it well for winter.
Winter Landscaping Tips
Winter landscape maintenance is important to keep your yard looking its best and to prepare it for the spring growing season.
Clear debris by removing any fallen leaves, branches, or other debris from your lawn and garden beds. This will help to prevent the buildup of excess moisture and reduce the risk of disease and pests.
Protect your plants. Cold temperatures and freezing winds can be damaging to tender plants. Use burlap or frost blankets to cover any plants that are particularly sensitive to the cold. You should also consider applying an anti-desiccant spray to evergreen plants to help them retain moisture and stay hydrated during the winter months.
Late winter is a good time to prune shrubs and trees, as they are dormant and won’t be disrupted by the pruning process. Remove any dead or damaged branches, and thin out any overcrowded areas to improve the overall health and appearance of your plants. Just be sure to use proper pruning techniques and tools to avoid damaging the plants.
These simple steps are all you need to do for a gorgeous lawn all year round!