Nothing complements a home like a lush, green lawn, though it is among the most elusive curb-appeal assets. A healthy lawn depends on a number of different factors, including planting the correct grass seed, proper mowing, irrigation, appropriate fertilization and pest control.
On Long Island, a wide range of temperatures impact our lawns throughout the year, so it is important to select a grass seed that will flourish in our climate. Different varieties of grass also have different maintenance needs, and many lawn problems can be traced back to grass that is not suited for its climate. Cold-climate grasses perform best on Long Island, and these include shade-tolerant fescues, Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass.
Maintenance for Green Lawns
When caring for your grass, how often you mow depends on weather and soil conditions, but you should cut grass regularly and avoid mowing more than one-third of the length. Leave clippings on the lawn, as they will gradually decay and add nitrogen back into the soil, but avoid leaving large clumps of clippings that can result in dead spots. Lawns typically require between one and two inches of water per week. The best time to water is in the early morning, slowly and deeply, to encourage deep root growth. Light watering, even when done frequently, produces roots that stay close to the surface.
Most lawn experts recommend fertilizing twice a year and using pest control methods only when necessary. Too much fertilizer can kill off beneficial insects and bacteria. Pesticides often work best when applied only to necessary areas, rather than treating the entire lawn.
Organic Lawn Care
Homeowners today are moving toward organic solutions for their lawn care needs and choosing eco-friendly methods and products. A beautiful and healthy lawn without conventional fertilizers and pesticides is becoming easier. Conventional lawn chemicals can pollute ground water, harm wildlife and cause adverse health effects in people and pets. Choose organic fertilizers containing natural ingredients that don’t threaten the environment and you will also feel more comfortable letting your children or pets play on the lawn. If you use a lawn care professional, there are plenty of landscapers and experts who specialize in organic and natural maintenance methods and products.