How to Achieve a Healthy Lawn

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Lawn Care

Your location’s climate zone will influence a lawn’s watering, fertilization and aeration needs. A soil test will reveal nutrient levels; as grass grows it uses up available nutrients in the soil.

A healthy lawn requires a variety of maintenance tasks, some performed on a monthly basis and others annually. One of the annual jobs is aeration, which relieves soil compaction, encourages grass roots to dig deeper and enhances the flow of nutrients. Aeration is also a natural way to stimulate beneficial microbial growth and promote thatch decomposition.

Aerating your lawn involves puncturing small openings in the surface of the soil, which relieves compaction and allows water, oxygen and nutrients to penetrate the root system more effectively. This process can help your lawn better withstand heat and drought stresses and stand up to insect damage and diseases.

There are many different ways to aerate your yard, but core aeration is the preferred method among lawn experts. This entails using a machine that has hollow tines, which penetrate into the ground and remove small plugs of thatch and soil. You can rent a manual or power core aerator at most tool rental shops, and the process is not difficult to learn.

The process should be done in the spring or fall, just before your lawn enters its peak growing season. If your soil is highly compacted, you may want to make several passes with the aerator, with each pass slightly overlapped.

While there are many benefits to aerating, the main one is relieving compaction. The problem with compacted soil is that air can’t get into the pores and crevices, so it becomes difficult for grass to grow.

Aeration is a key part of any lawn care routine, and it’s a critical step to maintain your home’s landscaping. Before you perform this task yourself or hire a professional, clear away leaves and twigs that have accumulated on the ground, and rake up any matted patches of turf. You’ll want to do this before you aerate, as it will make the job go much more smoothly. Then, you can water the lawn heavily after aerating to jump-start new grass growth and nutrient penetration, and apply a good quality, organic lawn food to further strengthen and enrich your soil.


A healthy, dense lawn requires sufficient nutrients to grow well. Grass absorbs these nutrients through its roots from the soil, which is why fertilization is such an important part of lawn care.

The best way to provide the proper balance of nutrients is to use slow-acting commercial granular fertilizer applied at the right time. The timing of the fertilization depends on your climate and type of grass. Cool-season grasses need to be fertilized in the fall and spring, while warm-season grasses require a more frequent application of fertilizer in the summer and early fall.

Unlike synthetic fertilizers, organic products are made from natural materials that release nutrients slowly into the soil. They are also designed to cultivate a deeper green and more dense turf while improving soil health with micro-nutrients and beneficial microorganisms.

Organic lawn care programs are less costly than a chemical approach and have fewer environmental impacts. In fact, they have been proven to reduce weed pressure and improve the overall health of the lawn. They also offer more effective insect and disease control, better drought tolerance and higher mowing quality.

When mowed properly, lawn clippings provide a valuable source of nitrogen back to the turf, significantly reducing your need for nitrogen fertilizer by one-third to one-half. A well-groomed, properly mowed lawn is the best defense against lawn diseases, such as dollar spot, brown patch, red thread, rust and stripe smut.

Regularly composting leaves and other organic material helps to maintain the rich nutrient content of your soil, while providing an eco-friendly alternative to chemical fertilizers. It also protects against fungal diseases by preventing them from smothering the turf.

Adding organic matter to the soil increases the microorganism populations that break down organic debris and enrich the soil with organic components. Soil that is compacted from foot traffic and mowing can’t properly retain these nutrients, so aerating the lawn to loosen the soil promotes good nutrient flow. Aerating in conjunction with organic weed control, disease suppression and fertilization practices is the best way to achieve a high-quality, sustainable landscape. This approach is often called integrated pest management (IPM) and includes preventive measures, biological controls, and controlled applications of environmentally friendly products.

Weed Control

Weeds are unwanted plants that grow where they shouldn’t, in competition with desirable grass and flowers. They are a constant challenge for lawn care and must be managed effectively. Weed control strategies should include a combination of cultural practices and chemical treatments. Proper identification is key for selecting the right weed control products.

Cultural practices include mowing, aeration, fertilization and mulching. These techniques help prevent weeds from becoming established in the first place or stopping their growth once they have emerged. Aerating the soil allows water and nutrients to flow more easily, promoting healthy turfgrass. Mulching helps reduce weeds by blocking sunlight from germination and keeping weed seeds from reaching the sun.

Mowing is one of the most effective ways to control weeds, especially when used regularly and with a sharp mower blade. Mowing a weed before it forms a seed head will remove its ability to propagate itself, so this is a very effective weed control strategy. It’s important to choose a mower that is suitable for your yard size and terrain to ensure optimal performance.

Fertilizing your lawn promotes thicker turfgrass that is more competitive with weeds. Using slow-release organic or natural fertilizers can also increase the health of your grass and decrease the need for herbicides.

Chemical weed control products are highly effective when used properly. For example, pre-emergent herbicides must be applied to the surface of the weed and before it begins growing, so they are most effective in early spring or fall. Herbicides that kill only broadleaves, or dicotyledonous plants, are most effective when the plant is actively growing and has two cotyledons (seed leaves). The weed must also be moist to allow for uptake of the herbicide.

Avoid smothering your grass by not overmulching. Too much mulch can restrict the amount of sunlight that grass receives, reducing its vitality and allowing weeds to compete. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can cause a buildup of salts in the soil that inhibit root growth and kill the grass.


Lawn care involves a variety of practices that promote healthy grass. These include aeration, fertilization, weed control, seeding, water management, and proper mowing. Practicing these lawn care tips will help ensure that your turf is thick and lush, which helps to discourage weeds and pests and improves the overall visual quality of your property.

Proper lawn care also includes managing insects and diseases. Insects are a natural part of a well-managed lawn, but excessive populations can detract from the appearance and damage the health of the grass. A good lawn care company will be able to identify and treat problem insect pests like white grubs, sod webworms, chinch bugs, and billbugs, and they’ll also have a wide range of environmentally friendly pesticides on hand to combat a diverse array of other garden pests.

Watering is a vital part of lawn care, but it’s essential to use the correct technique. Too much or too little water can have a devastating impact on the health of your grass. A qualified technician will know how to adjust your irrigation system to avoid drought stress, while still ensuring that the lawn receives adequate moisture.

Aerating the soil can help alleviate soil compaction, which allows for better water and nutrient penetration. A professional will use core or spike aerators to maximize the benefits of this lawn care practice. They’ll also keep a broad range of rotary spreaders and drop spreaders in their toolkits to evenly distribute granular materials, such as fertilizers, grass seeds, weed killers, or soil amendments, over a large area.

Seeding is a great way to fill in thin or patchy areas of the lawn. It can also help introduce new grass varieties with improved disease resistance, traffic tolerance, or other traits. It’s best to overseed in the fall, although spring seeding can also be effective for certain cool-season lawns.

A well-maintained lawn is a valuable asset for your home, but it takes consistent effort to get there. A qualified lawn care company can take the pressure off of you by handling all of the work involved in achieving a beautiful, green landscape that will add curb appeal to your home and increase its value.