1. Raise your mower
Mow your grass at at least 3″ tall. To set this height, measure from flat ground to the bottom of your mower base. Mowing tall encourages root growth, shades the soil for better moisture retention and helps crowd out weeds. MOW TALL!
2. Sharpen those blades
Dull mower blades can absolutely wreck a yard. You want to cut the grass with sharp blades, not beat up and tear the grass with dull blades. Get your mower blades sharpened 1-2x per year (spring and fall). Better yet, buy two sets of blades and keep them sharp!
3. Check your sprinkler heads!
If you have an irrigation/sprinkler system make sure all of the sprinkler heads in a given zone are of the same type/flow rate. If you mix and match heads you will be overwatering one area while not watering another enough. Keeping the heads the same makes irrigation timing easy to figure out. If you have sprays (pops up, doesn’t move) and rotors (pops up, moves) in the same zone, fix it! If you have questions, most big box or sprinkler supply stores have folks on staff that know their stuff!
4. Repair in the Fall
Fall is the absolute best time for lawn repairs (specifically cool season types). Soil and air temps are perfect for grass during this time. There is also little chance of frost which can kill new grass/seed. Small bare spots in your lawn will generally fill in over the spring without much more than a light rake job. If you have major repairs that need to be made (spots larger than 2’x2′) you CAN do these in mid-spring but the best results come in the fall.
5. Don’t over apply!
If a little is good, more MUST be better right??
Fertilizer is food, grass can get “full” off of food just like you. If you overfeed you could have issues with thatch, soil compaction and a whole host of other possible problems. Keep it simple (3-4 feedings a year) with a good quality organic fertilizer (NO WEED AND FEED) and you will be set. Or, better yet, follow The Lawn Process and give the subtle flex to the neighborhood!
With proper care, your grass will look great and will begin to repair itself! But it won’t be overnight. You need to have patience when it comes to lawn care. It could take a season or two to correct issues on a yard that has not been properly cared for in the past. Don’t fret, keep at it, and you will see results.