The Q&A Archives: Frontyard Landscape

Question: Dear Expert
I have recently purchased a house and am a first time home buyer.
I have two questions. I will appreciate for your guidance
1. Previous owner did not take care of lawn before she moved out. More than 50% of grass is pale. I am watering lawn everyday for last two weeks but it has little improvement. Please advice me how could I turn lawn into perfect green.
2. There are two small trees and landscaping in my front yard. I want to add some soil. What would be the best way to add soil. Do I have to mix some fertilizer with it?
Thanks for your time
First time home buyer

Answer: Saeed,

I apologize for this delayed reply to your gardening question and hope it is still helpful to you.

Congratulations on your new home! Good lawn care can be summarized in three cultural practices: mowing, watering and fertilizing. If you will do these three properly, your lawn will be the best on the block!

Frequent mowing is better than infrequent mowing. Mow on a 5-7 day schedule, removing no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade with each mowing. For example, a St. Augustine turf should be mowed to 2 1/2" when it reaches 3", while a semi-dwarf bermuda or zoysia would be mowed to 1 1/2 or 2" when it reached 2 or 2 1/2".
While many homeowners like to water 15 minutes a day, your turf will benefit from a good soaking applied less often. Apply 1/2 to 1 inch of water once or twice a week. A coffee can makes a good rain gauge to test out how long it will need to be run to apply an inch. Frequent wetting promotes disease problems and a shallow rooted turf. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings and the grass will develop a deep root system and do much better.

Fertilize with no more than 1/2 to 1 pound of nitrogen in spring after you have mowed the grass twice, and again in fall (around late October). Apply a product with a 3-1-2 ratio of nutrients as this is roughly the ratio of nutrients grass takes in. So, for example, if you purchased a 15-5-10 fertilizer (15% nitrogen), you would apply about 7 pounds per 1000 square feet (1 pound / .15 = about 7). If you purchased a 21-7-14 fertilizer (21 % nitrogen), you would apply about 5 pounds per 1000 square feet (1 pound / .21 = about 5).

Healthy turf will choke out most of its weed problems. When the turf is thin and soil is exposed to the sunlight, weeds will sprout and you have a battle on your hands. So first concentrate on the above 3 cultural practices and you will be amazed at the results.

You can add soil to the lawn only about 1/2 inch at a time. Otherwise you may smother the grass. You don't need to mix fertilizer with it.

Thanks for the question. Best wishes for a wonderful gardening season. Please stop in again soon!

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