Tips On How To Achieve A Healthy Root System
One of the most important parts of your lawn, or any plant really, is what is underneath the surface: the root system. If the roots are shallow, that will reflect in your grass. It will be thin and quite opposite of that lush green lawn you are hoping for! The roots are where your lawn take in nutrients and water. Unfortunately, the shallower the roots, the harder it is to feed the grass. However, you can save your lawn even if you have shallow roots. Here are some tips on getting your lawn back to optimum health!
In the springtime, everything is waking up from their winter slumber and you get a fresh start. An opportunity to get your lawn looking like the best one on the block! (Granted there are no issues due to Winter Kill, which we will get more into later)!
Tip 1: Start weed control and fertilizer early!
In the spring things like thistle, dandelions, and crabgrass aren’t around yet! Grass will grow with just water alone, but so will the weeds! Then adding fertilizer is even better for the grass, and also the weeds that want to take over. Adding weed control into the mix will allow your lawn to thrive. This way your lawn won’t have to share food and space with pesky weeds. It is also beneficial to lay a pre-emergent down at this time to aid in preventing crabgrass (and other grasses) from germinating. It is recommended that weed and feed treatments be done roughly every month or so until the lawn goes back into dormancy.
Learn more about our weed control and fertilizer services!
Tip 2: Give your lawn a haircut!
Consider the first mow of the season a chance to cut off all the dead grass on top of the lawn. Of course, there isn’t much to mow since the lawn just woke up and hasn’t had much of a chance to grow. The first cut will give it a jump start into the season! Then follow with regular mowing, never taking more than a third of the blade at a time. Mowing every week versus bi-weekly or as needed is highly recommended.
Tip 3: Aerate! Aerate! Aerate!
It is important to schedule your aeration before the temperature is regularly above 75 degrees. The ground is relatively soft and able to hold onto moisture longer; so that you can get good and deep plugs. The aeration will allow air, nutrients, and water to get down into those roots more efficiently. It will also break up compacted soil and allow the roots more space to grow.
Tip 4: Don’t leave your lawn parched!
Begin regular watering. If we are fortunate to have a rainy spring, then you may not need to water a whole lot. Never let your root system get too dry or you will be setting yourself back! It’s too early in the year to relax if you want a beautiful lawn!
By now you should be in the swing of things. The sun is blazing nearly every day. While you sit inside a nice air-conditioned room, your lawn is feeling the heat. Don’t give up on your root system yet, there is still some work to be done!
Tip 1: Water your lawn in the morning to avoid disease!
The summer is a stressful time for your root system. The Erbert Lawns recommendation is to end any evening and day time watering. Evening watering gives fungus an opportunity to grow since the lawn is sitting in moisture overnight. Afternoon watering is useless because the water evaporates so quickly. Save your money and water in the morning. Morning watering is the best because it will give your root system a few hours to absorb that moisture. The day time will give more than enough time for the lawn to dry out before the evening so you don’t get stuck with Leaf Blight or another lawn disease.
Tip 2: Make sure you are watering enough!
I may sound repetitive here because I keep mentioning watering, but it really is very important for your root system! Since sprinkler systems, soil density, and temperatures vary from lawn to lawn; here is a quick method to make sure your lawn is getting a good soak when it’s needed!
Take a cake pan, bowl, or any other type of low to the ground container that you can use to collect water from your sprinklers. See how long it takes for the pan to fill about an inch, then take that amount of time and multiply it by 5. This is how many minutes you should run your sprinkler at a time. Additionally, you should run it 3-4 times a week.
The reason for this test and I how I determined these number is that 1-2 inches of the water will settle near the roots, and the other 3-4 will evaporate off the lawn without ever reaching the roots. The water under the soil will nourish your root system during the day when it’s hot and it will last 2-3 days.
Tip 3: Make better use of your water!
Lay down a wetting agent like Revive to help the water get deeper into the soil. As mentioned above, most of the water you give to your lawn will evaporate off which can make watering seem like a waste of money. Learn more about our Revive lawn care service!
The temperatures are cooling and your lawn is finally getting a bit of relaxation from the hot sun. Once again, your work is not over! I never said having a lush green lawn was going to be quick and easy, it’s a year-long commitment every year!
Tip 1: Time to thicken up your lawn!
The summer heat can kill off any parts of the lawn that were struggling and make it look thinner. Since the temperatures have dropped and your pre-emergent has worn off, it is now a great time to lay down some seed. The best way to seed is with another aeration. We always say if you like your lawn aerate once a year. If you LOVE your lawn aerate twice a year! After laying down seed, make sure to water twice a day, at least 20 minutes a day for the first 10 days to ensure the grass seed will germinate.
Tip 2: As long as temperatures are above freezing, keep watering your lawn!
It varies year to year, but last year in Colorado we were still experiencing warm temperatures in the late fall. Just because you are used to turning off your sprinkler system and dressing in warm clothes this time of year, doesn’t mean that you will be! If you are still able to get by wearing shorts and sandals, your grass still needs water! Neglecting to do so may cause your grass (and other plants you have been caring for all year) to die, and next spring they may not come back! Once it gets cold enough for the roots to be frozen, the grass will go into dormancy until next spring.
Tip 3: Get a winterizer treatment at the end of the season!
A winter fertilizer (winterizer) will give your root system proper nutrition over the course of the cold months while the lawn is in hibernation!
The growing season might be over, but you’re not. Your root system is hibernating but you still need to be sharp and give the lawn what it needs!
Tip 1: Be aware of the temperature and moisture levels in the air!
Warm and dry winters can cause mite activity! A great precaution is to lay down lawn insect surface control once a month throughout the winter.
Tip 2: Keep your lawn hydrated!
Only water if the temperature is above 40 degrees, you don’t want to water when it’s too cold where it will freeze. Generally, sprinklers systems are turned off at this time, so this will need to be done by hand either with a watering can or hose. The south and west portions that are exposed are most vulnerable to damage.
I hope these tips help you achieve that beautiful green lawn of your dreams! (: If you’re interested in learning more about winter lawn care, read our blog here.