When you’re planting a new lawn, preparation is a crucial part of lawn care. Regardless of whether you are planting with seeds are using rolls of grass, you need to make sure that you prepare the soil properly so that the roots can grow strong and the water can drain. You need to ensure that you have completely de-weeded the area, even if you have to remove some of the soil. This is one of the most important steps, don’t go half-heartedly! Next you should be tilling your ground to a reasonable depth, around 7 or 8 inches. This will help to disturb the soil, which will allow the grasses roots to penetrate deeper into the soil and establish a base, if done correctly the tilling will cause water to drain effectively and water the whole of the roots.
Once this is done you can start to add a layer of compost and loam. This will help to bring nutrients to the soil which will be vital to the health of your lawn. You can mix the compost, loam and topsoil together in roughly equal measures but if you already live in an area with clay and sand rich soil then you can use less loam. Once the soil is down you need to compress it with a roller, or just by walking over it if your lawn isn’t overly big. A roller will always be superior, but if you don’t have one then don’t worry, you just need to pat the soil down.
If you live in a dry part of the country where it’s not raining every week, then you should be watering your grass just like you would any other plant. Rather than watering frequently but lightly, it’s often better to soak the grass once per week. This will prevent pests and allows the water to reach the roots rather than just consistently the top. If you are seeding the lawn rather than rolling out grass then you should water it every single day for about 8 minutes. Once the grass has sprouted you should gradually increase the length of watering, up to 20 minutes once the grass has reached around an inch high.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the most common mistake that people make when caring for their lawn is to cut the grass too short. The reason why this is detrimental is that the longer you let the grass grow, the stronger the root development, which will lead to healthier grass in the long run. Instead, you should shift the blades on your mower to the highest setting, which will keep it looking fresh but also healthy. Another advantage is that taller grass will shade weeds, meaning that there is a reduced chance of them growing. People often believe that cutting it less will mean that they have to mow more frequently, but grass grows incredibly quickly so the difference will be negligible.
When it comes to feeding your lawn you should know what it needs before adding anything. This is important because you don’t want imbalances in nutrients. To prevent wasting money on unnecessary supplements you should first test your soil’s pH levels with a home kit, which you can find at the previous link. Once you’ve seen the results of this test you’ll be able to decide more accurately what your lawn needs. Using an all in one fertilizer is great for your lawn, because it will help to provide the nutrients that your lawn needs, which are often lacking in the topsoil.
I’m sure you’ll have seen people aerating their lawn, walking round prodding holes in the soil? Well there actually is a purpose to this! It helps to break up the soil slightly, which will let water, oxygen and nutrients penetrate to the roots of the grass to stimulate growth. Too often you’ll see people doing this with a garden fork which is far to big, instead you’ll want to get an aerating tool, or use something that has thin, sharp and long spikes. You don’t want to overdo this, so don’t go crazy, just a little occasionally will keep your grass in top shape.