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The Ultimate Lawn Care 101: Essential Tips and Tricks for a Picture-Perfect Lawn

A well-maintained lawn can do wonders for the appearance of your property and increase your home’s value. Not only that, but it can promote a healthy and safe environment. 
This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about lawn care, including the importance of proper lawn care, essential tools, types of grass, best practices for mowing and watering, and common lawn care challenges and solutions. 
Whether you're a beginner or just looking to improve your lawn care skills, this guide covers you. 

Why Proper Lawn Care is Important

Every homeowner wants a healthy and weed-free lawn. Also, homeowners want their properties well-groomed, meet HOA standards, and have curb appeal that stands out from their neighbors.

Regularly maintaining your lawn and landscape also increases your home’s value on the market. LawnDoctor.com says that you can get between 100% to 200% return on your investment when you spend time and money on lawn maintenance.

And according to the Lawn Institute, a healthy lawn can increase your home’s value by 15%.

You also provide a sustainable environment with a healthy lawn. 

How so?

LoveYourLandscape.org says that a lawn captures carbon and turns it into organic matter that improves soil quality. Your yard captures as much carbon as possible, so regular turf maintenance allows turfgrass to continue this important job. 

A thriving lawn also provides a soft place to land while playing outside. If your kiddos play soccer, football, or anything else in your yard, they’ll have fewer scrapes when they fall on grass compared to 
asphalt or a lawn with many bare patches.

4 Must-Have Tools for a Healthy Lawn

You need the right tools to achieve a vibrant lawn. Here are four must-have tools for a healthy lawn:

1.    Lawn mower
Homeowners have many choices when it comes to lawn mowers. You can buy a lawn tractor that mows and hitches a tow-behind cart or other lawn care equipment. Conversely, you can get a simple push mower or go fancy with a ZTR.

You can buy a battery, electric, robotic, or gas-powered lawn mower. If you have a small urban lawn or lots of tight spaces, you can invest in an old-fashioned reel lawn mower and mow your property within 30 minutes.

Make sure your power mower has a mulching feature and a collection bag feature for chopped grass clippings. 

If you want to boost your lawn’s nitrogen, don’t hook up the grass-clipping collection bag. The tiny grass clippings will absorb into the soil as they decay.

2.    Lawn edger
A lawn edger gives that finishing touch to your yard after you mow it. It provides a clear line between your turf, a flowerbed, a walkway, or other surfaces. 

You can buy a lawn edger with a motor or use a manual edger that requires sweat equity. You can also use a string trimmer to create a defined edge in your yard.

3.    Sprinkler system 
Lawns get thirsty, but water is a precious commodity that needs to be used conservatively. How can you achieve a green lawn while not wasting water?

Consider an in-ground sprinkler system. Today’s sprinkler systems include Bluetooth technology that puts you in charge of how much water is used at a particular time of day.

A sprinkler system allows you to water your lawn less often but deeply with each watering session. Your lawn only needs 1”–2” of water per week, including rainwater. And you can deliver that water amount once a week by setting the sprinkler timer.

4.    Other tools you can purchase or rent for yearly lawn maintenance
To grow a sustainable lawn, you must perform lawn maintenance once or twice a year. So, it makes sense to rent this equipment rather than buy it to sit in your garage or garden shed most of the time.

For example, your warm season lawn should be aerated every two years in the spring. Conversely, if you have a cool season lawn, you need to aerate it in the fall every other year.

If you live in a temperate zone where the sunny parts of your lawn are warm season grasses, and the shade is fescue, you’ll have to aerate every other year in the spring and fall.

Depending on the type of grass you have growing in your yard, you’ll also need to rent a dethatcher. Use a dethatcher on the opposite years from aerating. 

Why would you need to dethatch your lawn?

All turfgrass develops thatch. However, certain turfgrass species grow too much thatch. You can take a garden trowel and dig out a one sq. in. x 1 sq. in. of turf to check the thatch levels. 

Lift your turf out of the ground and check the thatch area, which is tan.

If that tan section measures a half inch, your lawn doesn’t need to be dethatched. However, you should dethatch your yard if the thatch is over half an inch.

What happens if your turf has more than a ½ in. of thatch, but you decide not to dethatch your lawn? Then, your turfgrass is at risk for disease and insect infestation.

Thick thatch traps moisture that leads to disease and invites insects to find a home to chew on your turfgrass.

Mowing Best Practices

Each lawn care job can make or break your turfgrass health. Mowing, believe it or not, can ruin your lawn unless you keep the following best practices in mind:
• Make sure that your mower’s blades are sharp. Dull blades create tears that invite insects and diseases to attack the turf.

 If you have warm season grasses, you’ll mow once a week in the summer when your lawn grows quickly.

• If you have cool season grasses, you’ll mow weekly in the spring and fall when the turf is actively growing.

• Make sure you mow your lawn in the late morning when the dew has dried for the day or in the early evening before the dew settles on your yard. 

• Don’t mow your lawn after it rains.

• Don’t mow your lawn during the hottest part of the day between 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. because you’ll stress the turf.

 Remember: Cool season grasses go dormant when daytime temperatures stay consistently at 85°F or above. Your cool season lawn will go dormant, and you shouldn’t mow until temperatures cool down and there’s adequate rainfall.

 Alter your mowing pattern. One week go up and down your lawn; the next week, go back and forth across your yard; the third week, go diagonal toward the left; and the fourth week, go diagonal toward the right. You can also mow your lawn in a circular pattern.

• Alternating your mowing pattern ensures that your lawn gets an even cut each week and doesn’t develop mower ruts that cause soil compaction.

 Stick to the one-third rule when cutting your grass by only taking off the top third each time you mow.

How K-Rain Keeps Your Lawn Well-Watered without Wasting a Drop

You may live in a municipality with specific days and times when you can water your lawn. Or, you may have a well. No matter where you get your water, it’s vital that you conserve it.
At K-Rain, our water sprinklers are designed to create an even water flow. Buy your K-Rain dripline, bubbler, and lawn sprinkler parts at our online store or at your local Home Depot and Lowe’s. If you have questions about your K-Rain irrigation system parts, call our customer service at 800-735-7246 or fill out our contact form.

Sources:
TheHomeDepot.com, How to Edge a Lawn.
LawnDoctor.com, How to Boost Your Home’s Value with a Beautiful Lawn.
LawnStarter.com, Lawn Mowing Tips: How to Mow a Lawn the Right Way.
LoveYourLandscape.org, Choosing a Lawn Mower.
Ibid, Healthy Lawns and Landscapes Help Fight Climate Change.
Written by K-Rain
2/20/2023
Lawn Care Tips

The Ultimate Lawn Care 101: Essential Tips and Tricks for a Picture-Perfect Lawn

A well-maintained lawn can do wonders for the appearance of your property and increase your home’s value. Not only that, but it can promote a healthy and safe environment. 
This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about lawn care, including the importance of proper lawn care, essential tools, types of grass, best practices for mowing and watering, and common lawn care challenges and solutions. 
Whether you're a beginner or just looking to improve your lawn care skills, this guide covers you. 

Why Proper Lawn Care is Important

Every homeowner wants a healthy and weed-free lawn. Also, homeowners want their properties well-groomed, meet HOA standards, and have curb appeal that stands out from their neighbors.

Regularly maintaining your lawn and landscape also increases your home’s value on the market. LawnDoctor.com says that you can get between 100% to 200% return on your investment when you spend time and money on lawn maintenance.

And according to the Lawn Institute, a healthy lawn can increase your home’s value by 15%.

You also provide a sustainable environment with a healthy lawn. 

How so?

LoveYourLandscape.org says that a lawn captures carbon and turns it into organic matter that improves soil quality. Your yard captures as much carbon as possible, so regular turf maintenance allows turfgrass to continue this important job. 

A thriving lawn also provides a soft place to land while playing outside. If your kiddos play soccer, football, or anything else in your yard, they’ll have fewer scrapes when they fall on grass compared to 
asphalt or a lawn with many bare patches.

4 Must-Have Tools for a Healthy Lawn

You need the right tools to achieve a vibrant lawn. Here are four must-have tools for a healthy lawn:

1.    Lawn mower
Homeowners have many choices when it comes to lawn mowers. You can buy a lawn tractor that mows and hitches a tow-behind cart or other lawn care equipment. Conversely, you can get a simple push mower or go fancy with a ZTR.

You can buy a battery, electric, robotic, or gas-powered lawn mower. If you have a small urban lawn or lots of tight spaces, you can invest in an old-fashioned reel lawn mower and mow your property within 30 minutes.

Make sure your power mower has a mulching feature and a collection bag feature for chopped grass clippings. 

If you want to boost your lawn’s nitrogen, don’t hook up the grass-clipping collection bag. The tiny grass clippings will absorb into the soil as they decay.

2.    Lawn edger
A lawn edger gives that finishing touch to your yard after you mow it. It provides a clear line between your turf, a flowerbed, a walkway, or other surfaces. 

You can buy a lawn edger with a motor or use a manual edger that requires sweat equity. You can also use a string trimmer to create a defined edge in your yard.

3.    Sprinkler system 
Lawns get thirsty, but water is a precious commodity that needs to be used conservatively. How can you achieve a green lawn while not wasting water?

Consider an in-ground sprinkler system. Today’s sprinkler systems include Bluetooth technology that puts you in charge of how much water is used at a particular time of day.

A sprinkler system allows you to water your lawn less often but deeply with each watering session. Your lawn only needs 1”–2” of water per week, including rainwater. And you can deliver that water amount once a week by setting the sprinkler timer.

4.    Other tools you can purchase or rent for yearly lawn maintenance
To grow a sustainable lawn, you must perform lawn maintenance once or twice a year. So, it makes sense to rent this equipment rather than buy it to sit in your garage or garden shed most of the time.

For example, your warm season lawn should be aerated every two years in the spring. Conversely, if you have a cool season lawn, you need to aerate it in the fall every other year.

If you live in a temperate zone where the sunny parts of your lawn are warm season grasses, and the shade is fescue, you’ll have to aerate every other year in the spring and fall.

Depending on the type of grass you have growing in your yard, you’ll also need to rent a dethatcher. Use a dethatcher on the opposite years from aerating. 

Why would you need to dethatch your lawn?

All turfgrass develops thatch. However, certain turfgrass species grow too much thatch. You can take a garden trowel and dig out a one sq. in. x 1 sq. in. of turf to check the thatch levels. 

Lift your turf out of the ground and check the thatch area, which is tan.

If that tan section measures a half inch, your lawn doesn’t need to be dethatched. However, you should dethatch your yard if the thatch is over half an inch.

What happens if your turf has more than a ½ in. of thatch, but you decide not to dethatch your lawn? Then, your turfgrass is at risk for disease and insect infestation.

Thick thatch traps moisture that leads to disease and invites insects to find a home to chew on your turfgrass.

Mowing Best Practices

Each lawn care job can make or break your turfgrass health. Mowing, believe it or not, can ruin your lawn unless you keep the following best practices in mind:
• Make sure that your mower’s blades are sharp. Dull blades create tears that invite insects and diseases to attack the turf.

 If you have warm season grasses, you’ll mow once a week in the summer when your lawn grows quickly.

• If you have cool season grasses, you’ll mow weekly in the spring and fall when the turf is actively growing.

• Make sure you mow your lawn in the late morning when the dew has dried for the day or in the early evening before the dew settles on your yard. 

• Don’t mow your lawn after it rains.

• Don’t mow your lawn during the hottest part of the day between 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. because you’ll stress the turf.

 Remember: Cool season grasses go dormant when daytime temperatures stay consistently at 85°F or above. Your cool season lawn will go dormant, and you shouldn’t mow until temperatures cool down and there’s adequate rainfall.

 Alter your mowing pattern. One week go up and down your lawn; the next week, go back and forth across your yard; the third week, go diagonal toward the left; and the fourth week, go diagonal toward the right. You can also mow your lawn in a circular pattern.

• Alternating your mowing pattern ensures that your lawn gets an even cut each week and doesn’t develop mower ruts that cause soil compaction.

 Stick to the one-third rule when cutting your grass by only taking off the top third each time you mow.

How K-Rain Keeps Your Lawn Well-Watered without Wasting a Drop

You may live in a municipality with specific days and times when you can water your lawn. Or, you may have a well. No matter where you get your water, it’s vital that you conserve it.
At K-Rain, our water sprinklers are designed to create an even water flow. Buy your K-Rain dripline, bubbler, and lawn sprinkler parts at our online store or at your local Home Depot and Lowe’s. If you have questions about your K-Rain irrigation system parts, call our customer service at 800-735-7246 or fill out our contact form.

Sources:
TheHomeDepot.com, How to Edge a Lawn.
LawnDoctor.com, How to Boost Your Home’s Value with a Beautiful Lawn.
LawnStarter.com, Lawn Mowing Tips: How to Mow a Lawn the Right Way.
LoveYourLandscape.org, Choosing a Lawn Mower.
Ibid, Healthy Lawns and Landscapes Help Fight Climate Change.
Written by K-Rain
2/20/2023
Lawn Care Tips