Beautiful, Green Grass!
In this month's blog, we are going to talk about grass care! Everybody loves a beautifully manicured lawn, but few are willing to put in the extra effort needed to take your lawn from average to the best lawn on the block. In Santa Fe, we have extra problems to contend with: minimal rain, the need for water conservation, and dry, brutal winters. All of this makes Santa Fe a very hard environment to grow grass. But it can be done! We hope these tips will help you achieve your lush lawn goals. As much as we would like to believe that all you have to do is water your lawn “x” number of times, we know this is not the truth. Some of the things to consider are winter, spring, summer, and fall fertilizers, irrigation systems, weed removal, cutting grass to the proper height, insects, and moles; combined, this seems to quickly overwhelm anyone thinking of putting in a lawn. While we can't account for everything, these tips should help you on your path to the greener grass that is on the other side!
The first thing you need to understand about grass is whether your grass is a cool or warm-season grass. A quick explanation is cool-season grass will grow fastest during spring and fall, while warm-season grass grows fastest during the summer. If you have cool-season grass and you are frustrated that your grass isn't doing its best in the summer, well now you know! The next thing you need to consider is a fertilization plan. Just like we can't thrive on only water, neither can grass. Fertilizers provide the grass with nutrients and food, with the main nutrients being Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Each of these macronutrients provides the grass with building blocks for certain things. For example, Nitrogen is responsible for the production of green grass blades, while Phosphorus is responsible for root growth. In an ideal world, you could just give your lawn lots and lots of fertilizer and it would grow big and healthy, and you wouldn’t have to worry about it. But as with everything in life, fertilizing is a balance. Add too much nitrogen and you can burn your lawn, causing unsightly yellow dead patches. This also happens when a dog urinates on your lawn. A good fertilizing plan will have higher amounts of Nitrogen during growing months, and a higher amount of Phosphorus during the dormant, winter months. Next, we need to consider bug and weed control. Nothing is worse than sitting down to have a picnic and getting attacked by hundreds of tiny gnats that seem to have an attraction to your eyes and mouth. Then again, the dozens of dreaded dandelions in your lawn might be just as bad. Some fertilizers have both insect and weed control built-in, so if you are looking for a simple fix, that may be the way to go. Watering is going to be the key to whether your lawn struggles or thrives. Many factors affect the amount of water your lawn needs, including shade provided by trees and your home, windows reflecting sunlight on the lawn, wind flow paths, thatch, grass height, unequal sprinkler spray, etc. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, but the general consensus is about 1" of water per week. If you purchase several rain gauges and place them throughout your lawn, you can hone in on the exact time needed to achieve that 1". But remember it's not 1 inch all at once! Also, make sure to keep a regular watering schedule (we usually schedule irrigation for early morning Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). The final thing to consider is grass height. If you cut your grass too short, the soil will get hot. The heat will cause the water to evaporate faster, which will dry out your grass, causing you to use more water. You also don’t want to let your grass get too long either. The sweet spot is between 2.5-3" tall.
Even though this blog may have seemed overwhelming, once you get the hang of it it'll be a lot easier. If you feel like this is something you would rather have someone else take care of, you know you can always reach out to us and we will gladly help you achieve healthier grass!