10 Next-Level Lawn Care Tips

Water and fertilizer are just the starting point for a healthy lawn.

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1. Raise Your Deck

Allowing your lawn to mature and grow a tad longer can help it establish a better root system and become more lush and full. If you feel like your lawn needs a boost, try raising your lawnmower deck one or two settings and track the results.

2. Keep Those Blades Sharp

Every spring is the ideal time to make sure that your blade, on a push or riding mower, will cut effortlessly through grass. Blades of grass turn brown if cut by a dull blade, putting your lawn at risk for diseases and heat stress.

3. Brown Isn't Dead

A brown lawn isn't always a dead lawn. Certain strains of grass go dormant and hibernate in the winter. A result of this is a brown lawn, which may look dead, but it is really just protecting itself. Keep watering on a consistent schedule to keep your lawn alive. Once it warms up you'll see green reappear.

4. Avoid Too Many Chemicals

The lawn care aisle at your local nursery or Home Depot has enough chemicals to make your head spin. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you need to treat your lawn for every little brown spot or weed. Be patient. It's often better to err on the side of fewer chemicals than more.

5. Mulch Lawn Clippings

Bagging your lawn clippings may result in a cleaner lawn, but mulching is the more economical and healthier way to treat your lawn. Your lawn will feed on the clippings, which will require less fertilizer and less waste.

6. Patch Yellow Spots

Small yellow or brown spots can be the result of a low-lying area of your lawn that receives to0 much water, which is rotting the grass. Chemicals will do nothing to fix this. Instead, raise this low area with soil and compost, and watch it sprout green again.

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7. Aerate Once Per Year

Aerating is a necessary task that allows your lawn to take in more nutrients. It's best done when your lawn is thriving. You can use a β€”or simply wear these while mowing.

8. Don't Water Every Day

There's no need to water your lawn every day. In fact, overwatering can be just as damaging to a lawn as not watering it enough. It's better to water your lawn deeply every few days as opposed to regular light sprinkles. Avoid evaporation loss and rot by watering in the early morning.

9. Test Your Soil

Before adding fertilizer, you should test your soil to determine what nutrients it needs. You can send your soil off to a lab, but an easier way is with a home .

10. Fertilize at the Right Rate

It may not seem important, but the speed at which you walk behind a fertilizer spreader helps determine if the chemicals are being applied at the necessary rate. Walking too fast means that the fertilizer will be overspread and the chemicals will not go as far as needed, which means you will need to apply more. Walking too slowly and not spreading enough can get poor results, leading you to, once again, apply more fertilizer.

Bonus: How to Decode Fertilizer Chemistry

American lawns typically have cool-weather grasses, so fall fertilization is more important than spring fertilization. To promote winter nutrient storage and subsequent spring root growth, fall lawn fertilizer has higher levels of potassium--a spring fertilizer may consist of a 30-3-4 NPK ratio (30 parts nitrogen, 3 parts phosphorus and 4 parts potassium), but a fall fertilizer may have a ratio of 22-3-14, or more than three times the potassium of the spring product. Seed starter blends have a phosphorus-heavy NPK of 18-24-6. Nitrogen promotes growth and chlorophyll formation. All lawn fertilizers contain lots of nitrogen, but it's particularly prominent in spring/summer blends. Phosphorus helps establish roots in grass grown from seed or sod. Buy low- or no-phosphorus fertilizer if you're not establishing seeds--the runoff harms waterways by promoting aquatic weed growth. Potassium contributes to overall plant health, stress resistance and heat and cold tolerance. Combined with nitrogen, potassium helps the plants form carbohydrates over the winter.

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