Now is a great time of year to update and enrich your lawn and ensure it looks good throughout your growing season. Having a healthy lawn is an excellent way to enhance the value of your home, improve the attractiveness of your neighborhood and benefit the environment. Here are some key factors about lawns to remember.
Basics of Lawn Care
To make the most of your lawn, be sure it has the four central ingredients to thrive: lots of regular sunlight, the right amount of water, adequate fertilizer and healthy soil. Insufficiencies in any of these will impair your lawn’s growth. Adjusting any of these elements will require varying degrees of effort.
For example, if an overgrown tree is blocking sunlight from your lawn, hire a professional tree trimmer. Or if your lawn is overgrown with weeds like dandelions and crabgrass, apply a lawn fertilizer with weed killer appropriate for your climate and season.
Throughout your lawn’s growing season, be sure your grass is kept at a proper length. Many people cut their grass too short, leaving their lawns vulnerable to drought and insects. If you live in a cooler climate, the ideal lawn length is 2.5-4 inches; in warmer climates, the optimal length is 1-3 inches.
Even if you hire someone to cut your grass, it’s still useful to have your own lawn mower available. Be sure your mower is in good operating condition. In particular, sharpen the mower blade at least once annually. A dull blade hacks at grass, leaving a lawn looking yellow or brown and raggedy.
Also, if you don’t have one already, consider investing in a string grass trimmer. Available in gas or battery-operated versions, a trimmer is a great tool for getting to hard-to-reach spots for a mower, such as along fences and around trees. Plus, a trimmer can usually double as an edging tool for keeping the grass along your driveway or street looking neat.
If you have any bare spots in your lawn, apply grass seed. Get the right seed for your climate and amount of sun exposure (bright sun versus full shade). Once grass seed is applied, gently rake it into the soil, and cover it with a light layer of straw, mulch or grass clippings, and water daily.
Enhance Your Home and Neighborhood
Regularly maintaining and enhancing your lawn can provide a great benefit to you, friends and family and neighbors. Consider the appeal of a well-kept lawn as a readily available recreational area for those in your home, not to mention an aesthetically appealing social gathering space for your visitors.
Think too how your home, through your lawn, complements your neighbors’ well-maintained lawns and makes for a great-looking neighborhood. If you’re living in a particularly lovely and well-kept neighborhood, you owe it to yourself – and your neighbors – to maintain your lawn properly.
When it comes time to sell your home, a great lawn will be a distinct asset. “Curb appeal,” the widely used term to describe a home’s appeal to potential buyers, starts with the yard. That’s why “standard lawn care service” is listed as the most important outdoor home feature to potential buyers, yielding a 267% return on investment, according to a recent report
by the National Association of Realtors. A well-maintained lawn can add as much as 15% to a typical home’s value, according to the Lawn Institute
Provide Environmental Benefits
Besides offering a lush, natural “carpet” of grass underfoot, a healthy lawn also provides multiple environmental benefits. Check out the following environmentally beneficial statistics on lawns from the research experts at the Lawn Institute
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- Oxygen production – A lawn 50 x 50 feet (2,500 square feet) releases enough oxygen for a family of four.
- Pollution, dust and airborne particulate control – Lawns absorb carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride, and peroxyacetyl nitrate (a chemical in smog).
- Runoff prevention – Lawns help protect natural waterways and reduce runoff pollution. A dense, healthy lawn prevents runoff and soil loss from erosion 6 to 18 times greater than bare soil.
- Air conditioning – Just the front lawns of eight average-size houses have the equivalent cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning, while the average home-size central air has only a 3 to 4-ton capacity
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