Tips for a Luscious Charlotte Lawn
By Jacob Palmer
Americans spend a fortune on their lawns, with spending climbing tonearly $48 billion in 2018. But it isn’t necessary to break the bank to have a vibrant yard. By employing a few basic guidelines and principles, most homeowners can maintain an enviable lawn. This region is on your side, thanks to four relatively mild seasons and a healthy amount of rainfall. But even the best conditions won't produce a perfect outcome without some help. Here are some tips for creating a luscious Charlotte lawn.
Know Your Type
Successful lawn care begins with knowing what type of grass covers your lawn. There are two categories of turfgrass: cool-season and warm-season grasses. Because of North Carolina's relatively mild weather, both types of grass are grown successfully. Each type has specific needs when it comes to mowing heights, water needs and shade tolerance. Learn which grass variety is right for you in your small slice of Charlotte.
Mow Like a Pro
Proper mowing techniques are critical to maintaining a healthy lawn. Never mow more than one third off of the height of your lawn at one time. If your grass has grown a bit shaggy, you’re better off doing several small mows than one severe one. Taking off too much at a time can stress the grass and prevent the growth of deep roots. And deep roots are one of the keys to lawn success stories.
The same mowing schedule that worked wonders in the winter is not going to cut it in the summer. Make sure you up your game to keep pace with rapid grass growth in warmer months. While once or twice a month mowings may work in the winter, come summer it may be necessary to mow twice a week.
Mow High and Dry
Setting the mower blades to a higher setting helps to stimulate deep root growth. The deeper the roots, the less water, and fertilizer it needs. Only mow when the grass is dry. Mowing wet grass will lead to dulling the mower blades, clumping of grass, and the spread of disease.
Practice Mower Maintenance
Exceptional lawn care begins with well-maintained equipment. Keep your mower blades sharp to ensure a clean cut. Dull blades tear grass, creating stress, brown patches, and inviting pests. Tune up your mower, sharpen blades and change the oil at the beginning of each spring to keep your machine purring like a kitten.
Leave Clippings Down
While many homeowners choose to bag their lawn clippings, if you mow regularly, there should be no need to. Clippings are full of nutrients and can help to fertilize your turf between feedings.
Water Just Right
There are some excellent guidelines for watering Charlotte lawns, but most will benefit from an inch of irrigation per week. If you’re not sure, just let your lawn tell you. Thirsty lawns will take on a blueish cast and footprints will leave lingering impressions minutes after the lawn has been walked on. Watering at this point will keep the lawn from being damaged. Remember that long, deep waterings given at longer intervals are better than shallow, frequent waterings.
Feed as Needed
The best times to fertilize are late winter and early spring, just ahead of our prime grass growing period. A fertilizer with 16 percent nitrogen, 4 percent phosphate and 8 percent potash is ideal for cool-season grasses. A 10-10-10 fertilizer is better for most warm-season grasses.
It may seem like a lot of work, but in truth, once you get into a rhythm of lawn care, it should come naturally. All that time and attention will pay off when your lawn is the envy of the neighborhood.
Jacob Palmer is a gardening and landscape design writer. When mowing lawns on his street as a child, he discovered a lifelong passion for landscape design. He now has three children who can all be found helping him most weekends with his next big garden project.