As the warm weather approaches, the time nears to begin cultivating your lush, green lawn. There are a few simple guidelines to maintaining a verdant lawn, and the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) offers some useful advice to help keep your lawn beautiful all spring and summer long.
How much should I water my lawn?
On average, a lawn needs one to two inches of water per week; however, the actual amount your property requires depends on several variables, including amount of rain, type of soil, air temperature, type of grass, relative humidity, degree of sun/shade, soil composition and amount of thatch.
How often does my lawn need to be fertilized?
For best results, a lawn should be fertilized heavily in the fall and lightly in early spring. In fall, fertilize when the intense heat of the summer has subsided. Time your fertilization so the fertilizer will become ineffective before the onset of severe cold weather. In the spring, begin fertilizing early. You may use either slow or quick release fertilizer, but time your fertilization regimen so the fertilizer will be used up before the onset of hot summer weather.
What is the best fertilizer to use?
Slow- or controlled-release fertilizers are recommended. These allow for a more constant feeding over a long period of time. You should apply one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn.
Is it a good idea to add lime to my lawn?
If the pH level is below 6.5, you should add lime to your lawn. Soil nutrients are more readily available to grass at pH 6.5, making the turf healthier and slightly more drought tolerant. Since the soil in our area is naturally acidic, it is a good idea to check your lawn yearly.
Should I use pesticides?
Pesticide use can threaten the purity of our groundwater supply and should be used cautiously, and only when truly necessary. Many people use pesticides to prevent problems that might never arise. Closer evaluation of your lawn may allow you to forgo pesticide treatment. If a problem has been detected, utilizing integrated pest management and mechanical practices to rid your lawn of pests should be investigated. Finally, if using pesticide becomes the only alternative, choose the least toxic one for the specific purpose. It is also important to refer to the directions to learn when the pesticide is most effective.
“By following these guidelines, residents will be on their way to cultivating healthier, more beautiful lawns,” says SCWA Chairman James Gaughran. “At the same time, we will be protecting the environment, preserving water and saving money.”