Lawn grasses provide the most common type of ground covers for use in parks, yards and sporting fields. This type of ground cover protects against soil erosion in areas along roadways and slopes. Small, individual plants make up large stretches of the green grass we call lawns. Grass plants, like all plants, require certain elements to survive and thrive in the landscape. Healthy, strong lawns eliminate the need for expensive repairs and unnecessary chemical agents.
Plant your grass in good soil to ensure healthy growth. Test your soil before planting a new lawn. This simple, inexpensive action can save you years of fighting with an unhealthy lawn. Add all soil amendments recommended by your soil test results to repair any existing soil problems. Add some organic compost to loosen heavy, compact soils, such as those with high amounts of clay. Combine your amendments into your topsoil with a garden tiller.
Choose a grass variety suitable for your climate and location. Pick shade-tolerant varieties for use in areas that receive minimal exposure to bright sunlight. Plant a seed mixture that contains a variety of grass seeds suitable for your location. These mixtures work well on a variety of soils. Follow the seeding instructions when planting a new lawn from seed.
Water your lawn regularly to provide consistent moisture near the roots. Lawns require periodic applications of water to moisten the soil near the roots. Avoid frequent, light watering sessions that encourage shallow roots in lawn grasses. Check the moisture near the level of the roots by digging a small hole in your lawn about 4 inches deep. Insert the tip of your finger into the hole to check for moisture at this level. Cool, moist soil at this level confirms that the water reaches the roots. Dry, crumbly soil beneath the surface indicates too shallow watering. Most lawns require about 2 inches of water every week.
Mow your lawn to maintain an even height throughout the growing season. Mow to the longer height recommended for your variety of grass. Avoid tearing and damaging the grass by using a sharp blade that cuts cleanly. Do not cut more than one-third of the length of the grass blades during a single cutting. Leave the grass clippings on the lawn to act as mulch and to fertilize the soil.