A beautiful lawn takes work. A few key elements help make sure the work you do pays off in a lush, green lawn. The food and water provided for your lawn are important, but it is even more important to know how, when and how much of each to give your lawn for ultimate absorption.
Fertilize at the Right Time
The best time to fertilize is not in the spring, as many people think. Fertilize your grass in the fall. The reason fall is the best time is that there is no competition from weeds for the food and it gives your grass a long time to get ready for a strong start in the spring when it will have to fight weeds. Even though grass is not growing in the fall and winter, the roots continue to develop and build up to give your spring grass strong support.
Frequency of Water
Water deeply and let your lawn dry out well between watering. This sets up your grass to overpower weeds and keep them choked back. Drying out the ground between watering forces your grass to search deep into the soil for water; weed roots live near the surface. Water well to give the grass plenty of nutrients and then let it dry out just enough to encourage it to keep reaching further. When the top 2 inches of soil are completely dry and dusty to the touch, the grass blades also begin to curl slightly. This is the perfect time to water.
Amount of Water
You need to give your grass enough water to feed it, but not so much that it drowns it. Too much water is weed paradise, too, so that's another good reason to be careful about the amount of water you use. You can use two good methods for determining the level of water in the soil. The first test is to take a soil sample from 2 or 3 inches below the surface. If the soil clumps into a ball when you squeeze it and does not fall apart, it has plenty of water. A neater, easier method is to put a foam or plastic cup on the lawn and mark a 1-inch level from the bottom of the cup. Make sure your lawn gets 1 inch of water per watering.
Make sure the water you provide is actually getting to the root system of your grass. Water half of the amount desired. Stop the water and wait for the surface of the lawn to dry up, then water the second portion of the water. Watering in stages allows all of the water to soak into the earth instead of pooling up on top and running off away from the desired area.