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Are You a New Homeowner? Lawn Care 101 for Beginners

Buying a new home is an exciting experience; one that comes with a whole new set of responsibilities. Among these responsibilities is taking proper care of your yard and lawn. Nothing makes a home look more beautiful on the outside than a green, vibrant carpet of grass. Some of your best memories will be spent in your backyard, entertaining friends and family. Increase your new home’s curb appeal & enjoy your yard with these lawn care tips for beginners!

First Things First: Mowing

No matter what the season, it's important to mow your lawn regularly. Keep your mower blades sharp at all times because dull blades tear the grass, making it susceptible to stress. Taller grass absorbs more moisture and grows deeper roots, which is why it is a good idea to keep your turf longer during the summer months. When the weather is cooler, it's okay to take a little more off the top. Not sure which mower to buy? Consider purchasing a mulching mower -- a mowing system that will return your grass clippings back to the soil. These clippings will help keep moisture levels steady!

General mowing tips include:

  • Avoid mowing your grass when it’s wet or when it’s dark out.

  • Keep your mower's blade sharp.

  • Don't cut more than one-third of the grass in one sitting.

  • Don't cut your grass too short -- 3 inches for Fescue and 2 inches for Bermuda.

  • Mow your lawn in a different direction with each mowing.

Watering: Your Lawn Is Thirsty, Too!

Just like humans and pets, your lawn gets thirsty too! Grass needs water to grow, but deciding how much water your lawn needs can be tricky. Give it too little water and it won't do any good, but give it too much water and your grass could develop diseases. In the summer, water your lawn 2-3 times a week, allowing it to soak into the roots. If you have trouble figuring out the right amount of water to keep your grass hydrated, consider installing an irrigation system.


General watering tips include:

  • Water your lawn in the morning between 5 AM - 9 AM.

  • Water about 1.5-2 inches per week.

  • Let your lawn air out in between rain before you water it again.

Fertilizing: Feed Your Lawn

You will often hear people refer to fertilization as ‘feeding’ their lawn. Fertilizer provides the nutrients your grass needs to thrive. Here in Tennessee, the best time to fertilize your lawn is in the spring when it's actively growing. We also recommend fertilizing your lawn throughout the summer to ensure your lawn is getting the nutrients it needs during the most stressful months. Many factors determine exactly when your grass needs fertilization and which type of fertilizer your grass needs, including the:

  • Type of grass

  • Type of soil

  • Weather conditions

A professional lawn care service can eliminate the guesswork and help you provide the right fertilization for your grass!

Don’t Let Weeds Take Over Your Lawn

Nothing ruins the look of a lawn quite like weeds and diseases. A former healthy, green lawn can easily turn into a brown, weedy mess if not properly taken care of. Pre-emergent herbicides can help control weeds by stopping them from germinating. They should be applied early in the growing system to be most effective. If your lawn already has weeds, pre-emergents won't help. Post-emergent herbicides, on the other hand, will tackle existing weeds. If your lawn is stressed, you have to be careful about what you apply-- sometimes hand-pulling weeds is the best solution.

The best way to avoid weeds altogether is to take good care of your lawn throughout the year as a preventative measure. This includes:

  • Mowing your lawn regularly and frequently

  • Watering your lawn deeply and consistently

  • Fertilizing your lawn throughout the entire year.

  • Aerating your lawn in the fall or spring depending on your grass type.

  • Sodding or seeding your lawn to fill in patchy areas.

Keep Your Lawn Protected From Grubs

Grubs are small, C-shaped white larvae that feast on the roots of your grass. Not only does this damage your lawn, but it also makes it easier for weeds to take hold. The best way to protect your lawn from grubs is to water deeply and infrequently. This encourages deep root growth, which makes it harder for grubs to reach the roots of your grass.

If you have a grub problem, you can treat your lawn with an insecticide. But be sure to read the label carefully-- some insecticides will kill beneficial insects as well as pests. If you feel like the grub problem is getting worse, you might want to get some professional help as well to keep your lawn healthy.

Give Your Lawn A Breath of Fresh Air

When the fall months leave you with hard, compacted soil from heavy foot traffic, aeration can be the ideal solution for cool-season grass. During aeration, you use an aerator to pull up soil plugs or a spike aerator to poke holes in the soil. The holes create a pathway for delivering oxygen, moisture, and valuable nutrients to the roots of your grass. Following that with overseeding allows your lawn to fill in bare spots and enhance the color of your lawn.
Before aerating, it is important to dethatch. Thatch is the layer of dead and living shoots, stems, and roots that become built up between the vegetation and soil surface. It's high in lignin which means it resists microbial breakdown. Dethatching removes buildup, so it is less susceptible to diseases and pests.

There are many benefits to aeration, including:

  • Improved air exchange

  • Enhanced soil and fertilizer uptake

  • Improved fertilizer

  • Reduced soil compaction

  • Improved resiliency

  • And more!

Tip: For better penetration, your lawn should be moist before attempting aeration. If the soil is dry, the aerators will be unable to penetrate the soil deeply.

Hire a Professional and Save Time and Energy

Maintaining your lawn all year can be challenging, especially if you don't have the time necessary to do it well. When you have a job and a family to take care of, yard work understandably comes last on the priority list. Here at Southern Spray, we have extensive lawn care knowledge and experience necessary to care for your lawn in every season. Our lawn care technicians service Memphis, Nashville, and its surrounding areas! We'll provide it with the nutrients and attention it needs to stay healthy and vibrant all year long.

Do you want the lawn of your dreams without the hard work?

Learn more about our lawn care services today!