Updated: Jun 7, 2021
The grass doesn’t have to be greener on the other side. Learn how to make grass greener so your lawn can be the envy of the neighborhood. With a bit of research and work, you can achieve the green grass of your dreams.
This guide will teach you how to get green grass. It’ll outline how to test soil and fertilize it according to what your lawn needs. You’ll also learn how to best care for the type of grass you have.
1. Test Soil
Roots depend on healthy, nutritious soil to grow green and lush grass. Test soil annually to see what amendments your lawn needs. Giving your soil exactly what it’s craving promises stronger, healthier and greener grass.
Use a soil test kit to measure its pH and mineral levels. You can also contact your county’s cooperative extension office for a soil test. Either way, this information will help you know how to make grass greener on your property.
To get the most fertile soil, it needs to have the right nutrients for your grass to thrive:
A 7 on the pH scale is neutral.
Lawns generally like a range of 5.8-7.2 pH.
On the whole, cold season grass likes a higher soil pH.
Warm-season grass does better with more acidic soil.
You may need to balance the pH in your soil to get the greenest lawn possible. Lime increases the pH of your soil, but add it only if your lawn prefers it. If you’re in a rainy climate, you’re more likely to need lime soil amendments. Lots of rainfall can wash away nutrients.
A big part of knowing how to make your lawn greener is choosing the right fertilizer. Lawn fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. These nutrients support the grass. That way, it grows strong from the roots and stays green, healthy and lush. Nitrogen is especially important for getting beautiful green grass.
As with other aspects of lawn care, when you apply fertilizer depends on your lawn type:
Cool-season grass generally needs fertilizer at both the beginning of spring and fall.
Warm-season lawns need more frequent fertilizer. They love hot summer weather and grow throughout it.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying fertilizer. Adding too little isn’t economical, but adding too much can actually burn your lawn. Spread the fertilizer as directed and water afterward.
3. Kill Weeds and Unwanted Insects
Weeds and crabgrass can mar an otherwise perfect lawn. For best results, treat weeds before they begin to grow. If weeds have already taken root in your lawn, there are three solutions:
Dig up individual weeds.
Apply fertilizer that includes herbicide to your whole lawn.
Spot-treat weeds with weed killer.
Dig Up Weeds
You can dig up weeds if you prefer a natural route. A spade, kneepads, top soil and determination are all you need to get rid of weeds the old-fashioned way. Make sure you remove the roots when digging up weeds by hand. Those tap roots can grow deep.
Apply a Fertilizer with Herbicide to Your Whole Lawn
Digging up weeds may be overwhelming if your lawn is large. In that case, try using a fertilizer with a built-in weed killer, or herbicide. This way, you add the nutrients lawns need. At the same time, you also prevent crabgrass and other weeds from sprouting.
Depending on what your lawn needs, choose from an herbicide that takes out broadleaf weeds, clover or crabgrass. A broadleaf killer leaves grass alone and targets weeds, so it’s a common choice. Look at the weeds you’ve got to choose the right herbicide. The weed killer component is targeted to the problem growth.
Apply Herbicide to Individual Weeds
You might also choose to apply a separate weed killer on only the offending growth. Should you go that route, wear the proper safety equipment. A respirator and rubber gloves are a must. Closely follow the instructions on the bottle or bag.
Get Rid of Bugs in Your Lawn
If your lawn is prone to unwanted pests such as moles, use a lawn pest control treatment. Follow the directions on the package. Old ant hills may need to be dug up once the inhabitants are gone. You’d then need to fill and reseed the resulting hole to get your lawn green again.
When your lawn is strong and healthy, that alone will help prevent weeds. A green lawn without bare spots doesn’t leave weeds anywhere to sprout, so it’s easier to maintain.
4. Use Grass Seed
Grass seed is an excellent fix for brown or barren spots. Concentrate the seed on bare patches left by old weeds or thinned out by walking. To make sure your lawn is one beautiful shade of green, make sure to match your grass seed type to the existing grass in your lawn.
If your entire lawn is looking a bit threadbare, try overseeding. Despite the name, overseeding isn’t putting down too much grass seed. It simply means spreading seed over a lawn that’s already grown. Fresh growth is an easy fix for reviving a worn lawn.
Overseeding is key to enjoying a beautiful green lawn year-round. Use a seed spreader or scatter seeds by hand. Making sure your lawn has both warm- and cool-season grass means that some blades are almost always growing.
If you’ve got warm-season grass, overseed with cool-season seed.
Similarly, overseed a cool-season lawn with warm-season grass seed.
After you’ve seeded your lawn, fertilize and water it. It’s especially important to keep the ground moist. Grass seeds need water to sprout and grown successfully. Covering freshly laid seed with pine straw will help cut down on evaporation.
5. Water Your Lawn
It may seem obvious, but keeping your lawn watered is critical for lush and green grass. You'll need to assure your lawn gets 1 inch of water per week. If it’s not raining regularly, set up a sprinkler.
Alternatively, make watering your yard part of your morning routine. It’s best to water early, before the sun gets hot and evaporates the water. Give your grass a good drink to start the day. It helps your lawn weather the stress and heat of hot summer afternoons.
Knowing how to get green grass means learning that new grass seed is on a different watering schedule. For best results, follow this timetable:
Water lightly twice a day for four days. As with all lawns, watering when the sun isn’t high is best.
For next five days, water every other day.
After that, water that area with the rest of your lawn.
6. Aerate Your Lawn
As you play and walk on the lawn, you compact the soil. This makes it hard for grass roots to take in air, nutrients and water. Your lawn might not look as green as it once did.
Just as fresh air invigorates people, it also enlivens grass roots. Help your lawn breathe by aerating when the time is right. You’ll notice a difference in your lawn’s health and see greener grass.
Aerate in the early spring or early fall for cool-season grass.
Late spring or early summer is the best time to aerate warm-season lawns.
Tip: Avoid aerating your lawn when it’s dormant or wet.
You can rent or purchase a lawn aerator to help your grass get more oxygen to the roots. Choose from a spike or a core aerator:
A spike aerator has spurs that dig into the earth as you roll the tool along.
A core or plug aerator uses hollow tines to cut out small cylinders of earth.
Either method will work. Just move the tool along like a push mower. Your lawn will appreciate it.
You can overseed directly after aerating if you’d like. You may also simply wait for time and nature to perk up your lawn.
Now you know how to make your grass greener, and it’s time to get to work!
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