Ways To Take Care of Your Cool-Season Grass
A beautiful lawn starts with selecting the right type of grass and planting it at the proper time in a soil rich in nutrients. Proper maintenance will keep it growing and looking its best.
In New England where winter temperatures drop below freezing, Cool-Season grasses grow best. Popular cool-season grasses include: Bluegrass, Perennial ryegrass, Tall fescue, Fine fescue.
For grass to grow into a healthy state, the soil must have the proper amount of nutrients and a balanced PH level. Have your soil tested at your local agriculture high school or by a lawn service center.
The best time to plant cool-season grasses is early fall because this allows for more growing time under ideal growth conditions-the fall and spring growing seasons. In some cases, planting in both fall and spring (2 times) can work to increase successful cover on problem areas.
Cool-season grasses grow best when the soil temperatures are between 50 and 65 degrees. Dormancy often occurs at temperatures above 90 and below 50 degrees. Basically, they stop growing when dormancy occurs.
Mow on a regular basis – In spring, mow once a week with the blades at their highest setting, and gradually lower them as growth accelerates. Tall grass is heathier. Grass should never be shorter than two inches and preferably 3-5 inches. Sharpen mower blades regularly; Dull blades will shred the grass blades leaving them ragged and vulnerable to further damage.
Feed your grass with a fertilizer that is nitrogen-heavy in a slow-release form. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient you can add to your lawn. For cool-season grasses, the ideal time to fertilize is October, November and February.
Use organic fertilizer when possible. Organic fertilizer is made from animal or plant products decompose into proteins and carbohydrates that feed earthworms and microbes on your lawn. Earthworms and microbes will ensure well-aerated soil and fast decomposition of grass clippings.
Water properly –a good soaking every two to three days is going to be more beneficial than a little watering every day. Water in late evening or early morning.
Cool-season grasses typically go dormant in hot weather, turning brown but ready to revive when cool weather returns. It is possible to prevent this with heavy watering, but once it goes dormant, do not try to revive it until hot weather passes.
Aerate your yard once or twice a year. A lawn aerator, available from tool rental companies, removes plugs of soil from your lawn to improve aeration and drainage. Leave the plugs on the lawn to decompose.
Improve poor grass in shady areas. If your grass does poorly in shade, water less frequently but very deeply. Fertilize 1/3-1/2 as much as the sunny areas and mow to 3 inches or higher.