How to Improve soil in your lawn

You can tell grass is growing in a healthy, fertile soil because it will be darker green and the blades will stand up instead of laying down or curling. You’ll also see clumps of thatch coming off as you drag a rake through your lawn. This thatch should never grow over ¼ inch thick. If it does, aerating your lawn will do wonders to improve its health and appearance. More on aerating below.

How to Improve soil in your lawn

The first step to having a thick, healthy lawn is improving your soil. You can do this by aerating and adding nutrients. Aeration works because you are removing small plugs of dirt from the ground, allowing water and nutrients to more easily reach the roots of your grass. Next, add fertilizer and compost (decomposed organic matter) according to the directions on the package. If you want an even thicker lawn that will be more resistant to disease and heat stress, consider over seeding with a blend of finer fescue grasses such as Chewings fescue, hard fescue or sheep fescue.

Steps to improve soil in your lawn

Step 1: Test your soil

The first step to improving the soil in your lawn is figuring out what kind of soil you have. An easy way for you to do this without hiring someone with a fancy machine is to grab several handfuls of dirt from different areas of your yard, put them in separate Ziplock bags, and throw those into a bucket of water. After about 20 minutes, the soil that has sunk to the bottom is mostly sand, which drains quickly and requires a lot of irrigation on your part. The dirt at the top is mostly clay – it feels slick and looks shiny when wet, but dries hard as a rock. It doesn’t drain well so you have to be careful about overwatering or else it can turn into cement in your lawn (we’ve all seen that happen with sidewalks).

The middle section will most likely contain small bits of gravel and rocks; this soil is known as loam and is exactly what grass likes best. When considering how to improve your lawn’s health, focus on getting more loamy soil and less sand and clay.

Step 2: Aerating

Aerating helps improve water infiltration into the soil and provides a pathway for air to move through the root zone, which reduces thatch and stimulates microbial activity in the soil. This benefits grass roots by improving their access to oxygen, water, nutrients, and carbon dioxide while reducing compaction from excess thatch or heavy use areas.
Aerating helps improve water infiltration into the soil and provides a pathway for air to move through the root zone, which reduces thatch and stimulates microbial activity in the soil. This benefits grass roots by improving their access to oxygen, water, nutrients, and carbon dioxide while reducing compaction from excess thatch or heavy use areas.

Step 3: Fertilize

The second step to improving your lawn’s health is to fertilize it. You can do this with granular fertilizer or fertilizer pellets that you scatter on the grass, but if you’re not careful, over-fertilizing can be just as bad as under-fertilizing. Over-fertilized areas often turn a sickly yellow and the grass there will be greener than it should be. Not only does this look ugly, but it also means the extra nutrients in those spots are drawing away moisture from other parts of your lawn where it’s needed more. Limit yourself to once every two months during peak growing season (spring) and avoid fertilizing until the soil has had time to settle and compact.

Step 4: Mow high

The third step is to mow your lawn as high as possible. The additional height allows the blades to capture more sunlight and they will also shade the roots, preventing them from getting too warm and overheating. It may take some time for you to get used to walking on a taller grass, but you’ll appreciate it during those hot summer days!

Maintaining your lawn’s soil health is one of the best things that can be done for your yard. Not only will it keep your grass growing at its optimal rate, but it will make sure fertilizers work better and last longer which means less money out of your pocket every season. And who wouldn’t want that?

So now that we’ve gone over the basics of how to improve your lawn’s soil health, you can check out our other articles on how to water grass and how to change the composition of your soil.

FAQ’s

Brown patches appearing on my lawn during winter

When winter is approaching, it is possible that you have been noticing the brown patches starting to appear in your lawn. This often happens if you overwater or underwater, as grass needs consistent moisture to be healthy. It also could happen because the soil has become too compacted as well as not having enough nitrogen for proper chlorophyll production. Ensure your soil has enough air by aerating it every year before winter starts so grass can continue growing all through the fall season. You can do this easily yourself with a manual aerator but be sure to remove any debris from the holes afterwards so they don’t fill back up again from rainfall. To add nitrogen, you can fertilize in the fall when the grass is growing the most through early November. You want to apply a high nitrogen fertilizer that is meant for warm season grasses, as this is when they are most active growth-wise.

Why to test soil before fertilize accordingly

Fertilizing your lawn should be done in accordance with a soil test. Results from this testing will let you know what type of nutrients your grass needs and how often they need to be applied through various means such as top dressing or mulching. Fertilize when grass starts actively growing and do not fertilize if the temperature has recently gone below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius.) The chemicals within fertilizers can make young plant stems weaker and break easily when exposed to cold temperatures.

What is the best time to fertilize your lawn

The best time to fertilize is early spring and late summer. The first fertilizer of the season should be applied when grass begins actively growing again after its dormant period. This will help improve root growth and aid in weed suppression. The second round of fertilizer should be applied around mid-late summer, it will supply nutrients which promote seed head formation and strengthen deep roots for overwintering.

Why it is advised to mow high

Mowing high can help Improve Your Lawn soil by reducing thatch build up over time by allowing sunlight to reach the soil surface as well as reduce some lawn diseases such as brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani) and red thread (Laetisaria fuciforme.) Mow your lawn at a height between 3″ – 4″ to Improve Your Lawn soil. When grass is mowed appropriately it prompts the root system below to develop stronger and send up new growth.
Another benefit of maintaining your lawn at this height is reduced weed infestation because weeds do not grow into that tall of an area in order to get sunlight like your desired grasses do. This means that weed seeds will not have the opportunity to germinate, which in turn will reduce the amount of time and money spent on weed control.

Similar Posts