Growing grass is an easy way to greenify and liven up the space around your home.
But, as is the case with any plant, grass cultivation has its peculiarities that you will encounter sooner or later. In this article, I bring you 11 care hacks about grass you should know to prepare you for that.
Table of content
- 1. Is it ok to walk on new grass seed?
- 2. Did the cold weather kill my grass seed?
- 3. Did I use enough grass seeds on my new lawn?
- 4. How close can the lawn be to a foundation?
- 5. How do I fix dead white patches on my lawn?
- 6. How much topsoil should be laid over hardcore before sowing grass seed?
- 7. Why is my grass growing unevenly?
- 8. Will patchy new grass fill in?
- 9. How to get rid of the dirt that is lying on the grass?
- 10. Aerating with a garden fork: is it making the problem worse?
- 11. How can I remove the orange stains left by grass weed and feed?
- Final thoughts
1. Is it ok to walk on new grass seed?
If you have just planted grass, the last thing you want to do is damage the seeds germinating under the ground. At this stage, grass seeds, and later on grass sprouts, are sensitive as they are developing roots that will enable them to withstand foot traffic, extreme climate conditions, insects, diseases, etc.
You should avoid walking on new grass seeds until the grass reaches three inches of height. Walking on freshly planted grass might lead to improper or no growth at all.
If you have a lawn that, due to its size, prevents you from watering without stepping on it, then consider installing a sprinkling system to avoid damaging the seed and seedlings.
2. Did the cold weather kill my grass seed?
If you live in an area where low temperatures, frost, or even snow are regular, deficient grass seed growth is also a common occurrence.
However, you need to know that cold weather does not kill the grass seeds. Instead, it stops the germination process since unsprouted grass seeds are resistant to low temperatures.
If you notice that grass seeds are not sprouting from the soil after a period of cold weather, they are in hibernation and waiting for the weather to warm up to continue growing.
On the other hand, sprouted grass seeds are much more susceptible to frost and snow and are therefore more likely to die.
3. Did I use enough grass seeds on my new lawn?
A widespread problem that makes new lawn planters wonder if they applied enough seeds during the sowing phase is the small or nonexistent grass growth in some places and normal growth in others.
Even if you have put the proper amount of seeds that correspond to your lawn's surface, there are a few reasons why you might be facing this problem, such as uneven seed distribution, uneven watering, or non-adherence to the best practices when planting grass seeds.
Before taking any action, it is best to wait a couple of weeks to see if the problem areas will fill in. If they don't fill in, proceed to plant seeds in areas with lower or no development of grass.
4. How close can the lawn be to a foundation?
Having grass against a foundation is not some forbidden practice, it is also not a recommended one for two reasons: it is hard to maintain and mow grass that is grown right next to a foundation, and since you have to water the grass regularly, you will in effect be watering the foundation which in the long run can damage it.
Growing your lawn about three feet from the foundation will make it easier for you to mow the grass and take care of it without damaging your home or foundation.
If you are eager to enhance the look of the front or sides of your home, you should consider growing foundation plants such as Hosta or Hydrangea.
5. How do I fix dead white patches on my lawn?
Dead white stops can be easily repaired by implementing one of the two patching methods I listed below.
However, before we move on to those direct solutions, it is first necessary to remind ourselves of the essential rules of lawn maintenance. Ignoring these rules is known to cause the dying grass you see on your lawn.
Here are 6 things you can do to minimize the occurrence of dead white patches:
- Regular watering
- Fertilizing the lawn
- Proper mowing
- Eliminating pests
- Weeding (either manual or by applying weedkiller)
If you are already paying attention to the above rules but still encounter those bald spots, then you can apply one of the following two methods as a treatment:
- Patching with seed (ideally done at the beginning of the growing season)
- Patching with sod (can be applied during most of the growing season).
6. How much topsoil should be laid over hardcore before sowing grass seed?
Laying topsoil over a hardcore layer consisting of bricks, concrete, and other types of rubble is rarely a good idea. Since grass doesn't need too deep of soil to develop its root system, it's doable, but over time improper drainage and aeration of the layer beneath the topsoil will lead to problems such as poor growth and root development, bald patches, and sinking of the soil.
7. Why is my grass growing unevenly?
Uneven grass growth is one of the most common problems you can face as a lawn owner, as many factors can cause it. Below are listed some of the typical culprits of unequal grass development:
- Excessive watering
- Uneven exposure to sunlight
- Unbalanced spreading of the fertilizer
- Uneven ground levels
- Different types of grass seeds in the same soil
- Different types of soil in the same garden
- Poor air permeability in the ground
8. Will patchy new grass fill in?
The answer to this question lies in the cause of the patch.
If you have planted grass that grows laterally (e.g., grass with rhizomes), the grass will fill in; you just need to give it time.
You should also know that grass seeds will germinate and sprout at different rates, so having smaller patchy spots on a newly planted lawn is not uncommon. This is another case where being patient is the best thing to do.
On the other hand, seeds not germinating at all will also cause bare spots, but you will need to patch the soil with seeds in this situation. Other possible causes of bald patches that will require treatment are foot traffic, diseases, pests, animal urine, and lack or excess fertilization.
9. How to get rid of the dirt that is lying on the grass?
Dirt lying on the grass is a common sight if you like to work and dig around your garden. However, if you also want to keep your grass looking clean and tidy, you can achieve this in a couple of simple ways.
One is to use a broom and a dustpan. Sweep as much dirt into the dustpan as possible without damaging the grass. Don't worry about the dirt left in the grass – time and winds will take care of that.
The other way is to water down the dirt with a hose trying to avoid a too strong nozzle that can make damage!
10. Aerating with a garden fork: is it making the problem worse?
Regular aerating (at least once per year) is one of the essential law maintenance principles. It brings benefits such as loosening the compacted soil, healthier root development, better drainage, and richer microbial activity.
Aerating can be done by using a lawn aerating machine or a garden fork.
It's best to aerate a garden with a lawn aerating machine. However, if you don't have such a machine, you can use a regular garden fork to create holes in the garden floor.
Keep in mind that aerating with a garden fork brings forth a problem that we actually want to solve - pushing the fork into the ground will further compact the soil.
11. How can I remove the orange stains left by grass weed and feed?
Anyone who uses use grass weed and feed or fertilizer sooner or later will come across orange stains on the patio, sideway, or driveway.
Those stains might look ugly but fear not, as there is a simple solution to remove them.
All you need is a lemon, water, and a brush. The process is as follows:
- Squeeze a couple of lemons in a glass or some other container
- Pour lemon juice over the stain and leave it for a few minutes to immerse itself into the stain
- Thoroughly scrub the stain with the brush (depending on the size of the stain, you could also use an old toothbrush)
- Leave it for another couple of minutes
- Rinse the stain with water
- If the stain is still there, repeat the previous steps.
It doesn't take too much effort to grow grass successfully. And when we consider how much satisfaction a green, lush lawn brings into our lives, that small effort is definitely worth it.
Hopefully, the hacks listed in this article will make the adventure of cultivating grass even easier for you.