A healthy green lawn complements a neat house perfectly. However, a lush lawn depends on a number of different factors: healthy soil, fertilizer application, frequency and height of mowing, aeration, dethatching, irrigation and pest control. A properly managed lawn will stay green and attractive much of the year, minimize environmental impact and consume fewer resources. Properly cultivated lawns can outcompete weeds and other pests without the need for applications of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Identify the species of turfgrass comprising the bulk of your lawn. There are a number of freely available online grass-identification tools that can aid in this process. Different varieties of grass have different maintenance needs, and many lawn problems can be traced to planting sites that are ill-suited to a particular type of grass.
Mow grass regularly at a height of 2.5 to 3 inches and leave the clippings on the lawn. Grass clippings will gradually decay and slowly add nitrogen back into the soil. The exact frequency of mowing will vary according to local weather and soil conditions, but as a general rule lawns should be mowed frequently enough to remove no more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. Lawns mowed too low or high can promote weed germination.
Cultivate a healthy soil and minimize the application of fungicide, pesticide and fertilizer. These chemicals can reduce earthworm populations and kill off beneficial insects and bacteria. High applications of fertilizer can encourage thatch buildup as well. Apply such products in moderation, only when necessary. Mowing, aerating, fertilizing and watering at the rate necessitated by the grass type and weather conditions will produce a thick, healthy turf that can fight off pests without the need for harsh chemicals.
Establish the proper irrigation regimen. Measure the output of the sprinkler system in inches per hour and tailor watering sessions to the minimum amount of water required by that grass type per season. Most lawns require between 1 and 2 inches of water per week, including rain. Try to water grass infrequently and deeply rather than for shorter amounts of time each day.
Remove thatch regularly. Thatch comes from the buildup of living and dead plant material on the top layers of the soil and can be especially problematic in lawns fertilized regularly with high-nitrogen fertilizer. Excessive thatch inhibits water absorption and blocks sunlight, as well as providing a haven for insects and other lawn pests. Mechanical dethatching is the most efficient method for removal.
Try organic pest-control methods, such as insecticidal soaps or microbial and botanic pesticides. Traditional chemical pesticides can kill beneficial lawn insects and fungi as well, reducing soil health and grass quality. If chemical pesticides must be used, try to employ spot applications only where absolutely needed rather than a broadcast treatment of the entire lawn.