Maintaining Heavy Use Lawns

February 16, 2015

The beauty of a green lawn is always appealing. Maybe you have a large, active family, or you’re charged with keeping a busy company’s grass green and lush. Either way, if you’re struggling to keep the grass green and healthy, you may be dealing with a heavy-use lawn situation. High amounts of foot traffic can tax even the healthiest of yards. Professional groundskeepers know a few tricks that you can use, to keep your lawn looking great even with heavy use.

Let it Grow, Let it Grow, Let it Grow

Set your mower at its highest setting (second-to-the-highest, if you insist). This will allow as much leaf surface as possible to protect the soil and the root system. More importantly, the taller the grass the more it can shield itself against evaporation and sunlight. Sunlight keeps grass green and growing but, if it can reach the soil, it breaks down the natural ability of the grass to protect itself from weeds and pests.

Aerating Your Heavy-Use Lawn

This may be the single most important step to keeping heavy-use grass healthy. Lots of use compacts the soil, preventing the air circulation required by grass root systems. This in turn prevents water and fertilizer from reaching the root system and leads to poor growth, yellowing or browning, and the formation of bare spots.

The Trouble with Thatch

Thatch build-up, especially when paired with soil compaction, creates a barrier that blocks water and nutrients from reaching the soil or the root system. Excess thatch can actually be a side effect of compacted soil, as oxygen is required for thatch to break down and become nutritious to grass. If thatch build-up exceeds 1/2″, it’s time to take action.

How Much Water to Use and When to Fertilize Your Heavy Use Lawn

These factors will of course vary depending on your geographic area, grass variety and the kind of foot traffic. In general, you will water and fertilize heavy-use grass more often than a normal lawn, up to about 1/3 more. Water and fertilizer may have to be adjusted year to year, based on summer heat and rain frequency.

If you are set on handling your heavy-use lawn all alone, your local equipment rental shop may have lawn core aerators available. You can even buy special lawn aerating shoes online that resemble golf shoes or baseball cleats. An easier approach may be to contact All Green Pest Control and Lawn Care for your periodic aeration and dethatching needs. One of our lawn care pros may also have additional advice regarding water, fertilizer, mowing, etc., to help keep your busy yard in top-notch condition.