An excellent residential landscape begins with the grass and your lawn landscape maintenance program. Following are some best practices to help your lawn thrive.
In Houston, a lawn landscape maintenance schedule typically means trimming weekly through the warm/hot months and every other week in the cooler months.
Water long and less often–and it will provide deeper water penetration, which gives grass (and your other plant material, too) stronger root systems. Deeper roots make for a more drought-resistant lawn. Another important benefit from watering less often is saving money on your water bill. A tip for the fall and winter months: run your irrigation system in the late morning. It reduces the likelihood of standing water, which creates a perfect breeding ground for fungus.
Meet Your Friend, Aeration
Due to the clay soil found in this area, most Houston lawns need aeration twice per year. (However you really can’t aerate enough, so the more often the better.) Lawn aeration, also called core aeration, is the recommended lawn care practice for compacted, heavily-used turf and to control thatch build-up.
Lawn aeration removes small soil plugs or cores out of the lawn using a core aerator. The aerator extracts ½- to ¾-inch diameter rounds of soil and deposits them on the lawn. You may hear of another type of aerator which pushes solid spikes or tines into the soil without removing a plug, a procedure known as spiking. It is not as effective as core aeration in Houston because of our dense soil. Spiking has been known to actually contribute to compaction.
Weed and Feed
Fertilization and chemical applications present the next important part in a lawn landscape maintenance program as they provide a boost to healthy turf and prevent diseases and infestations common to the Houston area.
Optimally, lawns need to be fertilized four times per year. By the way, your shrubs, ground covers and vines should be on a similar schedule, so you might as well do them all at the same time.
For the Long Haul
Winter rye is a great addition to a landscape maintenance plan by providing a way for your lawn to stay beautiful throughout the winter. The typical temperature range for the Houston area dictates that winter rye seed can be spread in early to late October.
However, it is important to know that rye grass has disadvantages. As an example, the rye grass competes with the St. Augustine grass (which is hugely popular in Houston) for space and nutrition. And this competition makes it difficult on the St. Augustine when spring arrives. The struggle shows up particularly in shaded area where grass already has difficulty growing.