Have you ever looked at your lawn and wished you could make it look like a golf course? It’s no secret that golf courses use special equipment, techniques, and strategies to make the grass look amazing, writes Mike Erbe of HamptonGolf.
One of my local courses, Palencia Club, one of the premier St Augustine golf courses, built a state-of-the-art maintenance facility exclusively for course maintenancce. While that isn’t something a normal person would be able to accomplish, that doesn’t mean you can’t also have an incredible looking lawn.
The key to having a course-quality lawn is a basic understanding of the fundamentals of lawn care. Each lawn is unique, so it’s important that you understand your particular lawn.
Let’s dive in...
Check for sun
Grass doesn’t grow particularly well if it doesn’t have enough sun. If parts of your lawn are always shady, you may have noticed that the grass is a little thinner.
If you have many trees that are blocking the sun, consider trimming them back if at all possible. In order for grass to grow strong, abundant sunlight is required. If you have little to no shade, congratulations! You are well on your way to having an excellent lawn.
Dethatch and aerate
Often overlooked and vitally important are two key steps to excellent lawn care: dethatching and aerating.
Dethatching is the process of removing dead grass from the turf. Aerating is the process of puncturing the turf, allowing the soil to loosen and oxygen to penetrate further down into the root zone. These two procedures go hand-in-hand.
Dethatch and aerate in the early spring and early fall if you live in a cooler climate, and late spring through early summer if you live in a warmer climate.
Fertilize and seed
Once you dethatch and aerate your lawn, it is ready for reseeding and fertilizing.
The removal of thatch, coupled with the puncture holes from the aeration process, will allow new seeds to grow well and give your lawn a full, lush appearance.
Golf courses utilise this technique, which is how they get the grass to look like a carpet.
Once you reseed, apply a high-quality fertilizer within 48 hours. Make sure you water your lawn well at this time. The most common type of fertilizer is granulated, but water-soluble fertilizers are also available.
Granular fertilizer is slow-releasing, requiring less application and lasting longer. Water-soluble fertilizer can be applied more uniformly and has identical nutrient control in every drop.
A common mistake that people make when trying to improve their lawn is to water too frequently. Yes, plenty of water is important to the successful growth of your grass, but it can also lead to shallow rooting.
If water is always present, the roots of your grass will not need to search for hydration. The result is shallow roots that can easily lead to the uprooting of the grass or make your grass intolerant to certain conditions, such as heat.
By watering “deeply” and infrequently, you are actually training your grass to search deeply for hydration. This causes the roots to extend deeply into the soil, making your grass more resistant to drought-like conditions or high temperatures.
Golf courses use advanced mowing technology with machines that use reels to cut the grass. Think of a pair of scissors that cleanly cut the grass using a reel and bedknife.
Most home mowers rely on a rotary system that spins a single blade (or double blades for lawn tractors) with a sharpened edge at a high speed.
If the edge of that blade is dull, it will tear through the grass and rip it apart instead of cleanly shearing it. It is important to make sure your blades are always sharp, so keep a regular maintenance schedule and have your mower tuned up periodically.