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When it comes to lawn care, one of the biggest questions people ask is simply, “How do I get my lawn green?”
“Your lawn is a growing organism that has an appetite for nutrients,” says Clint Culver of Nitro-Green, Helena’s largest provider of specialty applications for your property and home. Unfortunately, Helena’s thin soils can't provide your lawn with all the nutrients it needs, but luckily, there are ways to care for your lawn and keep it a beautiful, vibrant green all year round.
1. Fertilize at Least Twice a Year
“Fall is absolutely the best time to fertilize (and kill weeds) because that is the time root growth is the strongest,” Culver says. To bring out the most potential from your lawn and develop the best root system, fertilizing four or five times annually is ideal.
Helena has non-acidic, alkaline soil that is low in organic content, but grass prefers a rich, slightly acidic soil that is high in organic matter, Culver explains. The lack of acidity in Helena’s soil makes it hard for grass and some trees to absorb nutrients. With thirty years of soil testing, Nitro-Green has developed fertilizer tailored to local needs.
2. Take Care of Your Lawn With Proper Mowing
For best results, you should be cutting your lawn at least once a week with a sharp blade and never taking off more than a third of the grass blade at a time. This is particularly important in the summer, when the heat after one bad mow can cause yellowing that may last a month. If your lawn gets away from you, Culver suggests cutting it tall and working it back down over a few days, or have someone else come cut your lawn if you're not around to do it.
3. Your Lawn Is Thirsty – Keep It Irrigated
Rainwater is always the best option because it’s acidic, unlike well or city water, which is alkaline. After a decent rain, avoid washing away that good water. Turn off your sprinklers until you notice the first signs of drying.
When rain isn’t an option, set your sprinklers to soak the lawn and then try to go a few days before the next soak. Deeper, less frequent watering promotes deeper roots and a stronger turf.
“It may take a while to ‘train’ your roots to grow deeper,” Culver says. “It’s like exercise.”
4. Always Aerate Your Soil
“This cannot be stressed enough,” Culver says. “A well-aerated soil is like a sponge: it holds water and nutrients more efficiently.” If possible, avoid power raking, which can be harmful to a lawn. If you must power rake, set the tines shallow and do it in the fall.
5. Keep Weeds Under Control
Many people think they have crabgrass, but that actually grows south of Helena and doesn’t survive its harsh winters — so steer clear of crabgrass killers or preventers. Instead, you’ll usually be dealing with weeds like quack grass, orchard grass, foxtail, cheat grass or poa. Getting these under control often requires specialized herbicide applications.
If you follow these steps to take the best care of your lawn, you’ll keep it nice and green all year round.
Nitro-Green is Helena’s largest lawn care and pest control provider. They’ve been in business in Helena since 1984 and also serve Montana City, Clancy, Jefferson City, Townsend, Boulder, Lincoln, Avon and Elliston. Nitro-Green also specializes in placing topsoil and planting premium turf grass.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, visit NitroGreenHelena.com or call (406) 443-5088.