Ready to take your lawn care game to the next level? In this article I’ll tell you how to make grass green and improve your lawn’s appearance rapidly.
Whether you have in-laws coming to town for a visit, or simply want to put Brad across the street in his place, I’ll share three easy moves you can make to green up your grass and have a lawn that you can be proud of.
How to Make Grass Green in 3 Simple Steps
In this article I’m going to cut straight to my top tips to green up a dull, brown, or light-green lawn in a hurry.
Click a link to jump to the section you’re most interested in, or just keep scrolling to read the entire article:
Let’s get to it!
Greener Grass Tip #1: Iron Applications
Applying an iron supplement to your lawn is one of the most effective things you can do to get a greener lawn.
If you’ve been watering your grass and you’ve fertilized, but the grass is still a mix of light green, brown and yellow, it’s time to throw down some Iron.
Iron applications can be effective for all types of grass, but some of the species that do especially well with extra iron include Bluegrass and Fescue.
An Iron application will help the foliage of almost any plant green up. From roses, to tomatoes, to citrus trees and grass, if you want dark green leaves, give those plants some iron. It’ll do the trick even in the heat of summer when your neighbors lawns start to look brown and crispy!
How to Apply Iron to Your Lawn
I apply a granual iron supplement to my lawn by mixing it with a slow-release fertilizer every spring. I like to wait until the temperatures outdoors are in the 60’s consistently before applying it with my broadcast spreader.
You can continue to apply iron with your fertilizer applications for the rest of the year to keep your grass that nice dark shade of green and provide your lawn the micronutrients it needs.
When you apply iron, ensure that you carefully follow all the instructions listed on the packaging. This is essential in order to avoid overdosing, which can cause damage, or even turn your grass gray (too much iron won’t generally kill your grass, though).
There are different kinds of iron fertilizers you can use. The first type is the synthetic iron fertilizer. These are manufactured fertilizers and are most often spread in the form of granules. You can also find hose-end sprayers. These can work especially quickly, and are a good choice if you want to see results within a week.
There are certain disadvantages to using synthetic iron fertilizers. One of them (as I mentioned) is the fact that if you put too much on your lawn, it can turn the grass gray! That’s definitely not an effect you’re looking for, and your in-laws will never let it go.
Also, if some iron treatments get on concrete it can stain it an ugly shade of orange. Yikes!
You could opt to use organic iron fertilizer, instead. Examples of organic iron sources include Greensand (Amazon link) and Milorganite (one of my favorite organic lawn fertilizers).
These “slow-release” organic fertilizers break down more slowly than inorganic fertilizer. The advantage is that they tend to be absorbed into the soil more easily. Another advantage of organic iron fertilizer is that it won’t cause any staining of concrete.
Organic iron fertilizers also feature additional nutrients that will feed your lawn and benefit your grass.
What I Use
I use a product called Dr. Iron (Amazon Link), mixed in with Milorganite, applied 4 times annually on the application schedule recommended by Milorganite.
I used to use Ironite and Milorganite, but liked the results with Dr. Iron more, and unlike Ironite and other Iron supplements, Dr. Iron is a low-stain formula that won’t stain concrete if you sweep it off and don’t leave it sitting on your walkway. It also mixes easily with Milorganite, which makes it easy to apply with my spreader.
I’ve been loyal to this combination for years.
Green Grass Tip #2: Water Wisely
Appropriate watering is essential for a beautiful and healthy lawn. The soil needs water as does the grass itself. Blades of grass have a multitude of miniscule holes (also referred to as pores) called stomata. Grass blades absorb minerals and nutrients through the roots. All these elements are essential for plants to produce food.
Photosynthesis is the name of this process. The pores of the blades of grass emit waste material from the turf and excess water. This process is referred to as transpiration.
If grass does not get enough water, these things won’t happen as they should and the health of your lawn will suffer. That beautiful green color is usually the first thing to go.
The type of soil you have impacts the frequency of recommended watering as well as the duration of each watering session.
Watering Grass in Sandy Soil
Sandy soil is able to absorb water applications quickly, but it will lose it very soon, too as it drains very quickly. If your lawn has sandy soil you may have to water more frequently, and I encourage you to improve your soil over time by top-dressing every other year with compost.
Watering Grass in Yards with Loam Soil
The best kind of soil for lawns is a nice loam. Loamy soil works the best because it has an effective rate of absorption and has the capacity to hold water for a longer period of time.
Watering Lawns with Clay Soil
If you have a clay soil, you’ll find that it’s difficult to water, and certain grass types will do better than others in clay. This is because it takes so long to properly absorb water. Clay does hold water well, however, so you may not have to water your yard at all.
On average, about an inch of water every week is necessary for lawns.
If you don’t get enough rain in your region to accomplish this, you will need to water more attentively.
Keep in mind that when soil dries out, it does so from the surface down into the deeper layers. This is why deep watering is so helpful to grass. It encourages deep root growth, which strengthens your lawns and allows you to water less frequently.
You can do deep watering by having a longer durations of watering. In other words, water every area of your lawn long enough that the soil appears fully saturated to a depth of at least six inches.
You can use a screwdriver to penetrate the soil to check this. This will help you find a watering duration that will work with your sprinkler type.
Greener Grass Tip #3: Fertilize (with the best fertilizers)
Do some research to find out the best fertilizer for use in your region and to meet your specific needs.
If you’re just starting to step up your lawn care game, I recommend starting with a soil test. This small investment will tell you exactly where your yard stands. You’ll learn what your lawn needs and (more importantly), what it doesn’t.
This can save you a lot of time and money by avoiding applications of products that are not necessary for a healthy lawn. You can do a soil test annually for the first few years, and then once every few years after you get a feel for your yard and what it needs to thrive.
Your local cooperative extension office will be able to test your soil for you, and Amazon sells a kit I’ve used and like as well.
When you do fertilize your lawn, follow the right schedule, and use products that align with your lawn goals and feelings about the environment.
Should You Go Organic?
I like to use organic fertilizer on my lawn because I have kids and pets, but you may prefer synthetic fertilizers which feed your lawn faster. That’s a personal choice for everyone.
Whatever you choose, nitrogen-rich fertilizers will be the most helpful for bringing your lawn to a wonderful shade of green, as Nitrogen encourages leaf growth in plants.
In addition to applying an organic fertilizer to my yard several times a year, I apply a thin layer of compost to top-dress my lawn every other year when I dethatch, aerate, and overseed.
This bi-annual maintenance routine is a natural way to improve your soil, crowd out weeds, and improve your lawn’s health.
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