Throughout the year, your yard is the location for events like birthday parties, holiday get-togethers, summer picnics and outdoor games. While these gatherings are a great way to use your yard, your grass can take a beating from these activities.
Creating a lawn care schedule can help you keep your lawn healthy, even if you use it extensively. The secret to designing an ideal schedule is to combine basic principles and preventative maintenance to create a green and healthy lawn that can face the elements.
At Nature’s Helper, we will help you understand when to start lawn care in Omaha, the benefits of taking care of your turf year-round and how it can save you time and money. Lawn care is worth the consistent effort it requires to create an outstanding and vibrant yard.
How Grass Grows
Grass may be a simple-structured plant, but when you understand the intricacies of how it grows and the different types in the region, it can help you take better care of your lawn.
There are more than 9,000 species of the Gramineae plant family in which grass resides. Roots grow down into the soil and extend outward like fingers. Roots are fibrous, allowing them to collect nutrients, secure the plant to the ground and soak up water. Culms are grass stems that grow from the crown or base of the plant that are ridged and hollow. Leaves extend in alternating directions from the culms.
The lower part of a leaf is the sheath, and the higher section is the blade. One blade of grass has a lifespan of 40 days, but it can maintain a massive structure like in a yard because of how the blades grow and their structure. New growth starts at the intercalary meristem, which is where the leaf and sheath meet.
Grass can grow a new tip when it’s cut off because the meristem remains intact. Because the base of the plant is at the soil level, it can support regrowth. Grasses in your yard help prevent erosion and improve air quality by trapping dust and producing oxygen.
There are two types of grasses — warm and cool-season. It’s important to know whether your grass is warm or cool to help with your lawn care maintenance. The southern states of the U.S. have warm-season lawns, and the north has cool, like in Omaha.
Warm-season grass goes dormant over winter and grows best in regions with temperatures ranging between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Types of warm grasses include:
Cool-season plants often remain green all year and do well in colder climates that have harsh winters and warm summers. They develop well in areas with temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Several kinds of cool grasses that grow well in Omaha, NE, include:
- Fine, red and tall fescue
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Perennial and annual ryegrass
The average time it takes for cool-season grass to germinate ranges from three to 14 days, which is much faster than the five to 30 days it takes for warm-season. Even within each grass category, different types of grasses have varying germination times.
Warm and cold-season grasses require different soils, sun exposure and maintenance procedures. Most do best when planted in spring and have full to partial exposure to the sun. For example, Bahia can tolerate droughts and heat while not requiring a lot of water. Zoysia also can withstand high temperatures and water scarcities but also does well against foot traffic.
Kentucky bluegrass is a popular cool-season type that quickly forms its roots. It requires more watering in warm and hot conditions, while fine fescue grass doesn’t need as much moisture.
What Is the Best Time of Year to Aerate a Lawn?
Aerating and overseeding are both necessary to support the well-being of your lawn in Omaha. Aeration is the process of circulating air and liquid throughout your turf to help it acquire oxygen, nutrients and water. The process involves the poking of holes throughout your lawn’s surface so that water reaches the grass roots more effectively. While not all lawns require aeration, it may be vital to some grass’s survival.
Aerate your yard if you see dense traffic patterns. The constant pressure can push the roots down and compact the turf into the soil, stunting its growth. If you live in an arid climate that dries out the soil, live in a new home with a dirt yard, see discolored or thin blades or if puddles start forming, you should aerate your lawn.
You will want to aerate before your grass reaches its highest potential apex in growth. For example, warm-season grass needs aerating in late spring or early summer, while cool-season grass in Omaha requires aeration in early spring or fall.
When Should You Overseed Your Grass?
Overseeding is when you plant grass seed onto your existing lawn to fill in patchy areas and correct any discolorations. Overseeding helps grow healthier grass and combat weeds while also boosting density. If your yard receives a lot of foot traffic or if you live in an arid climate, overseeding can be necessary. Consider overseeding if your lawn looks old, isn’t green or is thinning out.
Overseeding also depends on the type of grass. For warm-season grass, late spring is ideal because the grass grows more actively. For cool-season grass like you would find in most Omaha yards, late summer or early fall is perfect. The moisture in the soil is more present in the fall, and the cool air will encourage growth. The best time of year for aeration and overseeding in Omaha is fall.
What Is the Best Time of Year to Start the Sprinkler Installation or Sprinkler System Replacement Process?
The best time of year to install a sprinkler system in Omaha is during the fall season. It is the perfect time to prepare for installation because there is little stress put on the turf. The lawn will also have about eight months to heal and grow before spring begins. The root system of grass still cultivates during winter months, meaning maintenance is a year-round commitment.
In the fall, the ground is still warm, which allows for about seven to 10 days of germination for the grass, helping your yard recover and heal after applying a sprinkler system.
Avoid installing your system during the winter because the ground can be frozen and dry, making installation time-consuming or nearly impossible if the ground is too hard. Waiting until summer can also be less advantageous because the lawn will miss most of the benefits of the system by then. You will want each blade to be healthy before summer rolls around. The heat of summer can form hard and dry soil, causing more damage to your lawn when trying to dig it up.
What do you want to accomplish with your sprinkler system? Different systems relate to the climate, size of the yard, the slope of land and types of plants you have. You may be looking to reduce dry patches or grow a fuller and more luscious lawn. Sprinklers are great because they help upgrade your yard from an average look to one that people envy. They also help conserve water and offer a more efficient watering system than a hose.
Benefits of applying a sprinkler system to your lawn include:
- Fights against soil erosion
- Helps keep grass alive in winter
- Lessens thin spots and dryness
- Gets rid of mud and dirt piles
- Prevents over or under-watering
- Reduces weeds, pests, disease and blue tints
Are you looking to upgrade your current sprinkler system? Some old systems may use more water than necessary and have failing pieces. If you upgrade to a modern sprinkler, you can save money and live a more sustainable lifestyle.
When Should You Add Fertilizer to a Lawn?
Fertilizer provides the right ingredients and nutrients to your grass to aid it in growing thicker, as well as to help it resist weeds, environmental elements and pests. Spring is the ideal time to begin the fertilization process. Most states in the U.S. should start around mid-April.
When searching for the right type of fertilizer, look at the three numbers on the package. These numbers represent the percentages of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium — the three nutrients grass needs to thrive. Find the correct mixture for spring and your lawn type. Nature’s Helper advises you to choose a slow-release fertilizer, which allows you to go longer between fertilizations. You will want to use granules to spread across your lawn as opposed to spraying.
With a broadcast spreader, you can gain even fertilization coverage. If you spray fertilizer, it may be challenging to get a consistent and even layer. Using the spreader, apply the first layer of fertilization around the perimeter of the yard. Then, work your way to the middle in a single direction. Cover the turf again in a perpendicular direction to create a crisscrossing pattern.
Begin the fertilization process in the spring when the grass begins to grow, then apply more in about four weeks. After the first month, add fertilizer every eight to ten weeks until about October. With an automatic water sprinkler system in your yard, it’s smart to fertilize every six weeks because the grass will be growing faster than usual, requiring more nutrients. However, it’s vital not to over-apply. Too little is better than too much.
The fertilization process also depends on the type of grass you have. For Omaha residents with cool-season grass, it can stay green and grow all-year-round except during the winter months. Feed your lawn twice in the fall between September and November. Do so again in the spring between April and May.
For people living in the south with warm-season grass, the blades can turn brown and go dormant during the winter. Fertilize the turf throughout each growth period in early spring, late spring and late summer.
How to Preserve the Health of Your Lawn Over the Winter and Maintain a Lawn Care Schedule in Omaha
The best time of year to start your lawn care in Omaha depends on what you’re looking to achieve. For example, there are specific months to conduct aeration, overseeding and fertilization. But when it comes to maintaining your grass, it’s an all-year commitment that can form incredible outcomes.
Whether you have warm or cool-season grass, neither dies during winter. The blades may turn brown, but it doesn’t mean you stop caring for your lawn. To give you an idea of how to sustain a lawn care schedule in Omaha, you’ll want to prepare for cold weather during the fall. For cool-season grasses, start around September and October. For warm-season, begin around the end of summer.
Here is a list of 12 suggestions on how to preserve the health of your lawn throughout the winter. In the U.S., the winter months range from December to February.
- Keep the grass short: For cool-season lawns like in Omaha, mow during the spring and fall, making sure to remove the grass clippings or mulch them. In late fall, mow the turf one final time, cutting it shorter than normal to help prevent snow fungus, winter injury and burrowing animals. If the grass is dormant, don’t mow.
- Maintain a clean yard: Pick up any branches and twigs from the ground. Don’t let debris like wood and leaves accumulate before winter because it affects water penetration, making the soil wet and increasing the risk of mold.
- Place stakes on the edge of your driveway and yard perimeter: The stakes will help prevent snowplows and shovels from digging into your turf. Scrapes on the lawn can form muddy areas and dead patches of grass.
- Maintain your lawn care equipment: Winterize machines like weed whackers, mowers and trimmers by removing the grass clippings, replacing spark plugs, changing the oil, sharpening blades, replacing worn belts and lubricating joints and pivots.
- Add fuel stabilizer to machines: Because gas is infused with ethanol, it doesn’t have an extended shelf life, especially in winter. Add fuel stabilizer to devices that still have gas in the tanks to help it last until springtime and evade engine damage.
- Reduce foot traffic on your lawn: Limit the amount of traffic through your yard in winter. Try not to walk on frozen grass because it will mat down and break the blades, forming a dead patch come spring.
- Get rid of thatch: Thatch is plant material that builds up over time. When it’s too thick, it can carry diseases and pests, keeping the nutrients from reaching healthier grasses. Use a dethatching rake to tear it up.
- Fertilize the right way: The best times to fertilize in Omaha are spring and early fall. Fertilizing in early fall will help grass maintain a green color throughout winter.
- Control the weeds: Start in the fall by applying herbicides and spot treating weeds by spraying them at their root, not entire areas of the turf. Kill the weeds before they begin to germinate and expand.
- Aerate the lawn: Aerate your yard in early spring, then rake the cores back into the lawn to distribute the nutrients again.
- Continue watering with the sprinkler system: Don’t turn off the system prematurely. Instead, keep watering through the fall to keep the grass growing, then shut it off before the first freeze of winter.
- Winterize the sprinkler system: Remove water to avoid frozen pipes and damage before the first frost of the season.
The best season to start lawn care in Omaha is spring, but maintenance is something that carries on throughout the year. Nature’s Helper provides various sprinkler system service plans to keep your lawn healthy all year long.
When to Start Your Lawn Care With Nature’s Helper
With more than 20 years of experience, Nature’s Helper services all brands of sprinklers and irrigation systems to support you in growing a beautiful lawn year-round. We have a massive inventory of parts to ensure proper repairs and even offer service plans to help save you money. Our specialists provide free estimates for sprinkler designs and installations.
Contact us for lawn care and sprinkler system services in Omaha to ensure you have the best support in caring for your yard.