Taking care of your lawn can be a huge challenge, especially when the grass won't cooperate and shows bare patches. Brown grass is a sign of drought and stress. While there's nothing wrong with some brown grass popping up during the dry summer months, leaving a brown lawn to continue decaying can result in completely dead grass.
Grass that's lost its life can no longer be revived. As a result, paying attention to lawn care with these green grass growing tips can help keep your back (or front!) yard in its best condition all year round.
Benefits of Greener Grass
A lush lawn is more than just a coveted aesthetic, as it boasts massive benefits that can be good for you, your family, and neighboring wildlife.
Grass keeps surface temperatures low through a process called evapotranspiration, which evaporates soil moisture. Only plants are capable of making this process happen, so having a healthy lawn can help regulate temperature—especially in hot summer months.
Improves Air Quality
Like trees, lawns take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, allowing the air around your home to feel a lot cleaner. If you're suffering from asthma, allergies, and other lung diseases, sticking to greenery can help ease breathing.
Enables New Plants to Grow
A healthy lawn with green grass is a great start for empowering your inner green thumb, whether now or in the future. If the grass dies, the soil underneath may stop supporting further plant growth, leaving you with an unusable lawn.
Types of Grass
From cool-season grasses to warm-season grasses, there are various types of greenery that can occupy your lawn. These require different forms of care, so it's important to understand your type of grass and what works best for it to keep your lawn healthy. Generally, experts classify grasses by the season they flourish.
These typically originate from the tropics and thrive under the sun. They flourish in temperatures between 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, where they grow the fastest and turn the greenest. Warm-season grasses are also better equipped to survive harsh heat-induced situations, such as drought and the lack of carbon dioxide. But once temperatures fall below 55 degrees, warm-season grasses lose their luster and tend to turn brown.
Residents of southern states can benefit from warm-season grass, as months of extremely hot weather allow the tropically-inclined plants to create a beautiful green lawn. The warm-season grass selection includes:
- St. Augustine
Most cool-season grasses produce the most biomass and turn the greenest in environments from 65 to 80 degrees, but they can grow in temperatures as low as 40 degrees. They're best during the early spring and fall in states up north, when the air temperature is perfect for speeding up their growth. But while these plants can brave the cold weather, they're fragile in the heat and require constant watering to prevent dehydration. In particular, the grass roots are prone to drying out and—in the worst-case scenario—dying.
The cool-season grass selection includes:
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Creeping red fescue
- Perennial ryegrass
- Annual ryegrass
Transition Zone Grasses
If you live in the transition zone between the cold north and warm south, finding the perfect new grass seed to plant for your lawn can be a massive challenge. For one, the inconsistent, polar climate can make it extremely cold one day and hot the next. Most grasses, which won't turn green without the right environment, won't survive.
For lush green grass in difficult locations, consider opting for these resilient plants.
- Thermal blue
Choosing The Best Grass For Your Lawn
While there are various grasses that can thrive in the region you live in, their compatibility all boils down to your lawn's health. And that starts with your soil. Consider working with your local cooperative extension office to conduct a soil test. Doing so will measure the pH level of your soil and determine what kind of nutrients it's rich in—and what it's lacking.
A soil test is essential in determining the following:
- Whether your soil has enough nutrients to grow grass
- The type of lawn fertilizer you should use to make grass greener and improve its health
- The types of plants that can thrive in your soil
After doing a soil test, you should have a very good idea of what can grow in your lawn. For example, if you have clay soil, Tall Fescue may be the right grass type for you. If you have sandy soil instead of clay soil, Bermuda or Zoysia are great alternatives.
Grass Seed vs. Sod
Once you've figured out what you want to grow, the next big dilemma is deciding between growing a lawn from grass seeds or sod. Growing grass seed is a low-cost option that's great if you love taking gardening into your own hands. But if you're strapped for time and want a beautiful early summer lawn instantly, then the waiting period for your Kentucky blue grass or Ryegrass to grow may be too long. It can take over 10-12 weeks before you can walk through a grass-seeded lawn.
In contrast, sod is installed over soil and only takes 2-3 weeks for its roots to connect with the ground. This allows you to enjoy the whole lawn without waiting until the late spring—when you want it ready months before. A downside is that sod installations cost nearly $2,000 on average. So consider both options and choose what works for your budget and timeline.
Lawn Care Tips For Greener Grass
Setting up your lawn is only the first step to seeing green grass. A beautiful lawn doesn't form itself overnight—it requires care and ample maintenance to keep bare spots, soil compaction, and other unwanted elements away.
Water Your Lawn
Watering grass is essential, especially for plants that are at risk of dehydration. Generally, experts recommend watering lawns in the early morning before 10 AM, when the natural weather allows for the best soil absorption. The amount of water you need depends on your soil type, but keep in mind that you can water grass less frequently if it rains often.
The coveted loam soil offers the best nutrient balance, so you only need to water it around twice a week. Meanwhile, clay soil takes a long time to absorb liquid, so you can get away with watering less often. And sandy soil, which absorbs water quickly, requires constant attention on your part.
Fertilize on a Schedule
New lawn owners make the big mistake of fertilizing at random times throughout the year. But much like watering, you need to be strategic about what kind of fertilizer to apply and when to use it. If you want to make your lawn green, a general rule is to only fertilize when the grass is actively growing while focusing on newly seeded areas. That depends on the grass type: summer for warm-weather plants and spring and fall for cool-season grass.
Moreover, ensure that you use a thin layer of the right kind of fertilizer to prevent overwhelming the lawn with too much iron or too little nitrogen, which can cause a range of plant diseases.
Soil compaction occurs when the soil becomes too thick, making it difficult for nutrients to penetrate the hardened layer. In that case, it may be a good idea to aerate your lawn, which involves poking holes on the turf and uprooting the buildup. A soil aerator can speed up the process, especially on a large lawn.
When your lawn's grass height is too high, it may be time to start mowing. This typically happens once a week. But mowing involves careful precision, or you may cut off too much of the grass, which can force brown patches to show up. First, consider how grass blades are leaves, and plants need leaves to gather sunshine and other nutrients. If you mow too deep into the grass, they'll lose exposure to sunshine.
Second, consider using sharp mower blades to make a clean cut. That's because dull mower blades could rip off the grass blades, making your grass more susceptible to disease. After getting the work out of your mower blades, you can leave the grass clippings on your lawn to naturally fertilize the soil.
Best Fertilizer For Green Grass
One of the most important elements to achieve a beautiful dark green color and the healthiest lawn ever is by feeding it with the right nutrients—starting from fertilizer. There are many ways these health foods for grass can help speed up your journey to a greener lawn, starting from their ability to prevent plant diseases and promote healthier turfs. Here are some of the best fertilizers that could beat your neighbors' green grass and turn yours into the neighborhood eye candy.
The Andersons 12-12-12 fertilizer, which contains ratios more commonly known as the "triple twelve," boasts equal parts of phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. These three nutrients are essential for promoting lawn growth, making them wonderful for months when your lawn isn't shooting up as quickly as expected. For example, if your lawn typically flourishes in early fall but has been slow this year, this blend can help give it the boost it needs to catch up.
In addition, nitrogen is an amazing nutrient for making grass greener, so you can get an ultra-green lawn very quickly with this fertilizer. However, keep in mind that this blend doesn't work in drought-like conditions.
The Andersons 19-19-19 fertilizer was made for tough plants that can withstand the higher-ratio, equal-balance blend of 19% phosphorus, 19% potassium, and 19% nitrogen.
It's a great starter fertilizer that specializes in strengthening and thickening your turf, keeping bare spots away and giving you a picture-perfect green lawn.
In particular, this blend is a dedicated winterizer for the last round of grass-feeding you do each year.
One issue with the 12-12-12 or 19-19-19 blend is that they may speed up your lawn's growth too fast. But if you require their benefits, a good workaround is to use a slow-release organic fertilizer. It contains small amounts of nutrients that are spread thinly across the lawn. And unlike the powerful nitrogen or potassium, these slow nutrients are, as their name suggests, slow to release into the lawn. This creates a balance that allows you to experience greener grass for a longer period.
Weed Killer Fertilizer
Weeds take up nutrients lawns need to survive. And that's why it's important to get rid of them—otherwise, there won't be any good nutrients left to raise a healthy lawn. You can use weed killer fertilizer to get rid of various unwanted plants, from broadleaf weeds to clover and dandelions. This is possible due to a small herbicide component in these fertilizers, which kill weeds and prevent weeds from growing thereafter.
Read our buying guide to help you choose the right fertilizer for your needs.
FAQs About Lawn Fertilizers
What is the best fertilizer to green up a lawn?
12-12-12 fertilizers are known for their ability to create the greenest lawn. But they need to be offset with a slow-release fertilizer to maintain the green grass and prevent it from maturing too quickly.
What fertilizer makes grass dark green?
Fertilizers with high amounts of nitrogen promote a brilliant dark green flush. But aside from fertilizing, you also need to apply the healthy lawn tips above to maintain the green grass.
How do I turn my dead grass green?
First, get a soil test from your local extension office to determine the issue. Prep the soil with the right nutrients it needs to begin the revival process by using fertilizer, killing weeds, and watering at optimum intervals. Once the soil health improves, you may be able to start planting new grass on your lawn again. This time, do it with our green grass tips in mind to prevent grass from dying again.
Will watering dead grass bring it back?
Unfortunately, watering won't revive dead grass. But you can begin the revival process for dormant grass by getting the soil checked and preparing it with nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer.
Taking the time to understand and care for your lawn is the first step to achieving lush and greener grass. There's a lot to learn, but take things at your own pace, and get in touch with us if you'd like recommendations for the right fertilizer for your grass type.
Where to buy fertilizer for your lawn?
Taking the time to understand and care for your lawn is the first step to achieving lush and greener grass. You can check-out the wide variety of fertilizer products in our online store to find the solution to your brown lawn.
There's a lot to learn, but take things at your own pace. Don't hesitate to contact us if you'd like recommendations for the right fertilizer for your grass type.