Testing Soil Ph to determine vital nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium

Four Affordable, Must-Do Starter Lawn Care Activities in Fort Collins, CO

Starting a new lawn gives you the chance to get the lush, green grass that you’ve always wanted for your property’s landscaping. However, there are a few things that you need to do to get your seeded turf off to a great start. While some turf care activities are best done by the experts at Backes Landscaping, others can be performed by ready do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) if you’re up for a challenge and ready for some good ol’ fashioned hard work!

Soil Testing

Guessing about the soil quality of your lawn wastes time and money. Soil testing gives you insight into your soil’s pH levels and its nutritional composition. Before starting a new lawn, you should always have your soil tested. According to experts, lawns grow best in soils that have pH levels between six and seven. When your soil is too acidic or too alkaline, you’ll have to mix chemicals into the soil to balance its pH. Fortunately in Fort Collins, the pH is typically between 6.0 and 8.0, so you are most likely in good shape.

Some things that create pH imbalances in your soil are rain, excess chemicals, and microbial activity. These things make soils in certain regions more acidic. When your soil is too acidic, grass roots can become permanently damaged. Instead of liberally sprinkling fertilizers throughout your yard and hoping for the best, get your soil tested by a local laboratory if you have had trouble with vegetation in the past. However, this step may not be necessary in Fort Collins as our soil is ripe for landscaping!

Agricultural extension programs at nearby universities are your best options for lab-based soil testing. Colorado State University has a soil testing laboratory that is open year around, except for major holidays. These tests tend to give more accurate, detailed results than the DIY test kits that you’ll find at your local hardware store. You can use the data from your soil test as the basis for grass seed selection and soil amendments for your new lawn. Soil tests done by universities usually cost a minimum of $15 per sample. Prices go up to $80 if you want certain test add-ons.

Colorado State University landscaping

Choosing Your Starter Lawn Seeds

Starting a lawn from seed is a way to get the look that you want for less money than a sod lawn. While it takes longer for a lawn to become established from seeds, you get the chance to choose from among a wider variety of grass types, such as Saint Augustine, zoysia, and centipede grasses. Some of these grasses are drought-tolerant, resistant to pests, and require little mowing. Others don’t withstand heavy foot traffic well and don’t do well in shaded, damp areas. Consult with an expert at your local lawn and garden center to find out more about the advantages and challenges of growing different types of grasses. We have quite a range of climate zones in Northern Colorado so asking your local garden center for advice is important depending on your particular landscaping needs.

 
Overseeding Grass Seed on Front Yard with a Seed broadcast spreader

Work in Organic Matter for Fertilization

When done properly, fertilization delivers the lush carpet of green grass that every property owner craves. However, cookie-cutter approaches to lawn fertilization don’t produce ideal results. The type and quantity of fertilizer that’s needed to grow and maintain your lawn depend on a number of factors that include soil quality, growing conditions in your area, and the type of grass that you’ve chosen to grow. When polled about the most common lawn care mistakes that property owners make, lawn care professionals say that over-fertilization tops the list.

When starting a lawn, you want to feed your turf’s roots based on data. Accurate soil testing lets you know the type and amount of fertilizer that your soil needs when starting a new lawn. Fertilizing your lawn after a spring or fall aeration service allows nutrients to penetrate deeper into your soil to nourish grass roots during ideal growing seasons.

Improper Mowing

If overfertilization tops the list of common lawn care mistakes, improper mowing must be a close second. Proper mowing supports continuous grass growth, and it makes your starter lawn look polished and well maintained. However, many property owners make the error of cutting grass too short after new grass roots are established. Short grass allows weeds to get more sun and gain ground in the battle for your lawn.

When you put your lawn on a regular mowing schedule, you keep your grass trimmed to a height that discourages weed growth. You’ll increase and decrease mowing heights based on growing seasons and changes to your soil’s composition. Sharp lawn mower blades offer better results than dull ones. Sharpen lawn mower blades at home quarterly to keep them performing well.

Contact Backes Landscaping Fort Collins

Whether you’ve inherited a desert of a lawn from a previous owner or you’re paying for some rookie landscaping mistakes that you made with your lawn last season, starting a new lawn is a second chance at first-class curb appeal. These tips will help you to get the lawn that you want without incurring high monthly lawn care service bills.

If you aren’t up for the hard work involved in seeding your own lawn, contact Backes Landscaping and we’ll be happy to give you a free estimate for your landscape design project.

Professional Landscaper prepares for laying sod

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