Despite its deceivingly simple appearance, the grass that forms your lawn has a complex root system that requires special care in order to thrive. And if you’ve ever dealt with stubborn patches of dead grass or weeds, you know maintaining a healthy, attractive lawn isn’t as easy as it looks. At Zoysia Sod, we know a lush, vibrant lawn depends on one thing: a robust, healthy root system. Below, we’ve outlined what you can do to promote healthy grass roots and gain a resilient, gorgeous lawn.
Practice Proper Irrigation
Droughts come with the territory when you live in North Texas, and even when it isn’t super dry one week, we don’t see a ton of rainfall throughout the year. Unfortunately, lack of adequate rainfall will cause your lawn’s roots to suffer unless you supplement it with routine irrigation. But you can’t just turn on your sprinkler system for a few minutes each day and achieve a robust, healthy root system. Proper irrigation is critical.
What exactly does proper irrigation entail?
For most grasses, deeper, less-frequent irrigation stimulates deep root growth. Shallow, frequent irrigation, on the other hand, generally results in shallower root growth. So if you’re hoping to achieve a vigorous root system in your yard, you need to irrigate the grass for longer periods and leave more time between watering sessions.
How long is long enough?
During each irrigation session, the rule of thumb is that the soil beneath your grass should be moist at four to six inches below the surface. While you don’t need to designate a set time period for each watering session, it may be helpful to keep track of how long it takes to achieve four to six inches of moist soil. That way, you can program your sprinkler system accordingly.
When it comes to irrigation frequency, you’ll want to wait long enough between watering sessions to allow the grass to show slight signs of drought stress. Scheduling irrigation in this manner trains the grass roots to reach deeper into the ground where the soil is naturally and more consistently moist. And no, waiting longer between waterings won’t harm your grass! In fact, grass has built-in water-loss regulation mechanisms that slow down water loss during hot, arid periods. The blades fold slightly, revealing their blue-green underside, and that’s how you’ll know it’s time to turn on the sprinklers again.
If it’s going to be super hot outside, be sure to water your lawn during the early morning hours so the water has time to penetrate the soil before temperatures rise. If you water in the middle of the day, water evaporation is far more likely, and if you water at night, the ground will remain wetter than necessary.
Implement Soil Amendments
The type of soil in your yard can either promote or hinder deep root growth, which means you may need to amend the soil if it lacks the proper nutrients or doesn’t retain water well. For example, clay soils, while great for retaining water, can compact very easily, which will waterlog grass roots. In yards with heavy clay soil, it’s a good idea to amend the soil with organic matter to help loosen it up and promote increased air exchange.
The same idea applies to sandy soil, but for a different reason. Because overly sandy soil drains quickly, adding in organic matter can help it retain more water and encourage deeper, more robust root growth.
Maintain Proper Soil pH
Each species of grass grows best in a slightly different soil pH. To promote a healthy root system in your yard, you’ll need to test the pH of the soil and adjust accordingly by adding in organic matter that either decreases or increases the pH. You can find over-the-counter soil pH test kits at most home improvement or gardening stores, and once you have a rough idea of the current pH, you can supplement the soil. If it’s too acidic, adding limestone can help balance it out; if it’s too alkaline, sulfur may be necessary.
Apply the Right Fertilizer
Though fast-release fertilizers might sound like a good idea, they don’t promote robust root growth as well as their slow-release counterparts. And though slow-release fertilizers are more expensive, the results for your lawn are well worth the extra cost.
Keep in mind that mineral fertilizers have a high salt content, which means they can burn your lawn if you neglect to provide proper irrigation. Because fertilization is a science, it’s always a good idea to consult with an expert (like our team at Zoysia Sod) to determine the best protocol for your lawn.
Ready to make your lawn the healthiest on the block? At Zoysia Sod, we can help you make that happen. To learn more about our sod installation and lawn maintenance services, feel free to give us a call today at (469) 802-0424, or connect with us online. We’ll be in touch promptly.