Homeowners across the country work tirelessly every year to achieve the emblem of the American home—a lush, green lawn. The desire for a verdant paradise to call one’s own is so strong that many homeowners even dyed their lawns green during drought conditions in 2012. Drought-stricken lawns are sometimes unavoidable, but leave the dyes aside and follow EBSCO Research’s tips for maintaining a healthy, green lawn.


  1. Start up the mower. Whether you have a small patch of grass or a rolling hillside, mow your lawn regularly to give it that clean-cut look. Regular mowing will actually encourage new growth, so plan to cut your grass once a week during the spring and summer. Also, remove no more than one-third of the grass blade at any given time. If you return to a prairie in your backyard after a two-week vacation, just mow your lawn a couple of times that week to catch up. For more expert grass-cutting tips, read our article on lawn mowing.

  2. Sharpen your blades. Dull blades actually rip, shred, and tear the grass. If you’ve ever seen a lawn with faded brown edges at the top of the grass blades, it’s likely they were hacked up by a lawn mower with dull blades. By contrast, sharp blades will execute a clean, healthy cut.

  3. Scalp, if necessary. Homeowners with Bermuda grass will want to scalp—the practice of cutting your grass at nearly the lowest blade setting—just before spring arrives to promote quick green-up. It’s normally OK to leave the clippings during a routine mowing, but the massive clippings generated from scalping could encourage diseases and pests. Also, too many clippings will block the much-needed warm, spring sunlight from penetrating to the soil, so be sure to bag these up after scalping. For more information, check out our in-depth look at lawn scalping.


  1. Give your lawn a breather. Particularly on lawns compacted by heavy foot traffic or lawn mower use, aerating—the systematic removal of small cylinders of soil—will allow oxygen and nutrients back into a choked root system. Aerate in the fall for cool-season grasses and in the spring for warm-season grasses.

  2. Bring in reinforcement. For warm-season grasses, overseeding in the fall with a cool-season grass will keep your lawn looking green year-round. For all other grasses that are just looking a little thin and faded, overseeding can provide much-needed support. After aerating, spread the seed with a handheld spreader or other device and then apply fertilizer.

  3. Feed your lawn. Malnourished lawns often suffer from brown spots, slow growth, weeds, and pest problems. Fertilizer will help create the robust lawn you’ve been dreaming of; however, unless you’ve really done your homework, fertilizing should often be left to a professional. A lawn care specialist can perform a soil analysis to determine the right type and amount of fertilizer to apply as well as the precise timing for fertilizing your lawn.


  1. Start in the morning. Water in the early morning, between 4:00 and 8:00 a.m., before the brutal sun evaporates available moisture. Unless restricted by local water laws, avoid watering at night because moisture-loving mold and fungi may be encouraged to take root in lawns watered after the sun goes down. For more irrigation tips, read our article on best watering practices.

  2. Water deeply, less frequently. A good root system anchors a healthy lawn, but a quick, daily drink of water will only support shallow, drought-intolerant roots. A good soak once or twice a week will push the grass roots to dig deeper into the soil for moisture. How much water you need will depend on your soil and turf type, so consult with a lawn care professional to determine an appropriate regimen for your yard.

  3. Consider ditching the lawn. As water resources become costly and scarce, many homeowners have turned to drought-tolerant lawn alternatives. Some cities and counties incentivize—or even require—homeowners to ditch their turf. Since 2009, the city of Los Angeles has paid out $1.4 million in rebates to homeowners who replace their lawns with water-savvy alternatives.

With these lawn treatment tips in mind, this could be your year to turn heads with a beautiful, lush lawn. If neighborhood bragging rights aren’t enough, the feeling of oh-so-soft grass beneath your feet will surely keep you on top of your maintenance schedule.

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Sources: EBSCOhost: 52 Backyard Landscaping Projects; Fox News; The New York Times; University of California, Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program.

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