Most of us can easily pick out a lawn that’s been let go: it’s overgrown with weeds, there are bare spots, or patches of yellow or brown grass.
When those visual clues are not obvious, how can you tell if your lawn is truly healthy and thriving?
What color is it?
Most varieties of grass that thrive in Northwest Florida’s climate have a deep green color when healthy. They will often turn yellowish or brown when dormant for the winter, which is very normal. But if a normally deep green lawn is fading or changing in color, it’s a ready sign that it needs water or fertilizer, or both.
Be mindful of the type of grass making up your lawn. Some varieties are actually supposed to be yellow-green or lighter. For instance, centipede grass, which can be found across the Florida panhandle, is commonly yellow-green at its healthiest.
How thick is it?
While a large bare spot on your lawn is obvious, it can be easier to overlook signs of thinning turf. Take a close look at various places in your lawn. If you can look directly down on the grass near your feet and see the soil underneath, your lawn may be thinning. Remember, in most cases a healthy lawn is thick and deep, hiding the soil from view.
What does it feel like?
When you walk on a healthy lawn, think of it like a plush carpet: springy, with a bounce. When you look behind you, your footsteps should disappear fairly quickly. This is a sign of a healthy lawn because the strength and resilience of the grass blades protects them from natural damage.
On the other hand, if the grass feels brittle, weak, or crunchy under your feet, or you can still see your footprints in it long after you’ve walked across, it’s either desperately in need of water, or it’s been weakened by disease or pests.
What kind of thatch layer exists?
Another sign of a healthy lawn is an adequate layer of thatch on top of the soil. Thatch plays an important part in distributing moisture and it insulates the soil to regulate temperature, making it vital to the ongoing health and welfare of your lawn. However, too much thatch can create a home for pest bugs and it can lessen the effectiveness of pesticides and herbicides.
The best way to maintain a balanced layer of thatch is to regularly mow your lawn at the right height and de-thatch as needed when circumstances combine to create a layer that is too thick.
Overall, if your lawn is the right color for its species, has some spring in its step, hides the soil, and has an even layer of thatch underneath, it’s on the right track to remain healthy. If you’re not seeing all four of these signs of a healthy lawn, get in touch with a reliable lawn maintenance service to improve your lawn health.