You might think the time to start working on creating a beautiful lawn begins in the spring, as soon as winter releases its icy grip on us. But according to Justin Carver, general manager of Earthscapes Lawn and Land Service in Norfolk, the time to act is before the first frost hits this season.
“I always tell people, if you have cool-season grass, the fall is much more important than the spring as far as how your lawn is going to look,” he says. “If you want a good lawn come April/May of next year, the work you put in during September/October this year is going to be what really makes the difference.”
The most common cool-season lawn grasses in this area are fescue, bluegrass or rye. If your lawn turns brown in the winter and returns to green in the spring, that’s what is known as a warm-season grass. Bermuda grass is one common type in Coastal Virginia, and that should be tended to in the early spring.
No matter what type of grass you have, the first thing Carver recommends is aerating your lawn. Aeration is a process where a special machine basically punches holes in your lawn to reduce soil compaction. Looser soil allows grass roots to grow deeper and faster, which in turn creates stronger grass that can better handle different types of environmental stress. It also allows moisture, air and valuable nutrients to get direct access to the root zone of your lawn.
Lawn owners can find aerator machines at various home and garden or rental centers throughout the area. However, they are designed to be heavy, so transporting a rented aerator isn’t as easy as throwing it in the back of your truck. In most cases they need to be hauled on a trailer.
“If you want your lawn aerated, plenty of landscapers are happy to do that for you,” says Carver. “It’s a very reasonably priced service, and you don’t need to sign an annual contract or anything like that.”
In addition to aerating, Caver suggests seeding and potentially fertilizing your lawn at the same time. Aeration holes allow new seeds to remain hidden and protected as they germinate, while fertilizer provides all of the necessary nutrients those new seedlings need to grow strong.
Jack Frost Landscapes and Garden Center in Virginia Beach also offers a wide array of landscaping maintenance to keep your lawn looking its best, including aeration and re-seeding services. Their mission is to achieve long-term success as a recognized leader of high-quality landscape maintenance and to build long-lasting relationships with their clients by providing innovative and reliable maintenance solutions, unmatched customer service and exceptions craftsmanship.
In addition to looking great, a healthy lawn is also better at keeping out unwanted guests. “The number one weed preventer is a nice, thick, lush lawn,” says Carver. “Mother Nature is pretty good at growing stuff where there are open spaces, so if you’ve got bare areas on your lawn, if you don’t have grass, something else is going to grow there. But with a thick lawn, if there’s no place for weeds, you won’t have weeds.”