The Life Cycle of Grass: A Complete Lawn Care Guide

Something as seemingly mundane as grass has a lot more to it than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at the life cycle of grass and what you can do during the process to improve your lawn’s overall health and appearance.

Stages in the Life Cycle of Grass

Gramineae, the family of plants, is commonly referred to as grass with over 9,000 different species. Grass comes in all forms, but with all the different types, maintenance is key to keeping it lush and green during its prime. And like all life, grass growth goes through stages. These include:

• Germination
• Vegetative
• Elongation
• Reproductive
• Seed ripening

How to Maintain Your Grass

In addition to knowing the stage or growth your grass is in, you need to know how to maintain it properly. Let’s look at some key maintenance factors you should consider when caring for your grass.

Know Your Location

Your location plays a vital role in the life cycle of grass. In the UK, there are both cool and warm-season grasses. Because a majority of the UK coincides with the US Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone 8, it is home mostly to cool-season grasses.

Cool-season grasses are found during late spring and early summer. Another bout of growth can occur in late summer as well. These grasses grow best in temperatures between 15 and 24 degree C. The most common grass types in the UK include:

• Grostis (Bent Grasses)
• Poa (Meadow Grasses)
• Festuca

Warm-season grasses can also be found in the UK. These grasses grow best in temperatures between 27 and 35 degree C. They will grow during the warmest part of the year and can lie dormant afterwards. Popular types of warm-season grasses include the following:

• Zoysia Grass
• Bermuda Grass
• Carpet Grass

In between the warm season and cool season, grass locations lie the transition or “blend grasses”. These grasses are easier to keep green throughout the year because of the moderately even temperatures.

Have a Maintenance Schedule

Your lawn care schedule will be specific to the region you are in. For cool season grasses, maintenance will typically happen from March to November.

With warm season grasses, maintenance will be lengthier as it should start one month sooner in February. With warmer years, care can begin as soon as January.

Fertilization

You should focus on fertilizing through the duration of March to November. Mowing and watering your grass should also be constant through the schedule.

It’s also important to keep unwanted pests and weeds off your grass to maintain its health. This is done by using pre and post-emergents.

Pre and Post Emergents

It’s also important to keep unwanted pests and weeds off your grass to maintain its health. This is done by using pre and post-emergents.

Applying pre-emergents to cool-season grasses should happen between March and May then again at the end of the season between August and November. Post-emergents, on the other hand, are best applied between May and October.

Pre and post-emergent applications will be a bit more demanding with Warm Season Grasses. Pre-emergents should be applied between February and May and again in August to November, while post-emergent should be applied between April and September.

Aeration

Aerating your grass keeps it from sitting atop compacted soil. Soil can become compact for a variety of reasons. Compacted soil not only will hinder your grass’s ability to soak up nutrients, but it could lead to pest problems to develop underneath your land. With cold and warm-season grasses, aeration is best done in June and August.

The Importance of Mowing Your Lawn

As your lawn enters its third stage of growth, elongation, it’s essential to maintain your grass’s height. If you do not mow your grass, issues you can run into include:

• Healthy grass developing diseases
• Increased use of products because of unnecessary maintenance
• Taller grass could lead to pest infestation

When mowing grass, you will want to make sure you have a quality lawn mower for the heavy-duty work. There are also various great grass trimmers you can use for more challenging to reach parts of your lawn.

It’s best to keep a consistent schedule as you never want to mow more than ⅓ of the length of the blade at a time. As a basic rule of thumb, you want your grass to be anywhere between 2-3 inches.

Understand Your Soil’s pH

Your soil’s pH plays a huge role in understanding the health of your grass. The pH of soil describes the environment in the soil. pH is the unit of measurement used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a substance.

A pH scale runs from 0-14, with 7 being neutral. The lower the number on the scale, the higher the acidity. While the higher up you go up on the pH scale, the higher the alkalinity.

With soil, you will typically find pH ranges between 3 and 10. While different plants can thrive on either end, most plants do well when a soil’s pH level is 6.5

When trying to understand your soil’s pH, you need to understand your grass’s recommended pH level. You can do this by taking a simple soil pH test, many of which can be done right at home. Then depending on what the pH level is, you can lower or raise it. You will often either add pelletized or powdered limestone to raise the pH level or add pelletized or powdered sulfur to lower it.

By adjusting the pH level to your grass’ needs, you will encourage proper access and retention of minerals necessary for your plant’s growth.

Nourish Your Lawn

The last, yet arguably most essential part of the life cycle of grass is proper nourishment. Like all living things, your grass will die without water, no matter how attentive you are with fertilization, aeration, and pre and post-treatment.

Generally, you should adhere to the following lawn care guidelines when watering your lawn:

• Grass should have at least 1-1 ½ inches of water a week
• Instead of watering daily, water 2-3 times a week.
• You should not have runoff when watering, but your lawn should be moist enough to puncture with a stick easily.
• Overall, browning is an indication that your grass needs more water.
• Browning in a select location can be an indication of a deeper issue.

Nature has a way of taking care of itself, and if you ignore your grass, the life cycle of grass will continue regardless. However, if you want to maintain a beautiful lawn that is always at its peak, you can do plenty to achieve this.

We hope this lawn care guide can help you reach a healthier, greener lawn.

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