Your beautiful Central Ohio home is a source of pride and joy. Part of that joy is the sometimes-overwhelming task of yard care. Lawn mowing and maintenance in Columbus is, at the very least, a weekly chore — whether you do it yourself or hire a lawn service. Mowing, weeding, fertilizing, aerating … it’s all a piece of the puzzle that comes with owning a house or rental property.
Recommended Grasses for Columbus Lawns
Cool-season grasses are suitable for Columbus lawns because they can handle our cold winters. Chances are your turf consists of Kentucky bluegrass (KBG) – or a blend of KBG and perennial ryegrass, tall fescue or Buffalograss.
If you’re reseeding or replacing a lawn in Franklin County, The Ohio State University Extension recommends having the soil tested to determine the best cool-season grass for your lawn. Geographical location, soil alkalinity, and temperature are important considerations.
Sharpen the cutting blades on your gasoline or electric mower every season, and set the height relative to the lawn’s condition. Columbus tends to get an ample amount of rainfall in the spring and autumn, so you can lower the blades for a shorter cut. Kentucky bluegrass can be cut to about 2-1/2 inches if you’re only mowing once a week. In late July and into August’s extreme summer heat and dry weather, cool-season grass root systems tend to become shallow. Raise the blades to about 3-1/2 inches high. Cutting the grass too short in the hot summer months will stress it and keep it from staying green. You can mow KBG, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescues twice a week, if a lot of rain is prompting growth spurts.
Mowing in straight lines, back and forth every time compacts the soil and pushes the grass blades into one direction, which leads to an irregular cut. Changing directions each mow allows individual blades to spring back. Lawnmowers work better on dry grass, but do not wait too long. The amount of Columbus rainfall is always hit or miss. Leave the grass clippings on the lawn. It contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and serves as excellent mulch.
Fertilizing your Columbus lawn depends on its pH level, and that’s where having the soil tested comes in handy. Ohio soils vary, but the best range for grass is slightly acidic, in the pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. Commercial fertilizer contains measured portions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Feed the lawn in early spring and summer or use slow-release chemicals over dry grass in August to December. Fertilize and follow with a deep watering every eight to 10 weeks.
Weeds and Thatch
Post-emergent herbicides will not keep new weeds from sprouting up, but they will kill existing ones. Weed-killing chemicals include dicamba, 4-DP and MCPP (in liquid and granular form). Apply them in early spring, the first couple of weeks in June, and then again in September. See “Controlling the Worst Weeds in Columbus” for more details.
Thatch is a rotting tangled-up mass of fallen grass blades, rhizomes, and various organic material that spread into a type of vegetative rug. A little is good because it provides a moisture-holding zone where these materials can decompose into nutrients. But when it gets too thick, this woven carpet keeps new grass blades from growing. Bluegrass and some fescue blends may develop thatch that’s more than a half-inch thick. This prevents grass from absorbing enough nutrients and water. Raking, mowing, and fertilizing lawns regularly will help to control thatch.
Aeration is the process of pulling soil plugs from a thickening lawn so that water and nutrients can reach the roots. Core aerators are recommended for large properties, but if you have a smaller yard, a spading fork will work for a DIY job.
No matter how you look at it, lawn mowing and maintenance in Columbus is a chore and will take a good chunk of the weekend’s leisure time. But the look and smell of a beautiful, well-kept expanse green grass make it all worth it. Any more questions about your lawn? Visit our Columbus lawn care page.
Jill Ramone is a landscaper who specializes in designing sustainable yards for busy homeowners. She prides herself on using eco-friendly products to control weeds and pests.