What’s not to love about San Diego? The city known best known for beautiful beaches and perfect weather is routinely ranked among the best places to live in the US, and it’s no coincidence that Lawn Love set up shop here in SoCal. To kick off our series of city-by-city overviews, we’d like to share some San Diego lawn care tips with our fellow Californians.
Test your soil
First thing’s first: make sure you have a good canvas for a healthy, green lawn. To do this, perform a soil test (you can buy a kit for $10 to $20, or ask your local nursery if it offers free tests) to ensure your ground has a neutral pH level and adequate amounts of phosphorus, nitrogen and other vital nutrients. If your soil test indicates that you have a less than ideal pH, you can amend (garden nerd-speak for “bring the pH levels back to a healthy balance”) the soil with compost, gypsum and other materials.
Much of the soil in Southern California is clay, which is dense and, due to its tendency to compact, not ideal for drainage. The upside of this is that clay soil retains nutrients relatively well, so you won’t need to fertilize plants extremely often. And, as a plus in San Diego’s drought-ridden climate, clay soil doesn’t require as much water as other types of soil.
Choosing the right kind of grass
Once you know what soil you’re working with, choose the appropriate type of grass to ensure a beautiful lawn. There are several factors to consider in this decision–including maintenance required and resistance to wear and tear from foot traffic–but the biggest one for San Diego lawns is drought resistance. Pick a grass, such as tall fescue, that requires less water and tolerates the sun. For more information on what grass best suits your lawn, see here.
Growing and maintaining your lawn
You’ve got a gorgeous green yard, and now you want to maintain it. You’ll need to take your type of grass into account, but as a general rule, San Diego lawns should be fertilized in spring and fall. Check out the UC Guide to Healthy Lawns: it’ll tell you when to fertilize based on your region and type of grass.
As for watering your lawn, use a sprinkler system once a week in the early morning. Most grass requires about an inch of water per week. A good lawn-care plan also includes pest and weed control. You can remove weeds by hand as well as by using mulch to prevent the growth of new weeds. Just keep in mind that some weeds can be beneficial to your soil. If you’re unsure about a certain weed, check with a Lawn Love professional. Similarly, lawn pest control depends on the offender–be it an insect or a rabbit–so your treatment could be anything from using insecticide to fencing off your lawn.
Finally, how often should you be mowing your lawn? It’s more about the height of your grass than the amount of time that elapses between mowings. This, in turn, depends on what type of grass you’re using, but a general rule is to never cut more than a third of grass blades’ height. For example, if your grass is healthiest when it’s 3.5 inches tall, mow it when it proudly waves at you from a dizzying 4.5 inches off the ground. Check out Mowing for Dummies’ chart to see the optimal height for various kinds of grass.
That’s it for your 101 on San Diego lawn care! Lawn Love is here to help any step of the way, and we’d love to do the work of maintaining your lawn for you. Visit our San Diego page now to get a two-minute quote!