"Here is what I recommend: If you want what most people call a lawn, or cultured turf, in the midwest, grow one that is primarily turf type tall fescue, not bluegrass. Problem is, almost all homes are started with bluegrass turf, or have been cultured to it by prior owners. To convert it quickly you have to grind it up with a verticutter and reseed it with TTTF. Option two is to aerate the lawn heavily and then overseed it with TTTF, every spring and fall . Over a couple of years it will convert, or at least it will be more TTTF than bluegrass.TTTF is more drought resistant and will hold it's color better in the summer and with less water. It is also better under foot traffic, aka kids playing on the lawn."
|turfgrass roots vs native plant roots|
1. Never take your mower off the highest setting Tall turf shades the soil and inhibits weed germination, and preserves soil moisture. Turf that is 3" or taller is better, and a lot of mowers don't even get to that on their highest setting.
MYTH: "If I mow short, it will be longer until I have to mow again."
2. Fall aeration and overseeding Take whatever money you are spending on fertilizer and weed control and spend that instead on seeding, overseeding, or aerating every fall, and on watering if you must. The best kept secret to weed control is that weeds don't invade thick turf. Spend any money you were planning to, or have, on keeping the turf thick instead. Annual fall aeration and overseeding is the best.
3. Cut regularly Never let your grass grow tall enough that you are cutting more than 1/3 of the height. When that happens it stresses the plant and actually pulls on the root systems of the plant, which is bad.
4. Keep your mower blade sharp Sharpen it once a year in the spring. A dull blade shreds the top of the leaf blade and that injury is where disease most often enters the plant.
5. Water wisely If you don't want summer color or the watering expense, let your lawn go dormant in the summer. Watering too little does more harm than good. It will come back with the fall rains and cooler temps. But once you see it start to turn straw colored, just let it be.
If you do choose to water your lawn, water it in the early morning hours, like before 7am. This gives it time to soak into the soil instead of evaporating off the grass. Use a sprinkler that disperses large droplets. Large droplets are more apt to fall into the soil line and will not evaporate as much during delivery. Do not water at night, or right before dark. It's the fastest way to promote disease. Also, water deeply instead of often. When I kept a lawn I would water each area for an hour and a half once a week in the spring, and once every four days in the summer. This will put water deeper in the soil. It will be less apt to evaporate off the soil line, leach deeper into the soil, and that promotes deeper root development, which also helps promote thicker turf.