Arlington, Virginia is a beautiful place to live. Located just outside Washington, DC, Arlington provides the culture of a city with the comfort of the suburbs. And our favorite part about Arlington is being able to own a house with a lawn.
Whether you’re a DIYer or looking to hire a lawn care service, it pays to be educated about your lawn. This Arlington lawn care guide will give you the straightforward, plain-english explanation of everything you need to do to maintain an awesome looking lawn in Arlington.
Table of Contents
- Proper Lawn Mowing
- Core Aeration
- Things to Keep in Mind in Arlington
Proper Lawn Mowing
Regular lawn mowing is generally done from mid-March to late-November, give or take a couple weeks depending on the weather pattern. Basically, if the grass is growing, you should be mowing. In Arlington, you will want to mow weekly during Spring and Fall, when the grass is in it’s fast-growing state. During Summer, you should generally switch to biweekly, as the grass doesn’t grow as fast in the Summer heat. The rule of thumb when determining mowing frequency is to remove no more than 1/3 of the grass blade length – otherwise the grass with become stretched.
Pro Tip: Use a mulching blade on your lawn mower, or ask your lawn service to mulch the clippings. By mulching your grass clippings – chopping them up into tiny little pieces – you create natural fertilizer for your lawn. Plus it’s less work than bagging them.
For those DIYers, in Arlington you should only need a push mower, given that the lot sizes are typically no bigger than 1/6 of an acre. Push mowers are relatively inespensive, but do need to be maintained to work properly. First, be sure to sharpen your blade at least once per season. A dull blade is a detriment to your grass. Additionally, make sure to drain the gas tank during the winter, and change the mower’s oil frequently.
Pro Tip: When changing oil, apply a thin layer of the old oil to the underbelly of the lawn mower with a paint brush or towel. This will prevent the lawn mower chassis from rusting.
Aeration is the process which relieves compaction in soil. The process itself involves pulling plugs of dirt out of the soil and leaving them on top. This allows the soil to expand and let air, water, and nutrients inside of it. Aeration should be performed in Spring or Fall, and is best combined with overseeding. Call us biased, but we recommend hiring someone to perform aeration. Aerators are very dangerous pieces of machinery, and when you take in the cost and effort to rent one, it isn’t much more expensive to hire a professional lawn service to do the work.
Overseeding is a special type of seeding, where you spread a layer of seed over your entire lawn. Why seed a lawn that already has grass in it? Well, simply put, that grass ain’t gonna last forever. Although you may not notice it over the course of a single season, individual grass plants will die, and over time, lead to bare patches in your lawn prone to weeds sprouting up. This is where overseeding comes in. By spreading a layer of seed (matching the same blend of grass your lawn already has) over your entire lawn, you preemptively fill in bare batches that would inevitably occur. Whenever you see those lush, full-looking lawns, you can bet that somebody took the time to overseed.
Overseeding should be done during early Spring or Fall to give the seed enough time to germinate before the heat of Summer or cold of Winter. It’s best to perform overseeding just after core aeration.
Fertilization is another staple service, and should be performed 5-7 times per year, primarily in Spring and Fall. If it’s been awhile since you’ve applied fertilizer, you may want to get a soil test done by a fertilization specialist to ensure that your treatments are pushing your lawn to the right chemical balance level. There are many varieties of fertilizer, but we recommend liquid fertilization. If you talk to any professional lawn mowing service, they can tell instantly if you’ve been getting liquid fertilizer, because your grass grows super fast and strong. Beware though, you will have to mow pretty frequently. Additionally, there are now many organic options that work just as well as traditional chemical treatments, but be prepared to pay a little extra.
Although it’s possible to fertilize yourself, you’ll get better results by hiring a professional, since they are licensed to use liquid chemicals, and they can design a treatment plan specifically for your lawn. If you do choose to do your own fertilization, be sure to do your research, as too much fertilizer will make your grass turn yellow.
Pro Tip: Keep children and pets off of your lawn for 48 hours after each fertilization treatment.
Things to Keep in Mind in Arlington
In Arlington, VA, the layout of the lots and city regulations provide some interesting lawn care challenges and opportunities. Here are some to keep in mind:
- Take Advantage of City Recycling: The City of Arlington will pick up as many grass clippings as you can give them. If you do decide to bag your grass clippings, you can simply put them out by the end of your driveway for pickup. Additionally, the city will pick up bags of leaves in the Fall. Currently the City of Arlington will take any types of bags, but there has been talk about only accepting biodegradable bags, so be sure to check the Arlington recycling website before you act.
- Beware of Neighbors’ Weeds: Lots in Arlington are so close together, so you’re prone to catching weeds from several neighboring lots. Yup, weeds are contagious. The best way to combat this, aside from telling your neighbor to get his or her act together, is to perform all the practices described in this guide. Remember, the secret to a weed free lawn is the lawn itself.
- Sidewalks Can Create Extra Work: Many Arlington lots have sidewalks running through them, and this means a little more work. Be sure to edge around your sidewalk as well as your curb (any professional service will do this). Otherwise the grass will creep over and into the sidewalk, and that looks plain hideous. Also, every couple weeks you should spray weed killer into the sidewalk cracks to prevent weeds from popping up.
- When Hiring an Arlington Lawn Service, Be Cognizant of Parking: As an Arlington resident, you know parking can be a pain in the a** to deal with. So if hiring an Arlington lawn care service, make sure they have a place to park a truck and trailer. This may be as simple as giving them a guest parking pass to use, or giving them permission to back into your driveway. In fact, you may be able to lower your price a bit if you help your lawn care service out with parking.
And that’s it, your Introduction to Lawn Care in Arlington. Ready to hire a lawn service? Order Arlington lawn service in seconds through LawnStarter.