Growing a Beautiful Lawn in High-Traffic Areas

Lawns are a desirable feature to have around homes and businesses, but they also require a steady amount of maintenance. Areas that experience heavy foot or vehicle traffic, like golf courses and walking paths, often need even more attention than the basic maintenance that most lawns are able to survive on. Left unattended, grass in these areas can experience declining health and difficulty recovering from damages caused by compacted soil and worn-down plants.

Here are some ways to avoid letting a beautiful lawn go to waste from high foot traffic:

Plan Ahead

You can build your lawn so that it doesn't become as impacted from people walking on it. Some of the things you can do are 1) Replace the lawn with a grass variety that endures foot traffic easily, or 2) replace it with mulch or gravel.

If you decide to go with replacing the grass, you'll have to determine whether you have cool-season or warm-season grass on your lawn. If you have cool-season grass, use a mixture containing tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, or perennial ryegrass. For warm-season areas, zoysia and Bermuda grasses are highly tolerant against heavy foot traffic.

Sod and plugs are other grass forms that offer a stable foundation to growing traffic-resistant lawns. Plant them when establishing a new lawn for the best results.

Alternative Solutions

In some cases, it may be easier for a high-traffic lawn to be covered by non-grass material, like gravel or mulch. This is especially the case if you have a backyard playground and children, or event spaces that require guests to walk across the lawn. Placing pebbles or mulch helps protect the soil and avoid the complications of rebuilding a grass lawn.

If you still prefer having a grass lawn, use groundcover plants around pathways to continue having green around the home. These are generally tougher plants that withstand foot traffic and don't require as much watering or maintenance.

Preventative Maintenance

There are some preventative steps you can take to avoid lawn damage altogether. The most obvious way to avoid foot traffic is to stop people and pets from walking across it. Cordon off your lawn with ropes or signs directing people to walk around or take another route. Apply treatment that repels dogs from walking across or defecating on your lawn.

If foot traffic is unavoidable, make sure to aerate your lawn frequently with a punch-core aerator. This helps keep the soil from becoming compacted, which prevents water, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the plant roots.

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