Steps to take & mistakes to avoid
Lush, weed-free lawns needn’t involve hours of work. A few simple mowing, watering, and fertilizing steps from the lawn experts at Straw Hat Lawn & Landscape, LLC can get you the verdant field of green you want without all the hassle and elbow grease.
Two of the most crucial steps to a great-looking lawn are making sure you have the right grass for you area and mowing off only enough to groom it without damaging it. Here are all four critical lawn-care steps you should take right now and six common mistakes to avoid.
1. GROW THE RIGHT GRASS FOR YOUR AREA
The right grass forms a dense turf that’s better able to resist pests and weeds, and requires less watering and fertilizing. The wrong grass often sickens and dies, despite hours of hard work. Aside from trimming water bills, lower-maintenance, drought-tolerant grasses also save resources where water is scarce.
2. CUT THE RIGHT AMOUNT
It’s often tempting to slice off too much lawn at a time, especially if you just returned from vacation and missed a week of mowing. But doing so weakens your lawn by removing too much of the lawn’s leaf surface, which feeds it. Mowing too short weakens grass by encouraging shallow roots and leaving it vulnerable to weeds and other problems. Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescues, and ryegrass are among the common lawn grasses that do best when mowed 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches high. Because some lawn-mower settings may not be accurate, carefully measure your mower’s or lawn tractor’s blade height above a garage floor or other level surface. Then be sure to adjust the height of the mowing deck as needed.
3. FERTILIZE LAWNS AT THE RIGHT TIME OF YEAR
Poor timing with fertilizer can make any lawn more susceptible to disease instead of feeding and fortifying it.
4. WATER EARLY IN THE DAY
You may have heard that watering in the evening keeps the water from burning the grass. In fact, late-day watering encourages lawn pests, mold, and disease by not allowing warmer daytime temperatures to evaporate the moisture before sunset.
5. DON’T USE THE WRONG FERTILIZER
Lawn fertilizers contain nitrogen and often phosphorus and potassium. A 50-pound bag labeled 20-0-0 has 10 pounds of nitrogen and no phosphorous or potassium. Experts suggest putting down no more than 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet for each application, and a total of 3 to 5 pounds of nitrogen per year.
6. DON’T MOW WET GRASS
It compromises even the best mulching or side-discharging mower by leaving unsightly clumps and by sticking to the mower blades and deck. Slippery grass also poses a safety hazard.
7. DON’T UNDER-WATER A LAWN
Be sure to dial in extra water with your lawn sprinkler if you see signs of drought. Too little water encourages crabgrass and other weeds that thrive in dry soil. Footprints that remain on the lawn are a common sign of too little water. Persistent footprints indicate that the grass blades are losing resilience.
8. DON’T OVER-WATER A LAWN
Too much water invites mold and other diseases that thrive in moisture. It’s also wasteful. Most lawn grasses require roughly 1 inch of water per week through the growing season, including rainfall. You can measure how much water your lawn is getting by placing empty soup cans or water gauges around your yard.
9. DON’T BAG WHAT YOU MOW
Putting clippings into a bag wastes a valuable resource. While green clippings are mostly water, they also contain lawn-feeding nitrogen. Letting clippings lie where they fall can reduce your lawn’s fertilizer needs by roughly 33 percent as they decompose and release their nutrients back to the grass roots where they can be absorbed.
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