THE RIGHT HEIGHT
There are several reasons not to cut your grass too short.
• First, grass grows from the crown, not the blade tips. This trait makes grass ideal for lawns because it keeps on growing despite the regular mowing off of its upper stem, leaf sheath, and blades. This is also why it’s important not to damage grass crowns by accidental scalping with the mower. No crown, no grass!
• Second, keeping grass on the longer side allows it greater surface area to carry out photosynthesis. This in turn results in healthier plants.
• Third, taller grass grows slower than shorter grass. You can use this simple fact to eliminate up to 20 percent of the mowing you do annually. That’s a saving of about 8 hours a year for the average lawn owner, not to mention the savings of gasoline and wear on equipment.
• Fourth, by keeping your grass at the upper end of its recommended mowing height, you can prevent most weeds from germinating – and thereby eliminate the need for herbicides.*
RULES OF MOWING
Cut no more than 1/3 the height of the grass. Never scalp the lawn or cut below plant crowns. Change mowing patterns frequently to prevent compaction. Leave clippings on the lawn unless they are very long or wet. Mow with a sharp blade. Resharpen after every 10 hours of use. Bring the blade to a professional sharpening service once a year. Replace the blade as necessary. Rinse clippings off your mower after it has cooled to reduce the chance of spreading lawn disease. Cut grass at the high end of the recommended height range during hot weather. Cut at the low end of the recommended height range during cool weather or in shade. Make your last cut of season at the low end of recommended height range.
RECOMMENDED LAWN CARE
• Mow 2 times per week
• Plug or aerate in the spring
• Keep Grass at 3” – 3.5”
• Fertilize your grass every month in summer
• Obtain a soil test to determine grade and amount of fertilizer to use.
• Apply no more than 1 pound fast-release nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in a single application.
• Fertilize warm-season lawns from early spring until late summer.
• Most lawns need an average of 1 inch of water weekly to maintain healthy growth.
• Cool-season lawns should receive most of their yearly fertilizer in the early fall.
• This will establish deep roots and help crowd out weeds in the spring.
• Use slow-release nitrogen whenever possible, especially on sandy soils.
• Wait until warm-season grass becomes dormant before fertilizing areas over seeded for winter color.
• Use only the amount called for, based on your lawn’s square footage.
• For quicker application and to avoid a striped fertilizer pattern in the grass, use a rotary spreader, which applies fertilizer more evenly.
• Spread the fertilizer in two directions for each application.
• Apply fertilizer to dry grass, and water well immediately afterward.
• Sweep up any fertilizer spilled on paved areas and save for later use.
• Don’t use leftover lawn fertilizer on trees, shrubs, annuals, or perennials. Too much nitrogen on these plants stimulates stem and leaf growth and decreases flower and fruit production.
Have you really looked at your lawn lately and noticed it just doesn’t look very healthy? You are probably pondering about what could be going on and what could be causing this issue. If, after you have checked for insects, worms, disease, improper watering and know that your lawn is properly fertilized, you might consider aerating your lawn. Aerating my lawn? What is aerating and why should I do it?
An aeration treatment removes small cores of soil and thatch to allow air, moisture and nutrients to penetrate down to the root zone. The cores brought to the surface contain microorganisms, which help the breakdown of the woody thatch tissue layer just below the lawn’s crown. As the thatch layer is broken down, it is converted into organic matter that will then combine with existing soil particles. Also, as the cores begin to breakdown over a period of several weeks, the holes gradually fill in with a mixture of organic matter and soil, and the filled hole allows roots of existing grass plants to spread out and grow deeper, creating a healthier, thicker lawn.
IDEAL TIME FOR AERATION
Because the aeration process is stressful on lawns, it should only be done during periods just before active growth is expected. For cool season grasses, those typically found in the northern half of the country, this would be in early spring or early fall, the 2 times of the year when cool season grasses really grow. During the hot summer months, cool season grasses really slow down in the growing department and this is not a good time to be aerating.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I AERATE MY LAWN?
There is no real determination time for this question. The best way to find out if your lawn needs to be aerated is to do a small test of your soil. A very simple way to make that determination is to take a screwdriver and insert it into the soil. If insertion is fairly easy, your soil should be just fine. If insertion is difficult, it is probably time to aerate.
KEEP WEEDS OUT OF YOUR LAWN
Weeds love all of the conditions that your lawn doesn’t. Soil that’s too dry or too wet, thin spots, underfed grass — they look like home sweet home to all kinds of weeds. If you keep your lawn healthy, you’ll do a lot to keep weeds from taking over. Just follow these simple tips, and your lawn will look the way you always wanted it to.
CONTROL THE WEEDS YOU HAVE
Maybe you have a battle going on in your yard, and the weeds are winning. In that case, you need to take more direct measures throughout the growing season. In the spring, feed your lawn with a product containing a pre-emergent. This will take care of grassy weeds.
Some people think that healthy lawns look like putting greens. The fact is, longer grass grows longer, healthier roots. By raising the setting on your lawnmower, you’ll do a lot to help your grass grow thick and healthy. A thick lawn keeps weeds out.
FEED YOUR LAWN
Lawns need nutrients. Regular feeding helps them develop healthy roots and blades. Start with a spring feed around the first time that you mow. Follow with a late summer, fall, and Thanksgiving feeding, and your lawn will be as lush and beautiful as you’ve wanted it to be. If weeds have been well established in your yard, start out with a weed-and-feed product.
WATER THE RIGHT WAY
Lawns need water, but not too much or too little. Give your lawn a deep watering about once or twice a week. Frequent, shallow watering doesn’t do much for lawns, but it’s really helpful for weeds. Too little water stresses the lawn, and invites still more weeds to set up shop in your yard.