5 tips for Healthy Lawns


1. Water your lawns properly. Always follow your local area recommendations for water amounts and delivery schedule for the weather conditions of your area and the season. Monitor and keep track of your lawn’s condition before it gets out of hand. Notice if there are any brown spots or excess water run off. Check for any misdirected spray heads and correct them. Always check your irrigation controller and adjust if needed. New lawns should have their irrigation set at a higher frequency until their root system is established.
2. Mow lawns properly. For best results mow your lawn on a regular and frequent basis. Don’t let it get too tall and never cut off more than a 1/3 of the grass height (new lawns should be cut high until they are established). Keep mower blades well sharpened for the best cut and a great looking lawn. Mowing height in the summer should be raised to reduce added stress to the lawn. It will drive your root system deeper therefore improving drought tolerance. Grass clippings should be mulched completely back into the lawn. A mulching mower will help return some of the nutrients back into the soil so you can use less fertilizers. It’s also best to mow more often for faster clipping decomposition. Mow when the grass is dry to prevent clumping. Recommended mowing height: 90% Tall Fescue / 10% Bluegrass blend: High of 3 inches and low of two inches. New lawns should not be cut lower than three inches until established.
3. Fertilize your lawns at least twice a year. Once in the Fall and then again in the Spring (Summer feeding is an option only if needed). Too much fertilizer can encourage water-thirsty new growth and pollute the environment. Use natural fertilizers or the newer fertilizers that contain coated or slow-release nitrogen. These fertilizers release nutrients over a longer period of time and to maintain a steady growth rate. Although the natural fertilizers can be more expensive, they are usually non-burning and cause less stress to your summer turf. They also do not produce “growth flushes” like the traditional fertilizers that contain quick release forms of nitrogen.
4. Control weeds in your lawns. Well maintained lawns are thick and lush to help minimize the invasion of crab grass and other weeds. Apply a pre-emergent with weed control in early February. This will control almost all seed germination of crab grass and weeds for a period of ninety days. If you are reseeding the lawn do not apply a pre-emergent as it will inhibit grass seed from germinating. Many pre-emergent products are combined with fertilizers. When used, these will serve as your first fertilizer application of the year.
5. Aerate and dethatch your lawns. Aeration opens up the soil beneath the lawn and to stimulate root growth, especially when followed by a balanced fertilization. Core aeration also relieves soil compaction in older lawns and high traffic areas. Multiple aerations (2-3 times or more per year) can greatly benefit high-use lawns by helping to ease soil compaction and improve drainage. Dethatching, or deep raking to remove dead matted grass, once a year will allow water and air to reach the roots system more easily.

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