8 Proper Lawn Care Techniques
If you find yourself looking at your lawn and wishing it looked as green and healthy as your neighbor's, you're not alone. Our lawn care experts often get asked what can be done to improve overall lawn health, and the answer is always the same: a greener, healthier lawn starts with proper lawn care. Read on to learn about the lawn care techniques you should be using to make your lawn look its best.
1. Know Your Type of Grass
It's important to know what type of grass you have on your lawn for proper lawn care. Warm-season grasses like Zoysiagrass and Bermudagrass have different needs, thrive in different conditions, and have different growing seasons than cool-season grasses like Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass. Once you know what type of grass you have, you'll be better able to take care of it.
2. Mow at the Right Height
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is cutting their grass too short. The ideal mowing height varies depending on the variety of grass you have in your yard (warm-season grasses can usually stand to be cut a bit shorter than cool-season grasses) but in general, it's best not to mow your lawn shorter than 2.5 to 3 inches. As a rule of thumb, try not to cut off more than 1/3 of the grass blades each time you mow. Cutting grass too close to the ground – also known as "scalping" your lawn – leaves your grass vulnerable to drought, pests and disease.
3. Fertilize Smarter
Lawns often need a little fertilizer to help them along, and the ideal time to fertilize your lawn is springtime. Use an organic, slow-release fertilizer that will break down slowly and supply your grass with nutrients gradually throughout the growing season, and do so without harming essential soil microbes, earthworms and beneficial insects.
4. Keep Mower Blades Sharp
Few things are more harmful to your grass than mowing it with a dull lawn mower blade. Rather than giving you a nice clean cut, dull blades shred the grass, leaving it ragged, unhealthy-looking and susceptible to disease. You can often tell your lawn mower blade needs to be sharpened by looking for the tell-tale wild edges on cut blades of grass. In most cases, it's wise to sharpen your blades at least once each mowing season – possibly more if you have a large lawn or mow more frequently than the average homeowner.
5. Mulch Grass Clippings
Bagging up grass clippings and throwing them away is a big mistake. Lawn clippings are a great source of many of the nutrients your grass need to thrive – and it's free! Next time you mow, leave the clippings where they fall and let your living grass re-absorb their nutrients. To help the process along, you can get a mulching kit for your lawn mower, which will chop up the clippings into finer bits that break down more quickly.
6. Irrigate Like a Pro
There's a lot of debate about the ideal method of irrigation for proper lawn care, but a few rules apply across the board. For starters, always water your lawn in the early morning, and never during hot midday hours. Second, it's better to water deep and infrequently than it is to water often and in small amounts. Irrigate your lawn no more than twice a week, but when you do, be sure to give your grass enough water to soak the soil down to a depth of 6 inches.
7. Mow at the Right Time
The ideal time to mow your lawn is the late morning after the dew has burned off, but before the sun starts to beat down in full force. Late afternoon to early evening is a pretty good time too, but avoid mowing in the early morning, noon to mid-afternoon, and late evening. It's also best to never mow your lawn when it's wet, even if it means putting off mowing for a couple of days and letting your grass grow long.
8. Aerate and Overseed
If your lawn looks sparse or has bald patches, aerating and overseeding are effective strategies for thickening up your turf. Start by using an aerator, which creates thousands of small holes in your soil, allowing grass roots to better receive water, oxygen and nutrients. Next, spread some fresh seed in the areas that need it. The holes made by the aerator will make it easier for the new seed to take root. The best time to aerate and overseed your lawn is late spring to early summer for warm-season lawns and early fall for cool-season lawns.
If you're looking for more advice on proper lawn care, you've come to the right place. Contact us today to find a Hustler retailer near you, and let's work together to achieve a greener, healthier lawn.