Growing a lush, green lawn is well within the capabilities of any homeowner, as long as you follow a few simple rules. Unfortunately many lawns fail, not because of neglect, but because of some bad practices and misconceptions.
So, to help you have the greenest, healthiest lawn in the neighbourhood, this compiled list helps you avoid the biggest pitfalls standing between you and a great lawn.
Mistake #6: Not Aerating
Aeration is one of the most important steps to maintaining healthy lawns. Unfortunately most homeowners never aerate their lawn.
Aeration involves poking holes into the soil, so the lawn can more easily absorb water, fertilizer and amendments, such as peat moss. If you’ve got a small lawn, you can use a manual aerator, which is a spiked tool that you stomp into the ground to create a series of holes.
Otherwise, rent a power aerator, which is a walk-behind fuel-powered machine that can punch thousands of holes in a matter of minutes. Just be careful you don’t damage any buried irrigation lines or cables.
Mistake #7: Improper Fertilizing
While most homeowners know it’s important to fertilize a lawn, few do it correctly. Applying the wrong fertilizer or applying too much fertilizer can do more harm than good. And the correct fertilizer can be ineffective if applied too sparingly or at the wrong time of year.
Now, with that said, it’s difficult to give specific recommendations for fertilizing because so much depends upon the type of grass and region of the country, so it’s best to check with a local landscaper for specific recommendations.
If crabgrass is present, use a crabgrass preventative agent combined with a slow-release lawn fertilizer. However, don’t apply it until the grass is green and has been mowed a couple of times.
Apply a slow-release lawn fertilizer, if you didn’t do so in the spring. Treat dandelions and other broadleaf weeds with a dual-function “weed and feed” product.
Inspect lawn for insect pests. If necessary, apply a grub-control agent.
Apply a fall fertilizer to strengthen the lawn and repair summer damage. Treat bare spots with an all-in-one lawn repair mix that contains grass seed, mulch, and a quick-start fertilizer. And if you’re only going to fertilize your lawn once a year, do it in the fall. Grass leaves grow much more slowly as the weather cools, but the grass roots and rhizomes continue to grow strong. (Rhizomes are the horizontal plant stems that lie just beneath the soil’s surface; they produce the blades of grass above and the roots below.)
Mistake #8: Over Watering
Water, of course, is vital to growing and maintaining a healthy lawn, but over watering can be just as destructive as watering too little. If you water too frequently, the grass will fail to develop deep roots because there’s no need for it to reach deep down into the soil to find moisture. Watering correctly allows the grass to grow deep roots, creating a lawn that’s much stronger, healthier and better equipped to survive drought conditions.
As a general rule, most lawns require about an inch of water per week, but that varies widely based on weather, soil conditions, and grass species. For more specific information, contact a local nursery or landscaper.
Mistake #9: Not Raking Up Leaves
No one enjoys raking, but it’s important to remove leaves from the lawn shortly after they’ve fallen from the trees. If you wait until all the leaves have fallen or even worse, fail to remove them at all, the leaves will stick together and form an impenetrable mat, which can kill the grass and breed fungal diseases.
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