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What do I Need to Know About Lawn Care?

Article Details
  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A fabulous lawn – one that is green, dense, and weed-free – can be achieved by doing a conglomeration of things. Lawn care encompasses watering, mowing, fertilizing, dethatching, and aerating. Even the best lawn will look terrible in time if the proper lawn care is not correctly completed.

Lawns do not typically need an abundance of water. In fact, many gardeners overwater their lawn which not only wastes water, but leaches the fertilizer and nutrients from the roots and creates diseased lawns. In general, warm-weather, or warm-season, grasses require less water than cool-weather, or cool-season, kinds. The majority of grasses need one to two inches (2.54 cm to 5.1 cm) of water each week, from rain and/or irrigation. One of the best lawn care techniques is to give the lawn all of its water at once, rather than a little each day; doing so will cause the roots to grow deep in search of water.

After watering the lawn, wait until the top one to two inches (2.54 cm to 5.1 cm) of soil is dry before watering again. It is easiest to monitor the moisture in the soil by probing it with a screwdriver. The screwdriver will become difficult to move when it reaches dry soil. Another easy way to tell if a lawn needs more water is to walk across it. If the footprints remain in the lawn for a few minutes, it is time to water.

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There is one great rule for lawn care: Only mow the top third of a blade of grass at one time. Even if the grass is extremely tall, just mow the grass every few days, only mowing off a third each time. Mowing off too much at one time can cause the roots to die. In addition, it will not be able to withstand high temperatures and infestation by pests and diseases. The ideal height varies depending on the kind of grass, for example:

Buffalo grass: 2 – 4 inches (5.1 – 10.2 cm)
• Hybrid Bermuda: ½ - 1 inch (1.3 – 2.5 cm)
• Kentucky bluegrass: 2 -3 inches (5.1 – 7.6 cm)
• Zoysia: 1 -2 inches (2.5 – 5.1 cm)

Lawn care requires fertilizing at least one or two times each year. Without fertilizer, the grass will grow sparsely and weeds will infiltrate the yard. Cool-weather grasses should be fertilized in the fall; giving the roots a boost in the spring. Warm-weather grasses should be fertilized in the summer – both before and after their peak growing period. Pick a fertilizer that is created specifically for lawns and that has a slow-release formula.

One of the most time-consuming parts of lawn care is the dethatching and aerating process. First, check the lawn for dead stems, roots, and debris – called thatch. Use a dethatching machine or a manual dethatching rake to slice through the old turf so that seeds can easily reach the soil and that fresh air can reduce the likelihood of disease and pest infestation. Then, use a power aerator to remove plugs of soil and grass, leaving holes in the lawn for seeds to germinate. Next, rake up and remove soil and debris from the lawn that was created during the dethatching and aerating process. Lastly, scatter grass seed and fertilizer across the dethatched and aerated lawn.

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