How to Maintain Lawn
In this post, we are going to learn how to maintain Lawn
Identifying Grass Types
Creeping grasses like bluegrass, Bermuda and most warm-season grasses spread by above- or below-ground runners. Creeping varieties are more prone to thatch.
Bunch grasses such as fescue and ryegrass spread from the crown of the plant. Mowing high protects the crown and ensures the survival of the grass.
Popular Cool-Season Grasses
- Perennial ryegrass
- Tall fescue
- Fine fescue
Popular Warm-Season Grasses
- Common Bermuda
- Hybrid Bermuda
Major Components to Lawn Maintenance
- Fighting weeds
- Fighting pests
- Fighting disease
Planting a new lawn is like any good adventure: preparation and planning are key. No matter which planting method you plan to use, you need to prepare the area thoroughly to banish weeds and make sure soil won’t immediately crust over or compact into lumpy ruts. John Griggs, a master gardener in West Virginia, says the most important step and one that many gardeners skip is testing the pH of your soil. Do-it-yourself test kits are available from nurseries and catalogs, or you can take advantage of the testing offered by your state’s designated agricultural university. “It might seem like a hassle, but testing your soil will save you from pouring money into the ground.
Water when the lawn tells you to, not according to some arbitrary plan. Your soil type, grass type, exposure to the sun and the wind are just a few of the factors that will determine how frequently you need to water. It also goes without saying that an adequately fertilized lawn will tolerate dry conditions better than one lacking proper nutrient levels. This might mean some lawns require watering once a week whilst others only need water once a month in exactly the same weather conditions.
The signs to look for when the lawn is starting to gasp a little are a change in color with the lawn becoming dull as moisture levels become low. In addition, the law will lose its ‘springiness’ and footprints will remain on the lawn when normally the grass would spring back to shape.
- Injury to the crown, where new growth generates and nutrients are stored.
- Reduction of the surface area of the blade, making the blade surface insufficient to produce food through photosynthesis.
- Increased vulnerability to pests and disease.
- An increase in the sunlight reaching weed seeds, allowing them to germinate.
- The risk of soil compaction.
- Mow when the grass is dry. The blades will be upright and less likely to clump when cut.
- Avoid mowing in the heat of the day to prevent heat stress on your grass and yourself.
- Keep mower blades sharp and balanced. Ragged cuts made by dull blades increase the chance of disease and pests.
- Change the mowing pattern each time you mow. Grass develops a grain based on your cutting direction, tending to lean towards the direction you mow. Alternating the pattern causes more upright growth and helps avoid producing ruts in the lawn.
- Mow moving forward, whether you’re pushing a walk-behind mower or sitting behind the wheel of a lawn tractor.
- Discharge the clippings towards the area you have already cut.
- Leave clippings on the lawn unless they form clumps or rows. This technique returns nutrients and nitrogen to the lawn.
- Consider using a mulching mower or mulching attachments.
- If you bag your clippings, consider composting them.
- Mow grass higher in shaded areas under trees. In these areas, grass has to compete with tree roots for water and nutrients.
- Reduce mowing frequency and raise the mowing height of cool-season grasses when hot, dry weather slows their growth rate.
Fertilizing Cool-Season Grasses
Fertilize heavily in the fall and lightly in early spring. The growing season for these grasses is mainly in the cool months of spring and fall. Cool season grasses grow best when the temperature is in the range of 60 to 70° Fahrenheit.
Fall is the favorite time of year for cool season grasses, so care for these types is most important at this time of year. Fertilize when the intense heat of the summer has subsided, but well before the onset of severe cold weather. You may choose to apply a special winterizing fertilizer for the fall application. These fertilizers are specially formulated to help protect the grass during the winter months.
In the spring, begin fertilizing early. You may use either slow- or quick-release fertilizer, but time your fertilization regimen so the fertilizer will be used up before the onset of hot summer weather when cool-season grasses often go dormant.
Fertilizing Warm-Season Grasses
Fertilize when the grass starts to turn green in spring. The growing season for these grasses, depending upon the geographic area is during late spring and summer. Warm season grasses grow best when the temperature is in the range of 80 to 95° Fahrenheit, although they will also grow outside of this range.
Use either slow- or quick-release fertilizer, but time your fertilization regimen so the fertilizer will be used up before the onset of severe hot summer weather. Begin fertilizing again after the intense heat of the summer has subsided.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when fertilizing, and ensure that you time the life of the fertilizer so it is not present at the onset of severe hot or cold temperatures. Failing to do so could damage your lawn. When fertilizing, too much is not a good thing.
Proper Lawn Care Is The Best Medicine
When your lawn is stressed, it’s ripe for takeover by weeds. A few simple steps can protect it.
Deep Watering: Watering deeply and infrequently helps your lawn compete by encouraging deeper root growth.
Set your lawn mower higher: Mowing at the proper height, usually one of the 2 highest setting on your mower, helps the grass grow thick to shade weed seeds, so it’s harder for them to grow.
Proper Feeding: Feeding at regularly, like every 6-8 weeks during the growing season.
Pests such as ants in the lawn will most often never create nests inside a healthy lawn which has a healthy amount of thatch, the environment just isn’t suitable for ants to live. While pests such as grubs require poor watering methods and a lot of organic material in the soil in order that they can thrive.
Also, laws are designed to naturally survive and repair from attacks by pests, when the lawn is weakened it can no longer effectively fight off these invaders.
Lawn diseases thrive in areas that are most hospitable to them and are least hospitable to healthy lawns. By reversing this situation and creating an area which is most welcoming to lawns, it, in turn, becomes inhospitable for lawn diseases.
When this balance is correct, the healthy lawn and it’s suitable environment can both easily fight off infestations of disease far easier. Lawn diseases thrive in shade and having a lot of water available in the lawn thatch overnight, and lawns hate it. Begin watering in the mornings only and reduce shade on the lawn.
When you know you’re going to aerate, do so just prior to fertilizing or reseeding your lawn. Aeration creates openings for nutrients and seed to penetrate the soil.
Control weeds prior to aerating, because the process of aerating can spread weed seeds or portions of weedy roots.
Wait for at least a year to aerate newly planted lawns, so that grass is well established.
Aerate when soil is moist, but not saturated. The tines of a lawn aerator penetrate moist soil more deeply; soil that’s too wet clogs lines. To achieve the correct moisture balance, your lawn should absorb 1 inch of water – delivered through rainfall or irrigation – prior to aerating. This may mean you’ll water for one hour one day prior to aerating or, if your soil is hard, for shorter times on several days prior to aerating.
Avoid aerating during drought or high heat. If you aerate in these conditions, you’ll stress the lawn by allowing heat to dry soil.
If you have a small patch of lawn and don’t mind a little exercise, you can use a convex rake. As you pull it through the grass, it lifts up and moves the thatch. Chances are, you’d prefer a power rake, which can be rented at some hardware stores or equipment rental centers. It comes to your grass and kicks out a large amount of debris, which you’ll have to rake off afterward. If you live in a warm climate, be sure to ask if the machine you’re renting is suitable for your type of grass.