Dick Stoner's Blog
Many of us grew up with the chore of mowing the lawn or pulling weeds at our parents’ house. It can seem like common sense that grass mostly just takes care of itself.
However, there’s a lot more to growing a healthy green lawn than just mowing every two weeks. In this article, we’ll talk about some lawn care techniques that you might be forgetting that will help you maintain a healthy lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood.
Many people try to prolong the time between cuts by setting their mower to a short height. Others just like the look of their lawn when it is cut very short. The downside of this practice is that it isn’t healthy for the grass for a number of reasons.
First, tall grass is able to develop stronger roots, which you’ll need if you have kids, pets, or plan on using your lawn for anything other than looking at.
Another reason is that grass shades the soil beneath it from the sun. This helps the soil maintain moisture longer which, in turn, helps your grass grow better.
So, how much grass should you cut off? Experts recommend that you remove only the top third of the grass as a general rule. However, different types of grasses have a preferred height, so be sure to find out which type of grass you have if you plan on cutting it shorter than two inches.
Fertilizer is not optional
Soil nutrients are depleted over time. If you’ve noticed what was once a healthy lawn slowly deteriorating over the years, there’s a good chance you need to fertilize.
To determine the exact type of fertilizer you’ll need, it’s a good idea to test the pH of your soil. You can purchase a soil testing kit online and from some lawn care retailers, or you can send your sample to a lab to be tested.
Once you know the pH, you can buy the right fertilizer to help balance the quality of your soil and promote the growth of your lawn.
Aerate your lawn
Lawns take a beating over the years. Whether it’s from the stomping feet of children, the pressure of rain, or just the force of gravity, the topsoil of your yard will become compacted.
This makes it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots of your grass and it makes your lawn work harder to build its root network.
There are a few ways to aerate your lawn. You can buy a hand tool at a hardware store designed for putting small spikes into the ground. But, if you have a large yard you might want to consider renting an aerating machine that will save you time and blisters.
Reuse your clippings
Most people collect the clippings from their lawn in a big pile and eventually haul it away. However, those clippings are filled with nutrients that your lawn could use to grow.
Grass clippings decompose quickly and if you disperse them evenly on the lawn they aren’t noticeable for long.