From sowing to mowing, these are the high-points that will ensure that you have the most gorgeous grass in the neighborhood
- Test your soil pH using a kit from your local home improvement store or garden center. Optimum range is 6.2 – 7.2; spread lime to increase, sulfur to decrease
- Use the appropriate grass types for your region – Down south, use warm season grasses like bermudagrass, zoysia, buffalograss, and bahiagrass. Further north, use cool season grasses like bentgrass, bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass.
- Overseed thin spots, any time – during dry summer months use a coated seed to help retain moisture (see Spreaders)
- Keep mower blades sharp – visibly brown tips are an indicator of a dull mower blade, which leaves damaged grass susceptible to fungus
- Never cut more than one-third of the blade off at a time – Use the proper cutting height for your grass – (Fescue should be cut 3” to 4”; Bermuda grass 3/4” to 1 1/2”; Zoysia 3/4” to 2”)
- Mow lower when wet – helps increase evaporation rate and fight fungus during wet spells
- Mow higher when dry – increases moisture retention during dry spells
- Alternate your mowing pattern to help avoid creating compacted ruts
- Remove excess grass clippings on lawn – small amounts are beneficial, large piles are not. If it cannot fall beneath the surface of the lawn, it should be removed.
- Use low-nitrogen fertilizer in spring – while fertilizer high in nitrogen may show quick results, it prevents the root system from developing fully which can lead to problems later in the season
- Don’t fertilize during dry spells – higher probability of “nutrient burn”
- Water in the early morning – minimizes water loss due to evaporation and prevents unintentional burning. Watering at night can result in fungal diseases.
- Water more thoroughly and less frequently – soil should be saturated 6-8” down. Check by pushing a shovel into the soil and leaning it forward. Shallow watering inhibits root system formation and promotes weed growth.
- If the soil wont absorb water adequately, aerate – if using a plug aerator, break up the plugs and leave them on lawn so that the nutrients return to the soil (see Aerators)
Scan our Lawn Maintenance Schedule for optimal application times
Author: Brad Turner