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Turf Tips

Having a great looking and healthy lawns requires some basic maintenance and care. Here are a few tips that you can use to help make your lawn a healthier, thick lawn.

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Mowing tips:

  • Don't cut your grass too short, particular for cool season grasses. Higher heights usually provide for a deeper root system, looks better, and is less likely to have weeds invading, particularly crabgrass.

  • Don't remove any more than one third of the grass leaf at any one cutting. If circumstances arise that a lawn gets too tall and you just have to lop off a bunch to get caught up, bite the bullet and break it down into several mowings to get caught up with 3 or so days between cuttings.

  • Avoid mowing when the grass is wet or when it's dark

  • Avoid throwing grass clippings into the street and driveway where they can be washed into the sewer system. After mowing, clean up driveway and walkways.

  • When mowing remove only a third with each cutting (except for the first mowing of the season when it's ok to remove more). You can safely leave clippings that will quickly decompose and add nutrients back into the soil. Contrary to popular opinion, grass clippings do not add to thatch buildup. Grass blades are made up of about 75% water.

  • Mow your lawn in a different direction with each mowing, especially with lawns of shorter grass types. Altering the direction ensures a more even cut since grass blades will grow more erect and less likely to develop into a set pattern.

  • Keep your mower's blade sharp, which means having it sharpened several times during the mowing season. Keep several blades around so you'll always have a sharp one on hand.

  • Don't forget to change your mower's oil at least once during the mowing season.

  • At the end of the mowing season use a fuel stabilizer

  • In the spring, don't use that old gas unless you properly used a fuel stabilizer, it can cause a number of problems. Better to use fresh gasoline to begin the new mowing season.

Water as infrequently as possible

  • Thoroughly water when you do water so moisture soaks down to the roots. Exceptions to this general rule would be for newly seeded lawns where the surface needs to stay moist, newly sodded lawns that have not yet rooted into the soil, or when summer patch disease is a problem. Otherwise, avoid frequent waterings that promote shallower root systems and weeds (e.g., crabgrass).

Water early if possible

  • Given a choice, water early in the day when lawns are normally wet from dew. Avoid midday due to evaporation, and at night due to potential increased chances of some diseases.

Spread the water uniformly across the lawn

  • Sprinklers vary in distribution patterns, and require spray overlap for uniform coverage. Placing coffee cans or similar straight-sided containers on the lawn can help measure water application rates. Avoid flooding areas, or missing other spots. On heavy clay soils and slopes, watch for excessive runoff; it may be necessary to apply the water in several applications to allow for adequate penetration.

See also: FAQ

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"You can safely leave clippings that will quickly decompose and add nutrients back into the soil."