Lawn Care Tips

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WATER: THE KEY TO A GOOD LAWN
After you’ve installed your grass, watering is crucial. Some people water their lawns only during drought periods, and some won’t water for some time after it has rained, mistakenly thinking that the rain offered sufficient moisture. Lawns use an abundance of water, especially during the warm, humid season.

Whatever watering system you use, check to make sure you are getting adequate coverage. Sprinkler systems are designed to overlap, thus curbing brown spots, but even the best sometimes miss a few patches. Check out your system and find ways to compensate. A healthy lawn will demand a reliable deep-watering system. Your lawn will get some additional moisture from rain, normal condensation, and even morning dew; but you can’t really rely on these. Nor can you rely on occasional short waterings. It is better to water once or twice a week with 1⁄2 to 1 inch per application than to sprinkle lightly every day. This develops a stronger and deeper root system opposed to a shallow one.

LAWN CARE AND FEEDING
Your grass also will need feeding—not merely to promote health but also to help it choke out weeds that inevitably invade any lawn. Healthy grass will fight for its own space in the ground, and this battle should be reinforced with fertilizer to enable the grass to hold its own. Many horticulturists believe in fertilizing only once or twice a year. But more frequent, lighter fertilizer applications seem to be the secret to continuing the good growth of turf. All lawns need NPK—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—but other minor elements, such as iron, also are advisable for optimum turf growth. Check the label on your fertilizer to make sure you are feeding your lawn all the elements needed for best results.

MOWERS AND MOWING
Many gardeners spend considerable money, time, and effort installing a lawn, then attack it with a mower that does little more than lacerate the grass. Then they wonder why the turf deteriorates after a few weeks with rough brown tips on the leaves. Every lawn deserves care and consideration when it is being mowed, just as attention should be given to the type of mower being used and its condition. The height at which you should set your mower depends upon the type of grass you have. St. Augustine should be kept at 3 inches and the dwarf variety at 2 inches. Bermuda and zoysia look best when cut to 2 inches, as do most other lawn grasses. After you have planted a lawn, allow it to grow fairly high before mowing, then mow once at a setting of about 5 or 6 inches. Then make another pass to cut it down to the final, desired height. Place your mower on level concrete to make the height adjustment, measuring from the blade to the ground for accuracy. Never try to mow very high grass down to 2 inches as this may result in damage to the grass. Mowing grass is like having a haircut at the barber: gradual shortening will achieve the desired results better than a heavy-handed attack!


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