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The Basics of Lawn Care, Growing Grass and General Yard Maintenance

The basics of lawn care includes watering, fertilizing and mowing as the primary maintenance practices. Core aeration, overseeding, compost topdressing and dethatching are important secondary yard maintenance practices.

Proper grass care encourages healthy, deep rooting lawns while lowering costs, conserving resources and benefiting the environment.

Master the basics of lawn care and you will be on your way to growing grass that will have your neighbors green with envy.


Benefits of Growing Grass

The BIG argument against lawns...

"Grass is a resource hog! A waste of natural resources. Lawn chemicals and equipment pollute air and water!"

Well...You can't blame the grass! Its a very important part of our landscapes, lifestyles and environment.

The problem is not knowing how to manage a lawn - or improper mowing, watering and fertilizing. Its safe to say we've all broken a few Rules of a Green-Thumb in our yards.

We need to do it better...

As responsible growers, gardeners, landscapers and homeowners we should take an eco-friendly approach to lawn care -- achieving desired results while using less "in-puts" and lowering maintenance costs.

The Basics of Lawn Care

Mowing, watering and fertilizing are primary maintenance practices. They're interrelated and determine the quality of your lawn.

What do we mean by interrelated?

The more you water, the more you will need to mow and fertilize. The shorter grass is mowed, the more water and fertilizer it will need...you get the picture.

Primary Maintenance: Mowing, Watering, Fertilizing

Lawn Mowing Tips

Lawn Mowing Tips

Mowing is the most important maintenance practice. How you mow sets the stage for everything else.

How to cut grass:

  • Cut high - cutting too short stresses the lawn and reduces vigor.
  • Remove no more than 1/3 of the leaf blades (1/3 Rule).
  • Always mow with sharp blades.
  • Recycle your grass clippings.
  • Don't cut in the same direction every time.

Click for more mowing tips.

Watering to Conserve and Encourage Deep Roots

Watering keeps your lawn green when its hot and dry. These tips encourage deep roots and conserve water.

  • Only water when your lawn needs it.
  • Don't run sprinklers every day. 2 or 3 times a week is plenty
  • Water deep, get the soil moist 6 to 8 inches deep.
  • Irrigate in the early morning hours to reduce evaporation.

Click for more watering tips.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing Lawns

Lawns need fertilizer to supply nutrients that are deficient in the soil. Timing, type and how it is applied are important factors to consider.

What's the best lawn Fertilizer?

Are organic lawn fertilizers better than chemical fertilizers?

What do the numbers on the bag mean? Did you know those numbers can be used to calculate actual fertilizer costs?

Ultimate Mole Control - End Ground Mole Problems

Basics of Lawn Care: Secondary Maintenance

Aerating, overseeding, dethatching and compost topdressing are secondary maintenance practices. These are not required for growing grass. However, they play a very important role in the quality of your lawn.

Basic of lawn care - C Aeration

Core Aeration

Aeration is means to supply the soil with air.

The best way to aerate a lawn is with a plug or core aerator - a machine that removes soil cores.

Benefits of aerating:

  • loosen compacted soil
  • Improve soil water and air infiltration
  • Stimulates root growth
  • Breaks down thatch

Click for more about core aeration

Overseeding

Overseeding turns a thin lawn into a thick, lush lawn.

The best time to overseed is right after you core aerate. The seeds get into the holes where they are protected and make contact with the soil.

Some lawns - such as fescue lawns - benefit from annual fall overseeding.

Warm season grasses are often overseeded with a cool season grass to keep them green through the winter.

Click for more overseeding tips.

Dethatching a Lawn

Dethacthing

When should you Dethatch Your Lawn?

Grass with a thatch layer over ½ inch need to be dethatched with a mechanical dethatcher - or power rake.

Click for more Dethatching Tips.

Compost Topdressing

Basics of Lawn Care - Compost Topdressing

Compost topdressing improves the soil-grass ecosystem by: adding organic matter which improves water retention and soil structure, stimulating beneficial soil microbes, breaking down thatch, neutralizing the pH. Compost also contains all of the nutrients your grass needs.

Topdressing with compost is easy. A wheel barrow, leaf rake and enough compost to cover ½ inch per 1000 ft2 or the recommended rate of ½ cubic yard per 1000 ft2 of lawn is all you need. You can buy compost in bulk or make your own.

You won't need a specialized topdressing spreader, simply dump wheel barrow loads around the yard, spread and rake it in with a leaf rake.

I recommend mulching grass but if you must bag them you can use them in you compost pile.

Click to learn how to compost grass clippings



Basics of Lawn Care

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