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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.
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.
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.
Mowing is the most important maintenance practice. How you mow sets the stage for everything else.
How to cut grass:
Watering keeps your lawn green when its hot and dry. These tips encourage deep roots and conserve water.
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 do the numbers on the bag mean? Did you know those numbers can be used to calculate actual fertilizer costs?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.