So spring has finally arrived, and just as quickly, summer is already on the horizon. Your lawn has finally greened-up and is actively growing, so how do you keep it that way?
If you’ve not put down crabgrass control already, your chances of prevention are likely nil. Keep an eye out for the emerging crabgrass and your only option is a post-emergent herbicide. Make sure you get something that targets weeds and/or weed grasses only and doesn’t kill lawn grasses if you’re spraying on the lawn.
When you mow, cut your grass high and often. Your lawn should be cut to a height of about 3.5” – 4” in length. Mowing high conserves energy in the grass plants and shades the soil surface which controls evaporation so you don’t need as much water, and keeps weed seeds from germinating.
Don’t catch your grass clippings. Not only is it less work, it’s better for your lawn. Clippings are essentially a natural fertilizer, returning valuable nutrients to your soil. Make sure your mower blade is sharp and avoid cutting when the grass is wet. Contrary to popular belief, leaving grass clippings doesn’t create thatch, and they will break down and disappear quickly as long as you mow at the right height.
Don’t let the grass get too high. A good rule of thumb is not to cut off more than one-third of the length of the grass blades. If your lawn has grown where your normal mowing height would remove more than that, raise the height of your blade and cut once in one direction, then again in another direction at your normal mowing height.
Contrary to popular belief, watering frequently is not good for your lawn as it promotes a shallow root system in your grass. Watering deep and less often forces roots to grow deep to reach water once the surface moisture is gone.
The ideal time to water your lawn is between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. while the air is cool and the wind is calm. Watering during the day can be good for plants by cooling them to reduce heat stress, but is extremely inefficient as a large portion of the water will evaporate before it reaches the soil. Watering at night should be avoided as the grass will likely remain wet for extended periods which can cause fungus and disease.
Photo: Flickr | Scott McLeod
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