(Family Features) Growing a healthy, appealing lawn isn’t about doing one thing right; it’s about doing a combination of things right. Different aspects of lawn maintenance, whether it’s watering, fertilizing or mowing, are interrelated. If you complete one task incorrectly – or skip it entirely – you may increase problems with insects, diseases and weeds.
To help you on your way to manicuring a well-maintained lawn, BioAdvanced lawn and garden expert Lance Walheim recommends these steps:
Grow the Right Grass
Different grasses grow in different areas of the country. Warm-season grasses, including bahiagrass, Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass and zoysia, usually grow in warmer, more southerly regions. Cool-season grasses are typically grown in cooler, more northerly regions and include fescues, Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass. Check with your local Cooperative Extension office to learn which types of grass grow best in your area.
Start by cutting with a sharp mower blade that cuts grass cleanly, without tearing or shredding. Proper mowing height depends on grass type and time of year. Mow when the grass reaches one-third higher than the recommended mowing height. Set your mower at the upper end of recommended height range during the hottest time of the year to encourage deeper roots. Vary your mowing pattern to avoid creating ruts in the lawn. Avoid mowing when soil is wet or you can risk tearing up grass and soil. Leave grass clippings on the lawn to contribute organic matter to the soil and reduce fertilizer needs.
Provide adequate moisture to grass, especially during episodes of drought or high temperatures. Provide deep (6-8 inches), infrequent irrigation, allowing the lawn to partially dry out between watering cycles. This promotes healthy, deeper roots that can better withstand dry periods.
Before you start a fertilizer program, conduct a soil test so you know you’re applying the correct blend of nutrients. In some parts of the country, soils may be acidic or alkaline and require additions of iron, magnesium or lime. Also, different types of grass need to be fertilized at different times of the year.
Scout for Problems
Like any landscape planting, lawns can suffer from a variety of problems. Weeds, bare spots, insects and diseases can weaken and even destroy a healthy lawn if left untreated. Keep an eye out for problems in your lawn with these tips:
Aerate and Dethatch
Compacted soil doesn’t allow air and water to reach grass roots, which can result in unhealthy grass. Aerating helps relieve soil compaction and reduces thatch.
For more lawn care tips and specifics on mowing, watering, fertilizing and weed control, visit bioadvanced.com.
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