Lawn care seems like it should be easy with the right tools. If you have a sprinkler system, lawn mower, and fertilizer, how hard can it be? There are nuances to lawn care that a lot of homeowners, and even some lawn care companies don’t realize! Below we will go over the three biggest mistakes you can make while taking care of your lawn.
Lawn Watering Mistakes
Many homeowners will water their lawn by setting each zone in their lawn for the same amount of time, say 20 minutes per zone. While this might be the correct setting in one particular lawn, it is likely not the correct way to set up the system. Here’s why: there are different types of sprinkler heads, and different type of heads put out varying volumes of water per minute. For instance, a rotary head will run for 50 minutes, when a pop-up head will only need to run 18 minutes to put out the same volume of water. By running all the zones for the same amount of time, some areas of the lawn will be overwatered, some will be overwatered, and other areas will look great. This leads people to believe they have a bad spot in their lawn, or bad soil in some areas, whereas it may all just be a watering issue.
Watering a lawn properly will help the grass roots grow deeper, and provide a pleasant green lawn without wasting water.
You can follow our 1-2-3-2-1 lawn watering technique to help with setting the sprinklers for the appropriate amount of time. This technique takes into consideration the type of head, how much sun or shade the area gets, the aspect of the lawn, and the time of year. We also offer a sprinkler audit if you would prefer to have your system expertly assessed.
Lawn Mowing and Trimming Mistakes
We often see lawns that are mowed too short, less than 3 inches. The grass roots in your lawn will grow about three times the length of the blade. By mowing taller, your grass roots will grow deeper! Having deep digging grass roots will help the lawn survive temperature swings and other stresses such as dog spots.
Mowing a lawn too short will not only stress the lawn but it will also leave room for weeds to grow. It’s a good rule of thumb to not mow off more than one third of the blade at a time. During the growing season, you will want to mow about once a week. Taking off more than one third of the grass blade at a time will remove too much of the moisture that the grass was holding and will often cause the grass to turn brown.
Make sure to trim horizontally and keep the grass tall. Trimming at an angle will leave the edges too short and may cause it to become bare. If the edges of the lawn are too short, it will allow weeds to move in. The edges of the lawn are where we see crabgrass most often. Crabgrass is a natural erosion control weed, so if there is lush grass to the edge of the lawn, there will be no room for the crabgrass to germinate.
Chemicals and Your Lawn Health
The next mistake is having chemicals applied to the lawn. Be it fertilizer or weed killer, this harms the soil which will make the lawn stressed. Chemicals will kill the microbes in the soil, resulting in a dead soil. This dead soil will no longer provide nutrients to the lawn, and so begins a vicious circle of feeding the lawn more chemicals to keep the lawn green. The dead soils will also affect trees negatively. Trees will need to be fertilized if the soil is dead or unhealthy. Stressed trees are more likely to show signs of disease and be attacked by insects.
Synthetic lawn care can also cause toxic buildup in the soils, and are not child and pet friendly. Organic lawn care will feed the microbes in the soil and treat the weeds organically so the soil stays in good health. This will keep the natural life cycle going of feeding microbes which feed the lawn and trees.
The best things you can do for your lawn are: water deeply and infrequently, mow the lawn tall, and feed the lawn with organic matter. Using organic weed control is also a great way to kill off weeds and fertilize the lawn at the same time. If you follow these steps, everything else will fall into place.