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5 Great Lawn Care Habits

Simple things you can do to achieve a beautiful lawn.

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5 Great Lawn Care Habits
photo © Jamie Burke

Nurturing a healthy lawn that can deal with the ups and downs of a growing season is not that difficult. Consider these habits a starting point for a comprehensive lawn care program that is easy and won't eat up all your time and money.

Mow high- Mowing the grass too short weakens the plant. It can harm the crown of the plant where growth takes place and creates a vector for weeds to infiltrate. Mow as high as possible to store moisture and carbohydrate reserves so it is better able to survive periods of drought, disease conditions, and other stresses. Keeping a longer lawn (3 1/2")allows for maximum photosynthesis and will encourage the grass to overcrowd weeds.

Practice IPM- Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is just a fancy term for using some common sense. Have realistic expectations for your lawn’s appearance, avoid conditions that attract weeds and pests, and monitor for their presence so an outbreak isn’t a surprise. Use appropriate controls only if necessary with chemical pesticides being a last resort or use organic weed controls.

Water less- Lawns should be watered deeply and infrequently to promote deep rooting. Grass quickly gets used to over-watering. Its roots stop growing deeper in search of water instead they stay close to the surface where the water is. A lawn without a strong, extensive root system is susceptible to weed infestations and will be slow or not able to recover from other stresses like drought.

Compost- Even if you are not on an organic lawn care program, try topdressing with compost as often as possible. Adding compost will build and enrich your soil and over time create the conditions needed to feed the grass naturally. A healthy soil can naturally create the nutrients that grow grass, making conventional fertilizing obsolete. Rich soil is the key to growing a healthy lawn and composting is the best way to get there.

Don’t stress- Plants are weaker during certain stages of growth or different times of the season. Don’t antagonize a stressed lawn with aerating, excessive mowing, heavy traffic, or other cultural practices. When lawns get stressed they are susceptible to weeds, diseases, and other pest out breaks. Also, don’t stress personally. A dry, burned out lawn will come back with adequate rainfall. Dead spots can be repaired. Seasons come and go. Don’t sweat it, it’s only grass.

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