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Cultural Practices for the Lawn

Turf maintenance procedures for a healthy thriving lawn

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Father mowing lawn while caring for his son
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The term cultural practices may not be common outside of turf maintenance circles but it is nice catchall word to describe maintenance procedures performed on a lawn. Cultural practices include weekly tasks like mowing and watering and also less frequent jobs like fertilizing, topdressing and aerating. Cultural practices are intended to improve turf health and vigor thereby reducing weed, and disease pressure.

Mowing the Lawn - The single most popular act in lawn care is mowing the lawn. As popular as it is though, it is not often done correctly. Safety is extremely important, especially when children are known to be in the area. Mowing at the right height and frequency can have a dramatic effect of the health and vigor of the lawn. Read more...

Watering - Whether it's rain, hose, or sprinkler, grass will get water one way of the other. Overwatering is just as bad as under-watering, they both waste the water and can cause weakened turf. A high maintenance lawn needs lots of additional water as well as other inputs like frequent fertilizing and pesticides, while a low maintenance lawn can survive extended periods without rain or supplemental water. Read more...

Fertilizing 101 - When is the best time to fertilize? How much fertilizer do I need? What kind of fertilizer do I use? Lawn fertility is equally important to the administration of cultural practices and yet again is frequently mis-applied. Soil tests need to be taken and a fertilizer program should be established based on the results. Using clean, properly functioning equipment is critical to the proper application of lawn fertilizer and should always be cleaned after each use. Read more...

Dealing with Thatch - What is thatch anyway? How does it affect the lawn and how can it be kept under control? Excess thatch can hamper proper turf growth and care should be taken to monitor thatch depth and avoid rapid build-up. High nitrogen fertilizers encourage lush growth but also contribute to rapid thatch build-up. Read more...

De-thatching the lawn - De-thatching may need to be performed if the thatch layer becomes excessive but is a good cultural practice as regular lawn maintenance. When is the best time to de-thatch? Read more...

Topdressing the lawn As organic alternatives to conventional lawn care become more popular, topdressing with compost is proving to be a key part of an organic lawn care program. Topdressing with compost adds organic matter and valuable microorganisms to the soil and improves turf health and vigor. Although not a common practice, topdressing lawns is becoming more popular as it's results and organic nature are observed. Read more...

Overseeding the lawn - Continually adding seed to the lawn is a great natural defense against weed pressure. Overseeding periodically helps create a dense, lush lawn old and new growth warding off lawn diseases and weeds. Overseeding is best performed in conjunction with other cultural practices like aerating and topdressing. Read more...

Lawn Aeration - Aerating the lawn helps air, water, and fertilizer move into the soil. Aerating also provides and excellent seed bed and is often performed in conjunction with overseeding. Organic fertilizers work better if incorporated into the soil so fertilizing can also be done after aerating. Aerating relieves compaction and is a great way to deal with well travelled parts of the lawn. Read more...

When to call in the professionals - Many cultural practices require unique pieces of machinery that cost thousands of dollars. Not something one is likely to have in their shed. For cultural practices like aerating or topdressing it might make more sense to hire a lawn service company. Even if you mow your own lawn, a decent lawn care service would love to add a aeration or dethatching customer. Read more...

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