I know lawn care is not the sexiest thing to talk about or do in your yard, but we all realize how a nice lawn sets off the entire look of your landscape.
Having a nice lawn does not have to be difficult. Oh sure, there is a lot to know to be an expert, but that’s where your Lawn Pro’s at White Oak Gardens can help. In maintaining any lawn, attention should be given to the fundamentals of mowing, watering and fertilizing. Undesirable weeds, diseases and insects often are the result of failing to follow through on one of these procedures. Building a thick, green lawn with a good program will check the encroachment of most weeds and lessen severe damage by diseases and insects.
Newer developments in turf grass varieties have made having a better lawn much easier. These Turf Type Tall Fescues are more drought and disease resistant, extremely durable, have dark green color with fine leaf blades and grows in full sun or shade. If you have no idea what type of grass you have or if you have not reseeded in a while, this would be the best choice for our tri-state lawns.
Mowing a lawn to the right height at the right time resists weeds, insects and diseases, and appears lush and healthy. Infrequent mowing often results in the removal of too much grass at one time, and eventually produces a lawn that looks thin, spotty, or burned.
- Start in spring, as soon as there is new growth to cut.
- Mow regularly, at 2 to 2 ½ inches tall in spring and fall.
- In the summer heat, raise the height a notch or two.
- Never cut off more than 1/3rd the length of grass in a single mowing.
- Sharpen the mower blade at least once or twice a season.
Water is one of the basic requirements of any plant. How long your lawn can go between watering depends on several factors. Roots grow where there is water. Keeping the top few inches wet, the roots will not venture deeper. This could weaken the grass plants making the lawn more susceptible to weed infestations and disease problems.
- As a rule, grass needs about one inch of water per week. This amount applied over two or 3-day period is best.
- Better to soak deeply, rather than light sprinklings daily.
- The best time to water is in the morning or early afternoon so the grass blades are dry going into the night. Wet lawns into the night can lead to disease growth during high nighttime temperatures.
- Contrary to popular belief, watering in the hot part of the day does not “burn” the blades of grass. However, evaporation is greater at this time of the day, so not as much of the water is getting to the grass plants.
- All this said the best guideline is to water when the lawn is dry.
Developing a thick green turf requires about 3 to 5 lbs. of Nitrogen per year applied in intervals during optimal root growing season. The easiest way to do this is with Scotts 4-Step, or Ferti-lome 3-Step Programs. An organic option is Espoma 3-Step Program.
Lawn weeds fall into two general categories, annuals and perennials.
- Annual weeds germinate from seed, complete their growing cycle and seed themselves before dying each year. Examples are crabgrass, foxtail, spurge and chickweed. Use pre-emergent controls, which stop the young plants as they germinate and develop from seed. These products must be applied before you see the weeds.
- Perennial weeds do not die at the end of the growing season. They go dormant in winter and appear again each spring. Weeds like, dandelion, ground ivy, and clover. Use post-emergent controls, which get rid of established plants. The best time to kill weeds is when they are most actively growing.
Several types of insects can invade our lawns. Chinch bugs and grubs are of main concern. A single application of Scotts GrubEx made any time April through mid- August and will provide protection all season long.
Lawn diseases are the result of a variety of fungi, which attack the grass plants, weakening individual grass plants and thinning the lawn. There are some good control products available, but should be reserved for sever out breaks, many times the lawn will recover on its own with good cultural practices.