Caring For Your Lawn Issue 1: Tips

Welcome to your first email on lawn care, and thanks for subscribing. This is the first of five emails that will teach you to care for your grass the right way, no matter what your skill level. We'll be covering the basics of mowing, raking, weeding, and seeding as well as breaking down the important jobs of dethatching, aerating, overseeding, fertilizing, how to choose a lawn mower and how to keep that mower in good working order.  When you're finished reading this course you'll know all you need to know to make a perfect, lush, green lawn that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Here are the basics every lawn pro needs to know:

Do mow your lawn as often as needed. The rule is to only cut one third of the height at a time. Any more than that hurts the photosynthesis ability (the way plants convert carbon dioxide into sugar for growth).

Tip: If you haven't been able to mow because of rain, or vacation, raise the blade height on your mower so you're not taking more than 1/3 off the top. Lower it a few days later, to get back to your regular grass height.

Don't cut your lawn short. Two to three inches high is perfect. At this level your grass has the best chance to fend off invading weeds and disease. It provides good shade cover to the roots, and that means water won't just be burned off by the sun.

Tip: Set your mower blades to a 2-inch height. When the lawn reaches 3 inches high, it's time to mow, and you are taking off exactly one third.

Don't water daily. Daily sprinkling is the single worst thing you can do to your grass! Grass roots grow by seeking water, and if water is always close to the surface, they'll never dig down deep.

Tip: If your footprints stay in the lawn, you've waited too long to water, and the blades have lost moisture. Use a stick to poke a hole 4-to 6-inches deep and check the moisture with your finger before it gets to that point.

Do water deeply. Give your yard a thorough watering, giving it a good inch of water. That will teach the roots to reach down for moisture. With a strong deep root system you get many benefits; disease & weed resistance, soil drainage, and drought resistant grass.

Tip: Next time you water, put out empty cans in several spots. When the cans have an inch of water in them, you're done watering.

Do water in the morning. This gives the best chance for the water to soak in, and evaporate off the blades without burning in the midday sun.

Don't water in the evening, this leaves moisture on the top and creates perfect conditions for mildew, disease, and fungus.

Do leave lawn clippings on the yard. This gives an easy and plentiful source of food for your turf. They break down quickly, and return the nutrition back to the yard.

Don't let leaves stay on the ground. Leaves don't break down quickly, and they block out sunlight and trap moisture. This provides the perfect conditions for disease, mold, and fungus.

Taking care of your lawn is such a rewarding thing to do. A good-looking yard is pleasing to see, but there are so many more benefits. You get to spend time outdoors and get some exercise. Not only do you save money by doing the work yourself, you get a workout, and enjoy the day.

A healthy lawn pays you back in other ways, too.

Just like all living things, the stronger it is, the healthier it stays. We focus on organic lawn care for two main reasons. The first is because it means there is no 'keep off' time where you have to keep people and pets away. The second is that it works.

With even just these few tips, you're well on your way to a great lawn. Simple watering and mowing techniques will make dramatic changes for the better. With deeper roots, and longer blades, the whole character of the grass changes to become vigorous and healthy.

In tomorrow's email, we'll go over spring prep, explaining raking, dethatching, overseeding, and aerating. All four things go together for laying the groundwork of a great base for your lawn.

Until next time!

The Editors,
World of Lawn Care