We all want to have a healthy lawn with fresh, green grass. However, it’s common for us to commit ridiculous mistakes. Sometimes, this is due to our perception that we are conducting proper lawn maintenance – even when we are not doing so. To make homeowners better informed, we’ve come up with a list of the 12 things you should never do to your lawn.
When you grow plants along the foundation of your house, it will typically look wonderful at first. The shrubs and trees that you saw at the local garden center look good. However, not everyone understands that these living things will grow bigger and occupy more space in the long run. Thus, homeowners are annoyed at constantly having to trim the shrubs that demand more growing space.
Before you purchase plants for your lawn, you need to know the dimensions. Grow them in areas where they can reach their full mature size without affecting the view you intended. A good option is to get dwarf trees that won’t ever become too tall as the years pass by. Similarly, the use of columnar shrubs will help if the width is a problem.
Ideally, there shouldn’t be a problem with using ground covers. These low-lying plants are meant to effectively cover your lawn. In turn, their growth will prevent bad weeds from invading your lawn and stealing nutrients from the plants. However, ground covers can grow out of hand if you let them.
There are ground covers that thrive even without enough sunlight. It becomes difficult to remove them due to their resiliency. One example is the English ivy, which becomes as problematic as weeds when they are vigorously all around your lawn. When you do use ground cover, you must be careful not to let them grow unchecked.
If you want to encourage robust grass growth, you should use fertilizer. However, you should know the right amount. Not having read carefully about fertilizer application leads to an overdose. When your grass receives too much fertilizer, fertilizer burn could arise. This is when dead or damaged grasses start to appear due to all of the nitrogen and salt that your grass could no longer absorb.
Once your lawn suffers from fertilizer burn, you could treat the grass by applying water. Still, prevention is much better. Before you apply fertilizer, you must know if it has the right chemical proportions to suit your grass varieties. Likewise, you need to apply less or only as much as the recommended amount, especially if you have newly planted grass.
If your dog frequently goes around your lawn to urinate, you need to take the urine into account. Since your pet is a carnivore, its urine contains nitrogen. Thus, dog urine has the same chemical element as your fertilizer. If a dog urinates too much in one patch of grass, that patch could die from nitrogen overdose.
In order to stop dog urine from harming your lawn, you should ensure that your dog drinks a lot of water every day. This will dilute the nitrogen in the dog urine. Similarly, providing canned dog food to your pet will result in less nitrogen-heavy urine since the food is moist.
Likewise, you could regularly water your lawn to combat the excessive nitrogen deposits. Also, could try applying less fertilizer or growing grass such as fescue and rye since they won’t quickly succumb to dog urine.
If you are using a gas-powered lawn mower, you must be careful not to spill any fuel on the grass. Fuel and other chemicals that land on your lawn can quickly lead to dead patches of grass.
If you want to refuel your lawn mower with gas, you can do it away from your lawn. In addition, you should conduct proper maintenance of your lawn care equipment to prevent gas leaks. Similarly, the lawn spreader must not scatter too much fertilizer all over your lawn.
One mistake that homeowners commit is ignoring the type of grass on their lawn when they mow. If you have cool-season grass varieties such as fescue grass and ryegrass, they will experience robust growth from spring to fall. For these grasses, they should be mowed at a height between 3.5 and 4 inches.
If you have warm-season grass varieties such as Zoysia grass and Bermuda grass, the mowing height should range from one to two inches. The key thing is that you don’t have to remove more than a third of the grass height. If you mow more than this, scalping could occur and your lawn is less resistant to drought and weeds.
Mowing accordingly will help the grass improve their root systems while giving your lawn a better appearance. This is due to the fact that mowing the tip of the grass blades will lose the hormones that prevent them from growing thicker.
If your plants are receiving too much sunlight, you would have to water them more frequently. Sufficient watering will prevent soil compaction while also providing enough moisture. On the other hand, your lawn grass could also suffer from not having enough sunlight. One way to solve this is to prune the tree branches.
In case that your own house is the source of shade, you should reduce the water you provide in this shaded part of your lawn. Another solution is to keep the height of the shaded grass an inch taller compared to the grass that receives enough sunlight. Lastly, you could try growing ryegrass and fescue grass since they could thrive even with inadequate sunlight.
One of the worst things you could do to your lawn and also your lawn care equipment is to mow wet grass. You won’t achieve even cuts since the grass blades will stick together. Some of the wet grass will be temporarily flattened by the lawn mower wheels and won’t get cut. When they do rise again, they won’t have the same height as the others.
In addition, the grass clippings could go in your lawn mower and prevent it from functioning properly. If that wasn’t enough, the wet lawn clippings could prevent sunlight from reaching the grass. Worse, mowing at this time could lead to fungus growth and the spread of plant disease.
Before you even plant any grass seeds on your lawn, you must first have a soil test to know the soil pH level. Identifying the soil pH will help you know whether the soil can encourage optimal grass growth. The soil pH ranges from 0 to 14, with the former representing extreme acidity while the latter represents severe alkalinity.
The soil pH must range from 6.0 to 6.5 if you want your lawn grass to thrive. Still, it could go up to 7.5 and the grass will still grow well. If this isn’t the pH level of your soil, you can adjust it using lime or sulfur. This could take years, but it’s an important step in having a lawn.
You might be thinking that having only one grass variety in your lawn will give it a uniform look. However, this can have costly consequences. If your grass is not resistant to drought, your lawn will be filled with dead grass. Thus, we recommend that you have at least two grass varieties in your lawn to prepare for these problems.
For starters, you could go with bluegrass and fescue grass. Bluegrass will give your lawn a healthy and green appearance. Likewise, it feels soft and good enough for foot traffic. On the other hand, fescue grass is tough enough to tolerate significant heat and drought. Even when your other grass varieties succumb to drought, you’ll still have one variety thriving on your lawn.
The thick layer of dead and living organic matter located between the grass and the soil is what we refer to as thatch. During the winter, a lot of thatch could accumulate underneath the snow. This is harmful to your lawn grass. Thus, you must remove it properly through dethatching and right before you apply fertilizer. Detaching ensures that fertilizer is absorbed well the soil to help your grass germinate.
Here is a video about dethatching a lawn:
If you only have a small patch of new seed on your lawn, you don’t have to use a non-selective herbicide that could also kill your plants with ease. Similarly, you shouldn’t immediately consider using vinegar or salt. Using salt in a given area will effectively prevent new plants from growing there. Thus, your lawn could have a bare spot for a long time. Instead, you should find the specific herbicide for the weed or just manually remove them.
Overall, there are so many things that homeowners could do that potentially harm their respective lawns. The key to preventing these mishaps is to become well-informed about what you do. From knowing the importance of sunlight and dethatching to dealing with dog urine, you must think and read first before doing anything to your lawn.
We hope that our guide helped you in maintaining your lawn properly. If you have any queries, feel free to send us a comment.
I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.
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