A healthy grass can resist diseases, insects, weeds, heat and cold stresses, much better than an unhealthy one. Often these conditions can be controlled simply by altering the cultural practices to favor the grass plants rather than the weeds.
Here are some cultural lawn care tips to help you with your lawn:
- Mow at the proper height for your grass species.
- All grass types need a certain amount of blade length in order to conduct photosynthesis (required to feed the plant).
- Cutting too short can harm the crown and weaken the plant.
- Mow 3 – 3 1/2″, never shorter than 2 – 2 1/2″.
- Keeping a longer lawn (3 1/2″) allows for maximum photosynthesis and encourages the grass to over-crowd the weeds.
- Never cut more than 1/3 of the blade at a time.
- Never mow in hot temperatures (over 90 degrees).
- Raise the mower height during the hot summer months to provide shade to underlying growth.
- Higher growth will also enhance the retention of moisture in the soil.
- Always have sharp blades for a clean healthy cut that heals quickly.
- Mower blades should be sharpened at least 3-4 times per year.
- Alternate mowing patterns. This reduces soil compaction and turf wear from wheels.
- If you have a diseased area, mow that section last to prevent spreading it.
- Clean mower deck after each use so not to spread diseases.
- It is best to water in the morning so the grass can dry before nightfall.
- Too much moisture, from evening watering or over-watering, contributes to diseases.
- Lawns need 1 inch of water per week.
- Mature lawns need deep watering and less frequent.
- Deep watering promotes a stronger, deeper root system.
- Light watering keeps roots to the surface of the soil, rather than growing deep into the soil.
- Newly seeded lawns need frequent, light watering to promote seed growth.
- Relieves compaction which limits air, water & nutrients from reaching the grass root.
- Stimulates root growth
- Aerating in Maine should be done spring and fall (not in summer).
- Thickens turf so there are fewer places for weeds to grow.
- Weeds and grass can’t occupy the same space.
- If the grass isn’t there, the weeds will be.
- Over 1/2″ of thatch is too much.
- Excess thatch robs the grass root of nutrients, air, water and fertilizer.
- Heavy thatch layers provide the perfect place for lawn damaging insects to reside.
- Grass is a living organism and needs food, water and protection to survive.
- Slow release fertilizers release nutrients over time, rather that all at once.
- Lawns depend on three things to flourish…
- Nitrogen – gives the grass its rich green color and makes it grow sturdy, dense and thick.
- Phosphorus – works more under the surface to encourage strong root growth.
- Potassium – works with the nitrogen to help toughen the roots and foliage.
- Fertilizer comes with a series of 3 numbers. These numbers represent the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, in that order. These blends perform special needs.
- pH stands for “potential Hydrogen”.
- Proper soil fertility is another factor that strengthens the plant.
- Know your lawns pH – soil tests should be done at least every other year.
- The pH scale goes from 0-14, with 7 being neutral.
- Above 7 is alkaline and below 7 is acidic.
- Many Maine lawns are highly acidic.
- Soil pH affects how well a fertilizer works.
- Limestone is used to make soils less acidic and bring the pH number up.
Call Sterling today for a free lawn evaluation. (207)767-5555