Barry Landscape and Maintenance


Lawn Maintenance Tips

This section will provide some useful lawn maintenance tips:
MOWING: Raise the mower to cut the grass higher rather than cutting it short. The upper portion of the grass carries more nutrients to the roots helping in better growth of the grass. Thicker grass roots mean less of weeds. Taller grass also keeps sun off from soil preserving the water content.
To prevent the problem of falling over grass blades, mow the lawn for a second time changing the angle of the affected area. Cut only 1/3 portion of the grass at a time. Doing more than that isn’t good for the grass.
Regular sharpening of mower blades would prevent your lawn grass from tearing and wounding. This in turn would prevent the grass from infection and diseases. Besides, sharpening the blade would make it easier for you to mow quickly.
Try not to mow the grass when it’s wet. It’s important to change the mower’s oil at least once during the mowing season. If possible, mow your lawn in a different direction with each mowing. Altering the direction ensures the grass blades grow more erect and don’t follow a set pattern.
MULCHING: Grass clippings contain 10% nitrogen that is the main ingredient of fertilizers. Thus you can consider mulching those grass clippings to decompose and provide the necessary nitrogen for a better grass growth. Mulched grass clippings also provide shade to the soil and prevent weeds and seeds from germinating.
Ideally, the mulch layer should be approximately one to three inches deep. However, for ornamental plants, a one inch layer is sufficient enough. As the mulch starts decomposing add more to maintain this optimum depth.
Do not mulch right up to the base of trees and shrubs, as it could cause decay and injury. A healthy mulch mixture can consist of shredded hardwood bark or cypress, pine needles, and pine bark nuggets.
SOIL TIPS: It is very important to keep the right pH balance of the soil of your lawn. A soil that is only slightly acidic to neutral is good for most turf grasses while weeds thrive on more acidic or alkaline soils.
Use a soil test kit to determine the pH level of your lawn soil. If your lawn has naturally acidic soil you may use lime or wood ash to neutralize it. It is advisable to aim at improving the pH balance gradually to the desired levels and should be done over a few applications. Aerating your lawn at regular intervals is very important for the soil. This helps the soil and the roots to absorb air, water and nutrients.
GRASS RECYCLING: Different types of grasses require feed and seed at the right time. For example mid- August to mid September is the right time to sow the cool season grasses, as this is the best time to provide warmer soil for germination. By the time the grass is out in the air, it is cooler for the grass to thrive. Similarly the warm season grasses should be grown in spring and summer but not in fall.
The best way to recycle your lawn clippings is by using mulch mowers. This helps in returning nitrogen and other nutrients directly back to your lawn. You can also recycle your grass clippings, by either spreading it on your vegetable and flower gardens, or mixing it into the compost pile. The easiest way to recycle your lawn grass is by mowing it regularly. Grass clippings quickly decompose and release nutrients to fertilize the lawn.
WATERING: To avoid wastage of water, use water sprinkler system for proper watering of your lawn. Most types of grasses require about an inch of water every week. It is better to water the grass for the entire week at one go rather than watering every day. Early morning is the best time to water.
If possible, water your lawn early in the day when it is wet from dew. Avoid midday due to evaporation, and at night due to increased chances of some diseases. It’s important to keep your lawns partly dry between two watering sessions. This lets air into the root system, stimulates deeper root formation and helps in making your lawn draught tolerant.
Grass has a natural ability to reduce its growing activities to overcome a draught situation. Overusing nitrogen fertilizer may affect this ability of the grass. The latitude of the region and the average annual rainfall it gets determines which type of grass is best suited for your lawns. Cool season grass is for northern regions while warm seasonal grasses are best suited for southern regions of America.
WEEDING: The growth of some weeds is good for your sod as they provide food and habitat for insects that are beneficial and help in controlling the pests. The Clover weed works to fix nitrogen from the air and uses it as a free fuel for the grass, besides making your lawn look greener when it is not flowered. While Clover attracts earthworms that are good for your soil, the commonly found turf pests usually avoid Clover. Clover is rich in nutrients like protein, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
THATCHING: Do not de-thatch your lawn in mid-season as it will inhibit growth and even kill off parts of your lawn. Raking of the lawn is suggested for small and medium sized lawns that have thatches lesser than one inch. If the thatch is more than ½”, remove it with a rake or dethatching machine.
TICK PREVENTION: The best way to prevent ticks is by keeping your lawn mowed to a height of 3 inches or less. Low height lowers the humidity at ground level, making it difficult for ticks to survive. Try to avoid densely planted beds in your lawn. You can use wood chips or gravel to create a barrier between wooded areas where ticks are common and your lawn. Make sure your lawn is clear from weeds, leaf litter, and other debris. This vegetation can attract ticks and their hosts as well.