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» Lawn Care and Feeding

How Did I Do It? > Home & Garden > Lawn Care and Feeding
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In building a healthy, green lawn start from the foundation upward.

Good soil means healthier grass. Basically, good soil is well aerated, has well-balanced nutrients, and at least ¼ inch of organic materials added to it once or twice a year (July is one good time). This way your soil accepts water easily, allows for root growth, and also won’t retain too much water (as happens in yards that have lots of clay).

Once you have established good soil, sew the seed you’ve chosen or lay the sod. With seed, be careful that it’s at least 1″ below the surface of the soil so birds and animals don’t eat your pre-grown lawn away before it has a chance to start. With sod, watering is going to be essential. Check it daily to make sure it’s taking to the landscape.

In both cases, periodic fertilizing can really turn on the green. I personally prefer organic options as many chemicals, if used improperly, will burn your grass. Additionally, unless you know the exact conditions of your soil, its very easy to choose the wrong fertilizer for your yard, and actually do more harm than good. When you consider that homeowners in the US spend upward of 17 billion dollars a year on lawn care products, why take chances on harming your investment?

Along with watering and nutrition, mowing is also part of lawn care. It’s recommended that you not keep grass too low. If you hit a really not streak, your grass can burn. Additionally when grass is kept too short it doesn’t absorb nutrients from the soil any where near as effectively. Beyond this, botanists tell us that slightly higher grass can actually deter weeds and crabgrass too! So keep your lawn mower set to about 3″ and don’t worry about the clippings. Leaving them on your lawn to decompose provides more organic nutrients to the grass and soil.

Throughout the year watch for small bald spots in your lawn. These areas are the spots where weeds will try to grow. So get some seed in there as soon as possible and water that area daily until the grass re-establishes itself. This process encourages a relatively continuous turf that makes it hard for other plants to muddle into the mix.

Speaking of water, remember to treat your lawn early in the day. Watering later than that and the grass may burn. Watering at night may bring fungus. By the way, you need not water every day. In fact, experts tell us its better to have one good watering instead of three short applications.

This encourages root growth.

Also, if you’re having a very dry season, it’s okay to let your grass go dormant. Unless you can really keep up with watering during such times, dormancy is better for your grass in the long-haul. Oh, and for those with filtered water features, save the water that you rinse out of those filters. Grass loves the stuff, as do many plants!

Consider that during the typical mid summer it can take as much as 5000 gallons of water a week to keep your lawn green and bright, even for a smaller, half acre lawn. This makes reusing the water economical as well as earth friendly.

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