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Seven Secrets to a Beautiful, Healthy Lawn

When Professional Landscapers Need to Fix a Lawn, This is What They Do

1. Don’t Over-Mow! Low and infrequent mowing is perhaps the major cause of lawn deterioration. Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass both do well at 2.5” to 3.0” heights. Taller grasses help prevent weeds, allow roots to reach deeper, and stay greener during drought.

When mowing, the rule is to never remove more than one-third of the leaf surface at any one time, so don’t make up for delayed mowing by cutting down to the roots!

2. Water Well. It is better to water thoroughly as needed so that your grass roots will grow more deeply. Frequent light waterings on a regular schedule can result in shallow rooting and a less hardy lawn.

3. Get Rid of that Pesky Crabgrass. Even the most carefully cultivated lawns can develop patches of unattractive crabgrass. This can be controlled by applying a pre-emergent herbicide before the seeds germinate in the spring -- between March 15 and April 1st in our area.

4. Fertilize Wisely. Most lawn grasses should be fertilized 2-3 times during autumn months with nitrogen. Slow release nitrogen fertilizers are preferred. Water soluble materials such as urea and ammonium nitrate are good performers and less expensive, but they acidify soil more rapidly and provide a shorter-lived greening response.

5. Aerate. Aeration allows grass roots to deeply penetrate the soil, helps fertilizer get to roots, and makes it easier for water to soak into the soil. Aerate once, in the fall. Avoid aerating during dry summer months because you may damage an already stressed lawn. Also, avoid periods when weed seeds are prevalent, as that could cause weed infestation.

There are several types of aerating tools that you can rent. Avoid aerators that only poke holes in the lawn without removing plugs. Water your lawn the day before aerating for best results. After you have run the aerator over all parts of your lawn, break up the plugs with the back of a rake to spread the soil. You can also mix the soil from the plugs with fertilizer. Then water the lawn thoroughly. >>

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6. Spread New Seed. To refresh bare areas, you need reinforcements! Spreading new seed over existing grass areas is called “over seeding.” The recommended time to over seed in this area is early fall. This gives the young grass plants a better chance to germinate, establish strong roots, and store food needed for a head-start in the spring. Make sure you choose the seed that’s best for you!

Tall fescue is the all-around top choice for this area, but some people prefer Kentucky bluegrass which takes a bit more maintenance. Avoid rye grass, which shoots up quickly-but usually lasts only one season. Spread extra seed on bare areas, lightly cover the seed with a mixture of compost and topsoil, and then spread more seed on top.

If possible, follow up by rolling all seeded areas with a water-weighted roller that is about one-third full in order to press the seed into the soil. This will help prevent the seed from drying out and improve germination rates.

7. Call Us! The easiest and best way to ensure a better lawn is to get our lawn care professionals to do the job! Call us at 410-266-8586 or click for your free onsite consultation.