A lush green lawn is every homeowner’s dream, but many end up loving their lawns to death with well-intentioned but poorly executed lawn care practices. To avoid devoting entire weekends to lawn care problem-solving, or costly replacement of all or some of the lawn, here are eight lawn care mistakes to avoid in your Cortlandt Manor, NY, landscape.
Not Knowing What the Soil Needs
Fertilization is not a simple solution for providing turf with the nutrition it needs. If your soil is not regularly tested, it could lead to it receiving an imbalance of the nutrients it requires to thrive. Not testing soil can result in a malnourished lawn that will struggle to survive.
Mowing Too Low
Mowing your grass too low exposes roots to sun and dehydrates them. This leads to lawn death, either in patches or overall. Mower settings are adjusted throughout the seasons, to ensure the lawn receives the water it needs over the course of its mowings.
Overwatering, underwatering, shallow/frequent watering, and watering at the wrong time of day could all hurt your lawn. Overwatering leads to rot and disease. Underwatering leads to dehydration and root stress. Watering during the day loses most of the water to evaporation. Watering in the evening can lead to mold growth. Shallow, frequent watering leads to weak root systems. The solution is to water deeply (1 to 2 inches of water per week) two to three times a week in early morning, to promote deep root growth and allow water to soak into the ground instead of evaporating.
Not Keeping Mower Blades Sharp
Imagine cutting your hair with a butter knife—a similar effect could happen to your lawn if the mower blades used on it are not sharp. Dull mower blades result in a hacked-up mess because they tear the grass (leaving it with ugly scars at the tips) and invite disease.
Poor Fertilization Practices
This ties in with knowing your soil. More fertilizer isn’t necessarily better, and the wrong fertilizer can do more harm than good. Fertilizer burn can result from improper application (including too much fertilizer and not watering before/after as per the manufacturer’s instructions). Depending on your soil’s pH, the appropriate amount of fertilizer needs to be used at the right time.
Failing to Dethatch and Aerate
Over time, grass forms a thatch that prevents air and water from reaching the soil. Soil also compacts over time. Hard clay-like soil also prevents absorption of water and nutrients. Maintain root health with annual dethatching and aeration.
Most lawn grass species need full sun. Planting grass under the canopy of trees sets you up for disappointment. Avoid planting grass under trees if there are natural bare patches; instead, use shade-loving plants to green up the area.
Poor Weed Control
Weed control is an ongoing challenge, made harder by not being proactive. Once weeds are established, they’re hard to eradicate. A pre-emergent herbicide early in the season should do the trick, with spot treatment with post-emergent herbicides during the summer. A thick, healthy lawn will naturally discourage weeds, so good lawn care is the best preventive measure for keeping your lawn weed-free.