Buy the 2015 Old Farmer's Almanac!

Lawn Care Techniques

PrintPrintEmailEmail
Your rating: None Average: 4.1 of 5 (7 votes)

The more you let nature do the work for you, the easier it will be to care for your lawn. Here are techniques to help you improve your relationship with your lawn.

Feeding Your Lawn

Always pay attention to the soil! Your lawn needs nourishment.

  • Every spring, apply a one-to-two-thick layer of compost to top of your lawn with a spreader. Soils rich in decomposed organic materials will do a better job of holding moisture.
  • In the spring, remove the thatch or dead grass with a rake to help moisture and oxygen reach down to the roots.
  • Aerate (poke holes in) the lawn to loosen up compacted soil and allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to flow. You can use aeration shoes, golf shoes, a pitchfork, or a power aeration tool available at rental shops.

Fertilizing

  • As well as building your soil with compost, regularly apply a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer with a lawn spreader. The best time to apply fertilizer is just before it rains.
  • In areas of your lawn where tree roots compete with the grass, apply some extra fertilizer to benefit both.

Seeding

  • If you're seeding or reseeding in bare patches, use a mix of seed that includes slow-growing or low-growing grasses. Fine-leaf fescues have low water and fertility requirements and grow well in places with a mild summer climate. Combine the fescues with a low-maintenance Kentucky bluegrass like 'Park', 'Kenblue', or 'South Dakota Common'. Contact your local cooperative extension to see which type of lawn grows best in your area.

Watering

  • Water your lawn early in the morning or in the evening.
  • Water long enough to allow the water to soak in below the root zone. Shallow watering encourages shallow root growth and weeds. It will take about an inch of water to penetrate 6 to 8 inches into the soil. Set out shallow cans in the sprinkler area to measure.
  • Don't overwater. Make the lawn seek its own source of water, building longer, sturdier roots. Cut back on water especially in midsummer to let the lawn go dormant, strengthening it for fall and winter.
  • Excess water leaches away nutrients and encourages insects. Deep waterings are better for the lawn than light waterings.
  • During a drought, let the grass grow longer between mowings, and reduce fertilizer.

Weeding

  • Prevent weeds with regular mowing and hand-removing tenacious weeds. Relax your stance on weeds, however, and be comfortable with letting some weeds grow in that expanse of green.
  • A slightly wild lawn lets volunteer grasses, wildflowers, herbs, and even wild strawberries grow, adding color and variety to your landscape.
  • Clover grows low to the ground and smells lovely after it's been cut, and it often stays green after the rest of lawn has turned brown; dandelion greens taste great in a salad (if you're not applying chemical fertilizers!).
  • Moss and sorrel in lawns usually means poor soil, poor aeration or drainage, or excessive acidity.

Mowing

  • To keep a healthy lawn, never cut more than one-third off the total grass height. Mow the lawn when the grass is dry and keep the blades sharp to reduce tearing the grass blades (which invites disease).
  • Leave clippings on the lawn to filter down to the soil, decompose, and recycle nutrients back to the roots. The shorter the clippings, the more quickly they will decompose into the soil. Look into the "mulching mowers" that recycle clippings back onto the lawn.

Related Articles

More Articles:

Comments

When is the best time

By Hiandlow

When is the best time according to the Almanac, to plant winter rye grass in North Texas?

Hi, Hiandlo: A good rule of

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Hiandlo: A good rule of thumb for winter rye is 2 weeks before the first frost. In Lubbock, for example, the first frost usually arrives around Nov. 1, so you would count backward from there. Good luck!

how about some..help with my

By donnie goolsby

how about some..help with my Bermuda grass i live in Georgia..any TIP would be helpful...........................please

Here's a whole bunch of tips

By Almanac Staff

Here's a whole bunch of tips on growing Bermuda grass in Georgia, courtesy of your county extension services! 

http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/pubDetail.cfm?pk_id=6072

I have zoysia grass, we live

By jrdjed

I have zoysia grass, we live in mid-florida. We are in the monht of Nov, what shd we do to maintain it. Also have a few bald spots, under a tree how can I get grass to grow in those areas?

Zoysia grass is perfect for

By Almanac Staff

Zoysia grass is perfect for lawns in sunny areas. You just need to keep it watered and mow when needed. For the bald spots get grass seed that grows well in shady spots. Check with your local garden center to see what is available. Now is a good time to spread the seed.

From my experianced oak start

By Jpendl10

From my experianced oak start to sucker or sucker more when in a drout, or can't get enuff water. You can try deep watering the oak and a regular irrigation program. Also they sucker more when the soil temp is to hot. If the ground around the oak is not shaded. I recommend planting it with ground cover like vinca especially in oak groves.

I have an oak tree and the

By Diann Porter

I have an oak tree and the new shoots are competing with the grass. What can I do to minimize/stop this?

Hello, Diann, Just keep up

By Almanac Staff

Hello, Diann, Just keep up with regular mowing. Mowing should keep sprouts down. The seedlings will not keep coming up. If it's a bigger problem, the best prevention is to cut off the sprout 2 to 4 inches below the soil level. Do not use herbicide or you may damage the oak. Also, be sure to rake up any acorns.

Post new comment

Before posting, please review all comments. Due to the volume of questions, Almanac editors can respond only occasionally, as time allows. We also welcome tips from our wonderful Almanac community!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

2015 Garden Calendar2015 Weather Watcher's Calendar2015 Recipes Calendar2015 Engagement Calendar 2015 Everyday Calendar2015 Country CalendarNew Year Cross StitchLobster Rope Doormats