Every family needs a lawn. Whether you have furbabies or real-life kids, there is something special about spending a sunny weekend afternoon playing on the lawn with your little ones. Plus, lawns are gorgeous landscape features that increase home value, and on top of it all, grass is incredibly easy to maintain – right?
Actually, if you have struggled to keep your lawn looking full and lush, you know better than anyone that lawncare isn’t easy. In fact, it might be worth your money (and the saved time) to invest in a professional lawn service that knows how to maintain your lawn throughout the year. Regardless of whether you front the cash to hire pros or you want to DIY your lawncare, here are a few mistakes you could be making that turn your lovely lawn into a disaster zone.
Walking Across Your Lawn
What? You aren’t allowed to walk on your lawn? What’s next, you aren’t allowed to look at it?
In truth, you can walk on your lawn sometimes – but if you, your kids or your pets are carving the same path across the grass day-in and day-out, you are probably killing your lawn in that area. That’s because pressure from walking compacts the soil around the grass’s roots, inhibiting its ability to take in nutrients. The best solution is to put in a hardscaped walkway in the places you walk, so your grass won’t keep dying on you.
Mowing at the Wrong Height
While you might associate tall grass with an unkempt yard, the truth is that longer blades tend to be healthier. By shaving your lawn too close to the ground every time you mow, you could be allowing too much water to evaporate from the soil, parching your grass. Additionally, taller blades choke out weeds, reducing your maintenance workload. You should keep your lawn between 1.5 to 3 inches long, depending on your climate.
Mowing at the Wrong Time
No, we aren’t going to tell you that you need to mow before dawn or during the witching hour. Rather, you might be mowing at the wrong time if you decide to mow when you “think it’s time.” By then, the grass might be too long, and cutting it down – even to the correct height – could shock it, like if you sawed off an arm instead of trimming your fingernails. You should avoid lopping off more than a third of your lawn’s height each time you mow, which means you should mow every week in the summer and every other week in the spring and fall.
Mowing With the Wrong Blades
When was the last time you sharpened or changed your mower’s blades? Never? Then you are making a huge mistake every time you mow. Old, dull or rusty blades don’t cut your grass cleanly; they leave ragged edges that heal slowly and permit disease to enter the grass. As you might expect, disease is bad. ASAP, for sharpening or buy brand-new ones.
Assuming Your Water Is Right
Water is one of the hardest things to get right when it comes to lawn care. There are dozens of , but you should remember this: Your entire lawn always needs at least 1.5 inches of water per week. When the temperatures rise and fall, you likely need to adjust watering durations to ensure enough water stays in the soil.
Neglecting Grass Food
You feed your pets and you feed your kids – so why aren’t you feeding your lawn? Grass is great at taking nutrients out of the soil, which means you need to reinvigorate your soil with nutrients every few months.
Applying the Wrong Food
There are different fertilizers for different types of year, and you should administer them evenly with a drop spreader or similar device. If you don’t have one of these and you don’t want to hassle with grass food, you should .
Carting Away Lawn Clippings
You wouldn’t think of leaving dead leaves on your lawn – it looks far too messy. However, that doesn’t mean you should be capturing your lawn clippings in a bag and tossing them in the trash. Grass clippings should be allowed to sink into your freshly mown lawn, where they will form a barrier to protect the lawn’s roots. Additionally, the clippings will decay, providing extra nutrients to the plant. Keeping the clippings in place makes mowing easier and improves the health of your lawn – a true win-win.
For the same reason you shouldn’t be carting off your grass clippings, you shouldn’t be peeling back the thatch that forms near the soil of your lawn. If your HOA requires dethatching, you should form a campaign against this outdated and harmful rule, which is killing your grass.
Using the Wrong Weed Killers
Not all weed-killers are grass-friendly. Your lawn is just as susceptible as weeds to certain forms of herbicide, so you should look into what you are spraying around your yard well before you spray it. If you aren’t sure about a certain herbicide, ask a lawn care professional before you buy – or better yet, outsource the task of weed and pest control to them.
Ignoring Shady Areas
The shady spot on your lawn is likely the favorite place of your kids and pets, but it is easily the weakest patch of your grass. You need to do extra to ensure grass grows in areas that don’t receive as much sunlight, or else you’ll start to see dead patches form. Additional fertilizer, less water and overseeding should help.