Once you have a nice home, you’ll probably want a beautiful lawn. Along with a picket fence, a cozy shag carpet of greenery is a traditional slice of the American Dream. But maintaining an even emerald field can be more challenging than you might expect. According to Wikilawn, care tips can change depending on where you live and the time of year. Here are five mistakes a lot of DIYers make when caring for their lawn and how to fix them.
1. Cutting Your Grass Too Short
It’s natural to assume the shorter you cut your grass, the less time you’ll have to mow it. Logic dictates that shorter blades will take longer to grow back. However, a crewcut turf can lead to numerous problems. Scalping your lawn not only inhibits growth but can cause weeds to grow by exposing the turf. It can also stunt root growth and lead to brown patches.
Fix: Don’t cut more than the top third of your grass off when you mow. Set the mover to 3.5 to 4 inches high.
2. Mowing in the Same Direction Every Time
A chore like mowing your lawn often leads to following a routine. But cutting the same way will lead your lawn to grow in a tilt that mirrors the direction they were mown in.
Fix: Vary the mowing direction each time you cut your grass. According to WikiLawn, using a varying pattern allows the cut grass to maintain variations in its growth patterns.
3. Don’t Clean Up the Clippings
If you don’t like the look of grass mulch on top of your lawn, you may be tempted to gather up the shredded tops. However, leaving the grass clippings behind is actually good for your lawn.
Fix: The clippings you leave behind not only serve as organic fertilizer for the soil, but also help retain moisture and prevent burnt grass or lawn death during hotter months, or whenever drought occurs.
4. Don’t Over- or Under- Water
A lot of people water their lawns on a weekend afternoon, but a lot of people are wrong. Watering the incorrect amount or at the inappropriate time of day can leave your lawn susceptible to disease. Watering in the afternoon can cause the liquid to evaporate too quickly and starve your greenery. Gardeners who water at night may find that the water doesn’t leave quickly enough, potentially drowning the roots.
Fix: Early morning watering gives your lawn the best opportunity to absorb what it needs. When watering your lawn, it’s important to consider the current season and understand how deep you want your water to penetrate. In the spring months, limit the amount of water your soil receives to just one inch deep. In the summer, you’ll want to water more frequently. Avoid overwatering your lawn as it can lead to root rot and wash away nutrients in the soil. A quick and easy way to test if your lawn needs water or not is to stick something long and sharp like a screwdriver or an awl into the ground. If it pushes in easily, your lawn is good for a few more days. Head over to your local gardening supplies store and get a water sprinkler that disperses larger drops of water.
5. Fertilize Smart
Your grass needs nutrients, which it gets from the soil. Eventually your soil will be drained of food for the grass to keep looking nice and green.
Fix: Fertilize your lawn with organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen. Carefully follow the application instructions. Intense organic fertilizer can lead to burnt patches of grass. One way to avoid over-fertilizing your lawn is to mix it with a bit of topsoil and perform a bit of top-dressing on your lawn. Doing so reduces the intensity of the concentration and direct contact the fertilizer makes with the grass, making it less susceptible to burning or yellowing.