Proper watering procedures help maintain lawn color, resilience, and proper root development. A lawn should be watered regularly and before it has a chance to wilt and turn brown. To ensure proper watering procedures follow these simple instructions:
Be aware of early signs of wilt. Two common signs of wilt are grass leaves that have a bluish green cast caused by folded grass leaves or footprints that stay in the lawn instead of bouncing back up.
Apply enough water to wet the soil to a depth of approximately 6-8 inches. A soil probe may be used to check moisture depth in soil.
To maintain a soil moisture depth of 6-8" usually requires a rate of 1" to 2" of water per week. You can place open cans in the sprinkler pattern to determine the amount of water being applied.
Water may be applied any time of day, but morning watering is usually most efficient. This is due to the higher humidity, negligible wind and wetness caused by dew which usually accompanies this time of day. Night watering is not recommended as it encourages disease and insect development.
Good mowing practices are critical to the appearance of your lawn. If you follow these general guidelines you can increase the health and appearance of your lawn.
Make sure your blade is sharp. A lawn mowed with a dull blade appears gray shortly after mowing and the tips turn brown within 48 hours.
Cut often enough to remove no more than 1/3 of the grass blade. This will help avoid scalping which puts the grass under stress and reduces its vigor. Mowing at the correct height also shades the soil keeping temperatures lower for optimum growth.
You may leave clippings if you mow often enough. The grass clippings will recycle nutrients back into the soil and do not contribute to thatch build up.
Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed stems, roots and other plant parts that build up between the grass blades and the soil in your lawn. It acts like mulch to insulate and protect the grass plants. However, if there is too much thatch, 1/2 " or more, it can cause problems for your lawn. Thick thatch can act as a barrier to air, water and fertilizer. It also harbors disease and insects. The following things are important to control thatch in your lawn:
Core Aeration: Core aerating is the process of removing small plugs from your lawn. This process allows more air, moisture and fertilizer.
Proper soil pH: Proper soil pH encourages the microbes that break down thatch. To learn more about pH balancing click pH BALANCING.
Mowing correctly: see mowing instructions above
Watering correctly: see water instructions above
Leaving grass clippings on the lawn not only reduces the problem of limited landfill space, it also provides many benefits for you and your lawn. LawnKeepers recommends grasscycling for the following reasons:
Improved lawn quality: Decaying grass clippings release valuable nutrients which improve the soil and feed the grass plants. This helps you enjoy a greener, healthier lawn.
Save time and money: A recent study in the Southwest found that homeowners who quit bagging grass saved an average of seven hours of yard work at the end of six months. These same homeowners saved money as a result of not having to purchase as many garbage bags.
Clippings don’t cause thatch: Thatch is caused by the build up of roots, stolons and other plant material. It has been found that leaving clippings on the lawn contributes less than 1/16" to the thatch layer each year.
All mowers can grasscycle: No special equipment is needed. Check with your mower dealer for advice about attachments that improve your mower’s grasscycling performance.
Grasscycling is an environmentally responsible practice: Landscape waste, including grass clippings, accounts for almost 20% of all curbside waste. Grasscycling provides an environmentally important opportunity for you to participate in reducing landfill volume.
Before beginning corrective steps following a drought, a professional diagnosis of the type and extent of damage should be made. Drought conditions weaken the root system which results in the grass turning brown. The problem is often compounded by insect damage and lawn diseases which attack the roots that survive the drought. After a Summer drought it is essential that you provide a proper combination of nitrogen, phosphorous, potash, iron, and micro-nutrients to help develop a strong root system over the Winter. This will help your lawn get off to a good start next Spring with less threat of weeds, insects or diseases.