Keeping your lawn thick, green
and healthy means doing several things right. One of the most
important is making sure there's enough moisture to maintain growth.
Nature's rainfall schedule is not dependable. Some additional watering
is almost always necessary, at least during the hotter and drier parts
of the year, to avoid water stress.
Lawns turn brown, thin out, and run
into more disease and insect problems when under water stress. A thin,
water-stressed lawn also creates room for weeds to invade. So whether
you use underground or portable sprinklers, there are a few basic guidelines
to follow to avoid these problems and maintain good lawn health.
TIMING MAKES A DIFFERENCE
One basic rule is: water your lawn when the least amount will be lost.
Avoid watering in the heat of the day to make sure your water goes down
to the roots instead of going up as vapor. Also avoid watering
when windy conditions will affect even watering or cause you to water
your neighbor's lawn instead of your own.
When you water, saturate the soil to a depth of 6" to
8". Frequent, shallow watering causes the grass to send roots
to the surface for water, where they suffer more quickly during dry, hot
spells. Also be sure to put down extra water along curbs and
pavement, because these areas heat up much more and dry out much faster.
Proper mowing is critical for
keeping your lawn healthy and looking good. There are three things you
can do to keep your lawn "a cut above" the rest.
1. MOW HIGH ENOUGH.
The basic rule is: the
hotter the weather, the higher you should mow. Higher mowing promotes
deeper roots, prevents water loss by shading the soil, and reduces weeds
by preventing sunlight from warming weed seeds. Taller grass also cools
the soil and reduces heat stress.
2. MOW OFTEN ENOUGH.
Be sure that no more
than one-third of the total grass blade is removed in any one mowing.
Mowing too short removes too much of the green part of the plant,
leaving stalky-looking crowns and stems. This gives the lawn a brown,
scalped look and weakens the grass. Recovering from even a single
"scalping" sets the lawn's growth back many weeks.
3. KEEP MOWER BLADES SHARP.
Dull blades can
rip and shred the tips of your grass, turning them a bleached, tan color
and leave the whole lawn looking brown. For best results, sharpen blades
several times per year. If you have a large lawn, sharpen the blades
once a month during the mowing season.