Lawn Treatments to Maintain a Healthy LawnBy Eric Winston
A healthy lawn contributes to your property value and the appearance of your surroundings. It provides a natural, safe surface where your family can play and relax. A beautiful lawn doesn’t just happen by itself. Your lawn could be host to a number of problems, diseases, or disorders which could cause it to either not look at its best, or have an even more detrimental impact. By following a few simple lawn treatment tips, you can keep your lawn healthy and environmentally beneficial. Always consider environmentally friendly processes and products if possible.
Mow high, preferably 2.5 to 3 inches. Mowing short weakens the root system and gives weeds a chance to compete with the grass. Lawn treatment experts advise to remove only one third of the leaf with each mowing. To maximize the health of your lawn it is important to mow your lawn weekly, mow in different directions and alter the pattern each time. This also reduces soil compaction and turf wear from the wheels.
If you plan to mulch only do it during dry weather and scatter the clippings to nourish the lawn and prevent any clumps from promoting disease. During the summer, clippings break down and return nutrients to your lawn. This process is slower in cool weather so it is recommended that your remove clippings during the wet months.
Water infrequently and deeply to encourage deep roots. It is very difficult to calculate exactly how much water is required as it depends on soil type, species of grass, mowing height, temperature, wind, and other factors. Measure rainfall and sprinkler water. Generally, one inch is considered an adequate soaking. High spots and south-facing slopes will need more water than other areas. Apply less water in shady areas that receive less than 4 hours of direct sunlight daily. Grass under large trees will need more water since the tree roots will consume water and the tree canopy may intercept rainfall.
Early morning watering is ideal as less water is lost through evaporation and wind. Watering in the evening leaves the lawn wetter longer and increases the likelihood of disease problems. Your lawn may become brown during hot, dry spells. It's in a dormant state and will green up again when wetter, cooler weather returns. A healthy lawn managed through an intelligent lawn treatment process can survive several weeks in a dormant state but it is best to avoid this because it will allow weeds to advance and is a major stress to the plant.
A healthy, vigorous, dense turf is the best defense against invasion by weeds and other pests. Check your lawn regularly to catch problems early. Usually the presence of a few insect pests or weeds is not cause for concern. Most insects you'll find in your lawn will either not be a problem or may even be beneficial. If you're concerned that insects may be causing damage, consult a lawn treatment professional.
A few scattered weeds can be hand-removed. Avoid using pesticides and herbicide if possible. They contribute a variety of pollutants to the ecosystem. Remove as much manually as possible. Otherwise choose an environmentally friendly lawn treatment system. Always read product label when using fertilizers.
A well-fertilized lawn is an important step in maintaining a healthy lawn that makes it difficult for weeds and moss to advance. When doing your regular fertilization, choose a slow-release fertilizer product and apply it every 6 to 8 weeks. In the spring and summer months, a high Nitrogen fertilizer is recommended, while a high Potassium fertilizer is best in the fall. Avoid applying the cheaper, quick-release fertilizer products that can cause your lawn to grow too fast over a short period of time.
Repairing weak spots
A healthy lawn will usually repair itself. With proper watering and fertilizing, unhealthy grass will self-repair. You can repair larger patches through reseeding. Try to choose a premium seed product because cheaper varieties contain weeds that will complicate your lawn care work. It is best to use a seed mix that has 3-4 varieties. Scarify the soil before laying seed. Next, lay seed into the bare spot and then up to 2 feet around the spot to blend with the rest of the grass. After re-seeding an area of your lawn, keep the area watered until the seedlings become established (this process usually takes 30-45 days). If the bare patch is in a high traffic area, you may prefer to replace the dead grass with new sod.
Thatch is a layer of dead and living shoots, stems and roots that builds up between the green vegetation and soil surface. Thatch will accumulate if the growth of the crowns and stems exceeds their decomposition. If thatch builds up to a thickness of more than 1/2 inch, it restricts water penetration, and minimizes the movement of air and fertilizers into the soil. Relieve thatch problems by aerating. This is done with a core aerator, which punches small holes to a depth of several inches, pulls out cores and leaves them on the surface. Leave the cores on the surface to dry and let them break down naturally.
Lawn grasses need at least 4 hours of direct sunlight for healthy growth. If the lawn receives much traffic, it should get 6 hours of direct sun daily. Select the right species of grass to ensure you'll have a healthy lawn in shady areas. Don't mow any shorter than 3 inches in the shady areas of your lawn.
About the Author: Eric Winston is a lawn expert with BUR-HAN Lawn Care, a Vancouver lawn care company. For more great tips please visit our website at http://www.bur-han.ca