Lawn Maintenance: Mowing Your Lawn
A Good Start to Lawn Maintenance is Knowing the Right Information
There are several turf grass species adapted to the Midwest. The best choices for the northern part of this region are Kentucky bluegrass, and mixtures of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass. However, in the transition zone, from southern Ohio across to Missouri and Kansas, turf-type tall fescue is the best. Tall fescue will tolerate the summer heat that otherwise severely injures Kentucky bluegrass.
It’s especially important at this time of year to mow at the proper height and at the right frequency. The rule of thumb is to remove no more than one-third of the plant at any one mowing. Here are specifics for the summer months:
• Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue – mow to a height of three inches.
• Zoysia grass and Bermuda grass – mow to a height of one to one and one-half inches.
• During periods of very active growth, you may need to mow every three to four days. At other times, once a week is sufficient. For best results, mow in different directions with each mowing.
Lawn Maintenance: Watering Your Lawn
It’s simply amazing how a mid-summer drought can burn out a lawn, turning it brown and dry. More amazing still, is how the return of rain and cooler temperatures will bring back that lush, green growth. In most cases, lawns will come back with little or no long-term damage. Nature certainly built toughness into most grasses.
Many of us want lush, green lawns all year. So, watering is an important part of a healthy, green lawn. Here are some tips and ideas for proper lawn maintenance and watering to assure maximum benefit to your lawn.
People will water their lawns day or night, whenever it is convenient. Some people (and many businesses, apartments, and golf courses) employ automatic sprinklers for lawn maintenance, and water in the middle of the night or in the wee hours of the morning before dawn when people are not out and about.
The choice of timing is generally a matter of convenience……when are you home to water your lawn? Regardless of the answer, it is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of day versus nighttime watering.
Daybreak or just before dawn is the ideal time to preform lawn maintenance and water your lawn. Evaporation is at a minimum, and the rising sun will quickly dry the grass, reducing the likelihood of disease. Unfortunately, many of us have a day job to go to, and find it difficult at best, to go out in morning before work to get the hoses and sprinklers working.
Daytime Lawn Maintenance- Daytime is also a good time to water your lawn. You can pour on generous amounts and allow it to soak in. The blades of grass dry quickly, minimizing the risk of plant disease. The major disadvantage is it takes more water. Evaporation steals a portion of the water you apply, before it can soak in and reach the grass roots.
Nighttime Lawn Maintenance- A lot of us choose nighttime and the hours just before dark for two reasons. First, is the simple fact that we are home. After dinner is the time many of us devote to caring for our lawns and yards. We also know that the sun through evaporation will not rob the water we apply. The major disadvantage is plant disease thrives in wet, humid conditions. The water sits on the blades of grass all night, improving the breeding ground for disease.
Did you know? One of the best times to water your lawn is when it is raining. Often, summer rains are too light to add any real benefit. Supplementing the rainfall with your sprinkler gets the water down to a sufficient depth to water all of the roots. Remember, we are talking about light summer rains, not thunder storms or heavy downpours. Give it some thought….give it a try.
Lawn Maintenance: How much and How often?
General wisdom is to water your lawn deeply once or twice a week. Apply one to one and a half inches or water each time. Light, daily watering leaves too much water at or near the surface of the soil, and does not reach all of the roots where it is needed.
Deep watering allows moisture to reach the deepest roots. Allowing the soil to dry between watering will encourage the roots to go deeper to reach the moisture and nutrients it needs.
Daily, light watering will cause the roots of your grass to become dependent upon you to provide the water that it needs. So, train your lawn, before it trains you!
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