Posted on February 28, 2013 by admin
Topic almost as controversial as politics and religion: There are many different perspectives when it comes to lawn-care and dealing with weeds! Most of it is probably affected by ability, time available, and priorities. Some mow down to the dirt to keep weeds from being seen. Some use herbicides or weed and feed (which might be harmful to pregnancies and young children). Some think the weeds and grass just need mowed, because the lawn will look good at a distance for a couple days. Some use all sorts of lawn chemicals and water, water, water. Here is another popular view:
Many believe the goal is to get grass roots as deep as possible. Deep grass roots reduce the need for water between rains because grass can reach water further down. Deep grass roots create a healthy lawn to naturally squeeze out weeds.
Once again, there are differing opinions to get deep grass roots. Probably the most popular opinion is to set the mower height to allow taller grass, so there is more leaf to benefit from photosynthesis and less soil compaction, which promotes and maintains deeper roots. As temps get hotter and less frequent rain, then adjust the height up a notch to be even taller. Some use winter fertilizer in the fall right before winter so the roots are deep before going dormant, which will give the roots an extra head start the next spring. Some water in the spring to get the roots established if there isn’t regular spring rains. Some use a touted super grass seed designed for South Dakota that naturally develops deep roots.
Will lawn products still need to be used with deep grass roots? Possibly. The winter fertilizer used in the fall might be needed to get deep roots more established. If the lawn is allowed to get overgrown or has been extremely short, some types of weeds can get established. If not digging weeds, a weed and feed might be needed to give the grass a chance to crowd out the weeds. An expensive crab grass preventer might have to be used in early spring if crab grass was seen the previous fall. If bagging grass year after year in South Dakota, fertilizer may be needed in the spring and fall.
- If keeping grass at a taller height, rainy periods or vacations may allow the grass to get extremely tall. Don’t cut more than 1/3 of a grass blade off at a time to keep the grass healthy. It may take a couple mowings at incremental heights to get back down to the desired height. First use a high setting, then a second mowing back at the normal height a day or two later. Using incremented steps with very tall grass will also allow faster mowing, prevent mower clogging, and prevent grass clumps that kill grass. For push mowers with tall grass, two mowings will take the same time as a single lower setting mowing, plus less energy.
- Cutting down to the crown near the soil will kill the grass, so re-seeding will be necessary!
- Keep mower blade sharp so the grass is not torn. Grass will look greener with a sharp blade.
- Change directions when moving so the grass doesn’t get trained to lean. You may have to do the perimeter the same direction each time, but alternate the rest of the yard. Upright grass blades will have more photosynthesis benefits.
- A light watering right after mowing will make the lawn temporarily look nicer for company or a bbq. It is also good to water lightly afterward if you mowed when humidity is extremely low. Avoid watering when there is direct hot weather sunlight on the grass though.
- If using fertilizer, and especially weed and feed, apply in the early morning when there is dew so it sticks to grass. Otherwise, lightly water first.
- Water in the early morning to prevent disease or water burns. Night watering allows the water to stay on the grass blade too long. A hot weather sun can be magnified through water droplets.
- Fall is usually the best time to re-seed.
- Larger pets may require regular lawn watering to dilute the nitrate burns. If you have a pet, it is good to understand pet safety and lawn care. Make sure to read labels on lawn care products!