Grow Greener Grass: Lawn Care Tips from the Pros
It is often said that grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, but we got to wondering – HOW do these mysterious Jones’s get their grass so green?
So we went straight to the pros and asked them. Below are some tips that we got from Charles Aubry, Golf Course Superintendent at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, GA (host of the PGA Tour Championship each year) and from David R. Mellor, Senior Director of Grounds at Fenway Park in Boston, MA (home of the Boston Red Sox).
Mow Your Lawn
Most lawn grasses should be cut at a height of 3 to 4 inches. This leads to healthier grass, shades out weeds, and requires less water.
In addition, never cut more than 1/3 of the grass height at once. If you haven’t mowed for a while and it’s looking overgrown, don’t just cut it short all in one go. Not only will that clog the mower and leave clumps of grass clippings all over the lawn, it’ll also stress the grass. That leaves it more vulnerable to damage and can make it turn brown. Instead, cut off 1/3, wait a few days to give the grass time to recover, and then cut another 1/3.
Keep Your Mower Blades Sharp
Both reel and rotary mowers work well (so use whichever you prefer) – as long as the blades are sharp.
If your mower blades are dull, be sure to get them sharpened. Dull mower blades leave ragged edges, turning your grass brown and leaving it more prone to disease and insect damage.
For optimal results, sharpen your blades at least once a season. If you frequently run over sticks, gravel, or other hard items, you may need to sharpen the blades more often. If the grass tips look brown and ragged, it’s time to sharpen the blades!
Bonus tip: Home Depot stores with a tool rental department can sharpen your mower blade for you. If you don’t want to be stuck with a dull blade, keep an extra on hand so you can easily change it out if your lawn is starting to brown.
Water Your Lawn
Timing is important when watering your lawn.
First, make sure that you are following all local regulations for watering. Some regulate the day, others the frequency; be sure that you’re following the rules.
The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning – really early! Between 2 AM and 7AM is optimal. The reason for this is that the sun will easily evaporate the water during the later hours, leaving much less water for your grass.
That made us think, well, why not water later in the evening then? Turns out this isn’t ideal either, as lawns that are left wet throughout the night can develop fungal problems.
To help with this watering schedule, use a timer on a sprinkler or irrigation system. It’s much better than waking up at two in the morning!
Over-watering isn’t good either. Use a rain sensor or weather shut-off to stop irrigation if there’s been enough rain already. Some of the new smart irrigation controllers (like this one) check the weather forecast and adjust the watering schedule for you!
Fertilize Your Lawn
We asked about fertilizing – does that help? Probably yes, but be sure that you fertilize your lawn carefully and according to instructions. More is not better, so be careful not to over-fertilize.
Do you bag up your lawn clippings? You might want to rethink that habit as mulching grass clippings will actually provide nutrients to your lawn (so there’s less need to fertilize). Plus, mulching takes a lot less effort and is more environmentally-friendly than using so many disposable bags.
Maintain Your Lawn Mower
Your lawn mower is only helpful if it works, so if you have a gas-powered mower, be sure to change the oil every year. If you’re looking for a quieter, healthier option (because you’re not breathing in gas fumes), check out our guide to how to choose a cordless lawn mower. (coming soon!)
Want to know what to do with your lawn mower over the winter? Read our article on winterizing your lawn mower.
Make Your Neighbors Green With Envy
If you follow these tips, your lawn will be healthier (and therefore greener) in no time! And then YOURS will be the greener side of the fence!
To learn more, be sure to pick up a copy of David R. Mellor’s book, The Lawn Bible, available from Amazon.
What do you think? Are there techniques that you use to grow the best lawn on the block? Share them in the comments below!
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