Proper Mowing is the Heart of Responsible Lawn Care
Maintaining a lawn takes a little bit of tender loving care every so often. The great thing about a healthy and well cared for lawn is that once it is established and doing well, it pretty much takes care of itself. A strong stand of grass will actually choke out weeds just because it is protective of the ground and sun space the grass uses to grow and thicken. For the most part, your lawn gets what it needs from the rain, an occasional watering and the soil. And if you give it a little fertilizer every once in a while, that helps things along as well. But you don’t need to do that more than couple times a year because you can do as much damage over tending your lawn as neglecting it.
The one routine maintenance step you should plan to work on probably around once a week depending on growth is mowing the lawn. It sounds like this is just a basic step to keep the lawn from looking ragged and to keep the neighbors satisfied. But mowing does a lot for your yard to keep it healthy as well. Grass is unique among wild vegetation because it thrives on being mowed. The cutting stimulates growth and spreading. If some or all of the cuttings get down into the soil, that provides mulch for nutrients.
But maybe most valuable is that weeds do not thrive on mowing. When you cut off the heads of weeds, they do not have that upper growth to gather sunlight and produce spores for reproduction. The weakened weeds are then easy prey for aggressive grass sprouts to crowd them out of your yard. In that way, mowing is a natural form of weed control. This is why early in the season, mowing low works because not only does it encourage grass growth but it sucks up much of the residue, which prepares the turf for new growth. In addition, you want a relatively clean grounds early so the fertilizer you put down to jump start the yard can get down to the roots.
But as the summer progresses, lawn experts call for raising the blades of your mower so you are cutting the yard higher and leaving it somewhat longer than earlier. This encourages root growth. And the deeper the root system, the better your grass becomes at finding water and nutrients. The more well established your yard will be which helps it survive the dormant months ahead.
The court is out on whether to catch your grass or to allow the cuttings to go into the soil for mulch. In general, you will get some residue from mowing even if you catch and that is probably sufficient mulch. If you allow too much mulch, it can become a “thatch” which restricts airflow and even water penetration to the roots of your grass. So be smart in how you approach even this basic task of mowing your lawn so you are doing so in a way that encourages long term growth and health for this important part of your property.
Proper Mowing is the Heart of Responsible Lawn Care
Getting in Tune with Nature through Natural Lawn Care
Maybe one of the biggest pleasures of having a lush, green yard surrounding your home is that sense of being at one with nature. Even if you are not an environmentalist, it is in our nature to enjoy being in the middle of grass, trees, shrubs and flowers. That contact with nature keeps us grounded and at one with the world we live in. So it makes sense as much as is possible to get in tune with that part of nature that is growing in your yard. Grass that grows on your property may look like a very civilized carpet of green. But it is still naturally growing vegetation and the more you learn to encourage its natural strength, the stronger your grass will be to resist weeds and disease and the better it will look.
The best place to start your plans for a strong and natural lawn is in the type of grass seed you use as the base of your turf of grass. If you start shopping for a grass type that will do well and provide the look you want in terms of color and thickness, you will find that the varieties of grass seeds is pretty extensive. Before you pick a grass seed to nurture for your new lawn, it is always best to get some advice from experts on your local climate and how certain seeds do well in the soil types in your community and how they respond to temperatures you can expect throughout the growing season.
Many grasses do well in cooler temperatures but begin to thin out when the heat of the summer sets in. Bermuda grass, which is a very popular seed, grows slowly in the spring and fall but thrives on full sunlight and heat. Picking a good grass seed can be tricky if you have a lawn that has partial shade and some land that is exposed to sunlight. Many lawn owners opt to go with a Bermuda type turf for exposed parts of the yard and a shade seed or seed blend for the covered areas. While this will result in a full yard overall, it could be that the where the grasses change over will be obvious as the type of turf and the color changes between the two types of grass.
Also, keep in mind how you use fertilizer and weed killer so you are giving your grass what it needs and doing so naturally with as little introduction of unnatural chemicals as possible. Pre-emergent chemicals work in step with the natural cycle of both grass and weed growth by giving your dormant grass good nutrients to start out strong when the growing season starts. This takes advantage of the natural tendency of grass to choke out weeds in order to take over the ground space. If you also apply a pre-emergent weed control that does not just poison the weeds. Instead, these chemicals hinder the germination of weeds before they come out (hence pre-emergent) in a natural way which gives the advantage to your grass seeds.
By thinking herbal and organic in all aspects of your lawn care, it is entirely possible to grow a vibrant lawn with strong color and do so without contaminating the water tables or using damaging chemicals. Your yard will be stronger and healthier and you will feel better about your support of the environment as well. That is a good combination.