Dispelling Six Common Lawn Care Myths
(Family Features)—The lawn is the backdrop to the home and essential to curb appeal. While keeping a healthy lawn may seem straightforward (mow, water, fertilize, etc.), don't be fooled by some common lawn care myths.
Myth 1: All grass is created equal.
Truth: Grass and their seeds come in many different varieties, all with various maintenance, climate and mower requirements. While some varieties require more sunlight, others may be prone to certain diseases.
The type of grass and scope of land you need to mow will determine how powerful of a lawn mower you'll need. Large lawns with thicker, tougher grass will require a mower with higher horsepower and bigger, taller wheels. Varieties of grass that have thinner blades and slower growth, or a small backyard space, can be maintained easily with a lower horsepower machine. Riding mowers come in a variety of models to fit different needs.
Myth 2: The shorter I cut the grass, the less often I need to mow.
Truth: For the best quality turf, only remove one-third of the grass blade with each mow. Shorter clippings break down more easily, allowing some of the natural nitrogen to return to the soil. If you cut too much at one time, the long clippings can cause stress on the grass, inhibiting healthy growth.
Myth 3: Bagging it is best.
Truth: Although bagging grass clippings is a common practice, mulching is much more beneficial to your lawn. Mulching returns essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, back to the soil.
As noted above, removing only a small amount of the grass blade each time you mow produces shorter clippings that can decompose more quickly and discourages the development of fungal diseases. If you do decide to bag, be sure to compost your clippings and reuse on site. Look for a lawn tractor that comes with a mulching feature on the mowing deck, to help return the clippings to the soil.
Myth 4: Focus on the green.
Truth: While grass is what we see and tend to, the soil is the most essential component for a healthy growth year-round. Soil supplies the roots with necessary nutrients, which in turn yield a beautiful lawn. Consider taking a soil sample to your local university extension program or landscape supplier for soil analysis. This will help determine the best type of fertilizer to use throughout the year.
Myth 5: Keep a consistent mowing pattern.
Truth: It's easy to fall into a mowing routine, but frequently cutting grass in the same direction can mat down the turf and inhibit growth. By varying the mowing pattern, you will reduce strain on the turf and encourage a healthier, more beautiful lawn.
Myth 6: You're off duty in the winter.
Truth: Many people think grass "dies" off in the winter so you can take a break from lawn care; however, this is the best time to care for your equipment. Complete mower maintenance such as adding fuel stabilizer, blade sharpening and replacing missing or damaged parts and your mower will be prepped and ready come springtime.
Aside from practicing the proper mowing techniques, having the right equipment is one of the most important factors in maintaining a green and vibrant lawn. The proper type and size for your lawn and lifestyle will help you mow more efficiently so you can spend more time enjoying and less time maintaining your lawn.