Maintaining a healthy lawn takes practice and patience. Understanding the common errors homeowners make can help you improve your property. Be sure you're not harming your lawn by avoiding these common mistakes.
Mowing your lawn too short
It's important to mow your lawn to the correct height for your specific grass type. Mowing a lawn shorter than the recommended height will cause a portion of the root system to die off, harming the health of the grass plant. This leaves turf vulnerable to lawn diseases and pests, introducing further problems. As a rule of thumb, no more than one third of the grass leaf should be cut at a time.
Skipping a soil test
When caring for your lawn, it's important to know what is occurring in the soil environment. Every lawn is different, and the nutrient makeup of your soil will determine what amendments and products will provide an optimal growing environment. We always recommend conducting a soil test on your lawn to determine your soil's specific needs.
Soil tests from Natural Alternative® are analyzed by a trusted third-party laboratory for verified results and then received via the mail. The analysis of your soil will point you towards the correct lime or sulfur products to balance pH levels in your soil and provide the correct fertilization program. Applying lawn products without this insight risks saturating your lawn with incorrectly formulated products or further adjusting soil pH in the wrong direction.
Over-applying weed controls
Nobody likes weeds in their lawn. However, it is important to not overuse weed control products in an attempt to eliminate weeds entirely. Overuse of weed controls can lead to control materials infiltrating turf root systems, killing off healthy grass and resulting in brown patches in your lawn.
The weeds may be dead, but at the cost of healthy turf. Proper mowing, watering and fertilization practices can reduce the amount of weeds occurring in your lawn. A healthy, thick lawn is the best defense against weeds.
For added protection, use Natural Alternative® Inhibitor in the spring to prevent weeds from establishing in the first place. If you're looking for immediate spot treatments for quick results, try using A.D.I.O.S. Selective Organic Weed Control, following label directions to avoid collateral damage to turfgrass.
Cutting with dull mower blades
Cutting your grass with a dull lawn mower blade will lead to a poorly-trimmed lawn receptive to disease and damage. It's important to keep mower blades sharp, for clean cuts of grass plants. Dull blades will tear grass instead of slicing it, leaving jagged edges on grass blades. This allows for increased loss of moisture and stress to a lawn.
Keep your mowing cuts clean by having your lawn mower blade sharpened at least four times throughout the mowing season. Mower blades can typically be sharpened at your local small engine repair shop.
Using too much fertilizer
Lawns have optimal diets and can be overfed, just like humans. When using fertilizer on your lawn, it's important to not oversupply the turf with excessive fertilizer nutrients. Surplus phosphorus and nitrogen not absorbed by a lawn can run off and contaminate local waterways, ponds, rivers and lakes.
These runoff nutrients can contribute to algae blooms and harm aquatic life. Additionally, nobody wants to purchase fertilizer only for it to run off their lawn. Instead, use Natural Alternative® fertilization programs. Our programs are measured and formulated for slow, balanced feeding, allowing your lawn time to accept nutrients without waste and excess.
By taking time to avoid some of the most common lawn maintenance errors, you can provide your lawn with the best conditions for sustained, healthy growth. For more information, sign up for our e-newsletter, The Monthly Dirt, follow our social channels or give us a call.