Everyone dreams of having the healthiest and greenest lawn on the block. Homeowners will put a great deal of time and effort into their lawn care in hopes of achieving this, but unfortunately those efforts can often do more harm than good. Maintaining a healthy lawn is a much more difficult task than it appears. Without the proper knowledge and awareness, mistakes can easily be made.
Here are 5 common lawn care mistakes and how to avoid them to achieve the lawn you’ve always desired.
1. Not doing a soil test.
Most everything in lawn care begins and ends with the soil. It’s vital before beginning any lawn maintenance to have your soil tested. In Maryland, a soil test is required every 3 years.
A soil test will tell you:
- The level of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium
- The soil pH and buffer pH
- The best course of action for your lawn
- What type of fertilizers should be added and how much
- Cation exchange capacity, organic matter, and more
2. Using the wrong soil amendments.
Using the incorrect fertilizer, or wrong amounts of fertilizer, are extremely common and can be harmful. You should select a fertilizer that has the proper amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (which are determined from your soil test!). Make sure to follow the recommended application rates and calibrate your spreader. Fall is the best time of year to fertilize for the best results. This is when grass roots expand and your grass gains strength for the next year.
3. Using the wrong type of grass seed or inferior grass seed.
The best grass seeds are those that are acclimated to our region, the mid-Atlantic Transition Zone. Improved Tall Fescues are generally the best cool season grasses for our area. Always read the label on the grass seed that you are buying, before you buy it! That seed label tells you the type of seed, germination rate, percent of weed seeds or other crop seed and how much inert ingredients there are (stuff that isn’t grass seed).
4. Trying to grow a lawn where a lawn won’t survive.
Sometimes you may try your hardest to grow a lawn, but your hard work never pays off. Unfortunately, lawn grasses cannot successfully grow everywhere. If your lawn suffers from an excess of shade, grasses will very rarely be able to survive. Your lawn needs more than 5 hours of bright sunlight daily in order to flourish. If this is not attainable in your area, try shade loving ground covers as an alternative.
5. Applying not enough or too much water.
Just like humans, lawns need a sufficient amount of water to survive. A proper watering technique is necessary to sustain a healthy lawn.
Here are a few tips to avoid the mistake of not enough of too much water:
- The best time to water is at dawn, between 4am and 10am.
- Never water at night or you risk fungal disease.
- During growing season, your turf needs ½ inch of water per week.
- Water deeply and infrequently for deep root growth and better lawn health.
- Stop watering if run-off happens.
- Don’t water between 10am and 5pm on sunny days because the water will evaporate before it soaks in.
While these 5 common lawn care mistakes can do severe damage to your lawn, the biggest mistake of all is failing to seek help. A lawn care professional can help you avoid the common mistakes above and lead you in the direction of a lush, healthy, and green lawn. Call Complete Lawn Care to learn more about proper lawn care techniques and get your free analysis and estimate today!