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Proper Lawn Care Practices

Proper turf care is the most useful Integrated Turf Management method for managing pests and controlling appearance. Mowing, watering, fertilizing, and cultivating can be combined to reduce weed, insect, and disease problems, and to produce turf of high quality.

  • Core Aeration - relieves soil compaction; allows oxygen, water & fertilizer to reach the root zone; combats the thatch layer; improves rooting; reduces run-off & puddling.  Do in spring or fall (even better, do both!) when temps are cool and soil moisture is high.  Do not remove plugs from lawn

  • Mowing - minimum 2.5" preferably 3"; never cut off more than 1/3 the length of the grass blade (this will help you determine the frequency of mowing); mulch, don't bag; sharpen mower blades two times per season; alternate mow pattern; trim at same height as mower (don't scalp the edges)

  • Watering - Deep and infrequent between 8 PM and 8 AM.  Catch Can test your sprinklers.  The Catch Can test is used when your lawn is not uniformly green and has some areas that appear dry.  Dry spots can either be from not receiving enough water due to inconsistencies with sprinkler coverage, or certain areas receiving more sun that others and drying out more quickly.  Place empty cans or cups around your lawn, run a sprinkler cycle and see how much water is in each can.  If a can placed in a dry (brown?) area of your lawn collects less water than those in greener areas, then your problem lies within poor sprinkler coverage and adjustments need to be made.  If all cans have a consistent amount of water and dry spots persist, then an increase in the duration or frequency of watering is needed.

  • Fertilizing - Turfgrass is an intensively cultivated "crop" that is managed for its appearance (quality) not its yield (quantity).  High quality turf requires some fertilizer input to maintain enough vigor to compete with diseases, insects, and weeds.  All living things need FOOD on a regular basis.  Balanced nutrients; plants don't care what the source is.

  • Weeds & other problems - best defense: thick, healthy turf.  Do all of the above!  Grass will not crowd out weeds but will minimize/ prevent new ones from coming in.  Insects and disease are  rare in this area - we are lucky for this!  The most common problem with lawns is improper watering.

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