Healthy Lawn and Grass Tips

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Do you have tips for keeping my lawn weed-free?

Control Lawn Weeds

The best thing you can do to control weeds is to not cut your lawn too short.

Weeds love really short grass. When grass is clipped very short, the sun can easily penetrate the soil. Weed seeds will sprout if they receive sunlight. Keep your grass at least three inches high and this will help to prevent weeds from colonizing in your lawn.

My grass has yellow looking stripes in it after I mow and they end up turning brown, what is it?

Yellow Stripes After Mowing?

If you have yellow stripes in your yard after you have mowed, you are mowing your lawn too short. Scalping a lawn exposes the lowest portion of grass blades to sunlight and it burns them. The grass will first turn yellow, then brown and die. To avoid this problem simply raise your lawn mower blades.

How often do I fertilise my lawn?

When to Fertilize Your Lawn

You should fertilize your lawn twice a year. You should use a slow release chemical that is made specifically for fertilizing lawn grass.

The first treatment of fertilizer should be applied in the spring. Spring fertilizers should be formulated to promote growth and color. The second treatment of fertilizer should be applied in the fall. Fall fertilizers should promote root growth and health.

Be sure to wear protective gear when you mix chemcials and apply them.

How can I drought-proof my lawn?

Drought-Proof Your Lawn

Here are some tips to drought-proof your lawn before summers heat sets in:

*Dethatch your lawn and reduce compaction of the soil.

*Reduce or eliminate nitrogen fertilizers. Try to use potassium based fertilizers instead.

*Water your lawn early in the morning.

*Sharpen your mower blades two to three times per season.

*Cut your lawn no shorter than three inches.

*Leave your clippings on the lawn and stop using pesticides.

What´s the best way to mow the lawn?

Mowing Patterns

Many people mow in the same direction each time they mow. It is important that you mow your lawn in a different pattern each time you cut your grass. If you do not, the wheels of your mower can compact the ground over time. This will keep the grass from growing properly, as well as make little trenches in your yard where water may pool.

Cutting your grass in different patterns can also help to control the runners of creeping grasses that try to invade your lawn.

What are the watering requirements for fall lawns?

Autumn Lawn Care

In the autumn, you should let your lawn start adjusting to its dormant stage. You can do this by slowly cutting back how frequently you water your lawn. You should also reduce mowing to no more than twice a week.

Your lawn is ready to enter its dormant phase when you are only mowing and watering once a week.

Should I rake up my grass clippings or leave them?

Grass Clippings: A Natural Fertilizer

Let grass clippings lay where they may when you cut the lawn. Grass is made up largely of water. The moisture from the clippings will quickly evaporate -- leaving behind a natural fertilizer.

Grass clippings decompose at a fairly rapid pace, and they are high in nitrogen. By letting your grass clippings decompose naturally, it may save you from having to apply nitrogen in fertilizer form to your lawn.

Is bat manure safe for my lawn?

Bat Guano Helps a Browning Yard

Bat guano is one of nature's perfect manures. It can be applied to browning patches in the yard easily and it will bring the green back up quickly and safely. Bat guano is also an excellent soil conditioner.

You can also apply sulfur to a browning lawn and it will green it up quickly.

At what height do I set my mower?

Proper Mowing Height

Many people think that it is best to cut lawn grass very short. Granted, it may save you from having to mow, again, real soon. However, it is not good for the health of your grass.

A good height for grass is approximately three inches. If you cut grass too short, there will not be an adequate amount of shade on the grass plants at the soil level. This can cause the plants to sunburn. Also, taller grass will keep weed seeds from sprouting.

Why does my lawn have circular brown patches in it?

Sod Webworms and Lawns

You will be able to identify damage to your lawn by sod webworm if you see small circles or patches of grass that look as if they have been sheared by a mini-lawnmower. The surrounding grass will start to turn brown. This damage is a result of the sod webworms feeding on your grass.

Sod webworms come from a grey night flying moth who lays eggs on your lawn all summer. When the eggs hatch, the worms feed on the juicy grass blades.

There are many species of sod webworms. It will be hard for you to determine which ones are damaging your lawn. The good news is that all sod webworms can be treated the same way.

Sod webworms can be controlled with Bt., insecticidal soap or beneficial nematodes.

What are Chinch Bugs?

Chinch Bugs and Lawns

Chinch Bugs are tiny (from about the size of a pin head to 1/5 inch for adults) and they are extremely difficult to see in the lawn. Often they ruin a lawn completely before their presence is known. They do their damage by sucking vital plant fluids from the grass.

Chinch bugs become active when temperatures reach the high 70s, and their damage peaks in periods of hot, dry weather. Damage shows up as areas of grass that become yellowish and then turn to a lifeless brown. The damage by Chinch Bugs is often mistaken for drought, but the grass does not recover with watering. Indeed, the damage is a complete kill, and the grass cannot recover.

Chinch bugs can be controlled with a lawn insect control formula.

How can I keep my lawn watered in the desert heat?

Watering Tips to Prevent a Brown Lawn

Too much heat and drought can cause your lawn to turn brown. This is a very common problem in the Southwest areas of the United States.

To help prevent a brown lawn, never water your lawn in the hot afternoon sun which can cause the grass to burn. Water your lawn with sprinklers or soaker hoses in the early morning, and water deeply.

To determine when you have watered enough, simply place an empty container near the sprinkler. When the container has about an inch of water in it, you will know you have watered that area adequately.

You should never water your lawn at night. Watering at night keeps the lawn damp for many hours, which can lead to disease.

How do I seed my lawn?

Seeding a Lawn

When seeding a lawn, use a spreader to get even coverage. Work in a criss-cross pattern. First, travel back and forth across the lawn. Next, travel up and down the lawn.

You should set the seed spreader at half the recommended application rate to do a more even job.

How can I tell if my lawn is getting enough water?

Watering Requirements for Lawns

On average, a lawn requires one inch of water per week to stay in optimal condition. One inch of water penetrates into the soil to a depth of one foot in light soils and up to six inches in heavier soils.

If you are receiving a decent amount of rain in your area, you may not have to water your lawn each week. Be mindful of when it rains and monitor your grass. Too much water can cause disease and rot to occur.

What steps do I take to ready my lawn for reseeding?


To reseed an existing lawn, or fill in bare patches, you need to check your soil first.

If the soil is hard and compacted, use a core aerator to loosen it up. (An aerator pulls up plugs of soil from the ground, which can be crumbled later with a rake or the plugs can be left to decompose.)

If the soil is fairly loose, using a rake to roughen the surface, will create a better medium for the seed.

What are the proper ph levels for a healthy lawn?

Add Lime to Your Yard for Correct pH Balance

The ideal pH range for healthy lawns is between six and seven. If your soil test comes back with a reading of six or lower, adding lime can correct the balance.

Apply 40 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet if the pH is at six. Add slightly more for levels below this.

If soil testing shows that your lawn/soil has low magnesium levels, adding dolomite lime will supply the magnesium.

How can I get rid of weeds, taproots and all?

Removing Weeds

To make it easier to remove weeds with long roots, water the soil around the weed thoroughly. Completely soak the weed.

Then, insert your trowel vertically into the soil as close as possible to the weed stem. You should then be able to pull the weed out, roots and all.

Another option is to simply spray the weed with a weed killing chemical. Just be certain to not let any over spray land on any surrounding plants or vegetables.

What causes fusarium blight?

Fusarium Blight and Lawns

This disease is most likely to occur in areas of the lawn that are exposed to long hours of direct sunlight, especially on sloped areas. It does not occur in heavily shaded lawns.

Fusarium Blight first appears as patches of pale green grass (from a few inches to several feet in diameter) that wilt and turn to straw color. Frequently the grass in the center of the patch stays green, surrounded by the area of brown grass, which has given this disease a nickname of "frog-eye." When temperatures remain near 90°F in the day and 70°F at night, Fusarium Blight can quickly spread throughout your lawn.

This disease can be control by using a chemical that controls lawn fungus.

What causes dollar spot?

Dollar Spot and Lawns

Dollar Spot first shows up as brown spots in the lawn which vary in size from a fraction of an inch to approximately three inches in diameter. Left unchecked, the spots become so numerous that they join together to form large areas of brown grass on your lawn.
Diseased grass blades contain "hourglass-shaped" tan lesions.

During early morning hours, when moisture is on the lawn, tufts of white, cotton-like mycelium spread in tiny webs across the infected spots; these disappear as the sun rises.

Dollar Spot often attacks lawns that are suffering from a lack of moisture and/or a lack of nutrients. Dollar spot can be controlled with a chemical that controls and prevents lawn fungus.

What can I do to make my lawn healthier?

Aerate Your Lawn

To get your lawn off to a good start in the spring, it is a good idea to aerate it. This increases air and water circulation in the lawn.

The best way to go about aerating your lawn is to rent a mechanical core aerator. You will run this machine over your lawn. The aerator will pull out plugs of soil which can just be left on the lawn to decompose.

You can also wear spiked shoes that will aerate your lawn as you mow. Researches report that doing so will also cut down on grub infestations in your lawn -- as the spikes kill the grubs.

Is there a better way to water my lawn?

Efficiently Water Your Lawn

Simply spraying your lawn with a water hose may not be as beneficial to the grass as you think.

You should think about investing in sprinklers and soaker hoses. Sprinklers ensure that each area of your lawn receives an adequate amount of water. Soaker hoses work well in that they take water to the roots of the grass. This ensures the water is not evaporated before it has a chance to soak into the ground.

When should I raise the blade on my lawn mower?

When to Raise Your Lawnmower Blades

You should do your lawn a favor in the summer months and raise the height of your lawnmower blades. Grass needs to be higher in the hot and dry months. This will keep the roots of the grass cooler. The shade from the tall grass will also keep your grass from sunburning.

Allowing your grass to grow a little higher in the hot months will also help to ensure that any water the grass receives is not quickly evaporated, because it is protected by the shade of the tall grass.

How do I keep squirrels and rabbits out of my vegetable garden?

Keeping Squirrels And Rabbits Out Of Your Garden

To keep squirrels out of your garden plant some lavender or sage around the plants you want to protect. These plants tend to deter the small critters. For rabbits the best thing to do is to put up a chicken wire 18 inch fence. Make sure that you bury the bottom of the fence several inches under the soil so that the animals cannot dig their way into your garden.

Is straw a good mulch for my new lawn?

Straw Mulch

Straw mulch is commonly used to repair lawns. However, you should know that straw mulch does contain contaminants like weed seeds. Straw mulch can also deplete nitrogen from the lawn. You may have to follow up with a weed and feed at a later date.

How can i tell if my lawn needs de-thatching?


Thatch is a layer of dead matter which is above the soil line but below the green blades of the grass. If thatch gets too thick, grass will take root in the thatch and not the soil.

To help decide whether your lawn requires dethatching, dig up a small piece with a sharp tool. If the dead grass layer is more than 1/2 inches high, you need to dethatch.

You can dethatch by using a rake or renting a dethatching machine. You can make dethatching an annual part of your lawn care program.

How can I repair a lawn damaged by crane flies?

Crane Flies and Lawns

Crane flies resemble mosquitos and they can do significant damage to a lawn. Many experts report that it is best to welcome birds to your home (through feeders and bird houses) as birds feed on Crane Fly larvae. Birds can generally keep the number of Crane Flies to a minimum.

However, if your yard is infested with Crane Flies, you can treat your yard with a chemical. The chemical that is used on Crane Flies is chlorpyrifos. This chemical is very toxic to humans and animals. It comes in granular form and you should use safety precautions when applying it to your lawn.

How should I store sod?

Sod Storage

Try to schedule your sod delivery when you are ready for installation. Sod is a living thing. If sod is left laying around for too long, it will die. For best results, sod should be put down within 24 hours.

If sod must be stored, unroll it grass side up. Place the sod in a shady area on plastic. Water it down thoroughly and cover with burlap. It should then keep for a few days.

Is there a better, more eco-friendly way to mow my lawn?

Lawn Rollers

Lawn rollers are used by gardeners who want uniform smoothness throughout their yards. Many gardeners think they are helping their lawns each spring by renting lawn rollers. However, using a lawn roller on your grass only does one thing. It compacts the soil.

Having tightly compacted soil is very bad for lawn grass. It wrecks havoc on drainage, increases thatch, lowers soil oxygen levels and prevents good root growth.

Unless you are seeding a new ground, or establishing sod, you should avoid lawn rollers.

How do I patch my lawn?

Patching Your Lawn

A simple way to replace a damaged area in your lawn is to remove the damaged patch and use it as a template for the new patch.

Place the damaged lawn patch on a paper and trace around it with a pencil. Next, lay the paper over a piece of sod and cut around the markings. It should fit snugly into place.

What is leaf spot?

Leaf Spot and Lawns

In spring and fall, if you notice small, oblong, black lesions with a tan center on your grass, it is probably Leaf Spot. As the disease progresses, the lesions run together which causes the grass blades to wither into a lifeless, dull brown color.

During hot summer weather, the lesions are not as obvious, and at that time the disease attacks the crown and roots of the plant, thinning and destroying large areas of turf.

Leaf Spot on your grass should be treated with a chemical designed to control and kill lawn fungus.

What are army worms?

Armyworms and Lawns

Armyworms chew grass blades along the edges, giving the lawn a ragged appearance. In severe infestations, the lawn can be chewed almost to the bare ground.

The worms are up to one and a half inches in length, and their color varies from light green to a brownish-black, with several stripes along the side.

Armyworms are the larvae of dull grey-brown moths that hide during daylight and become quite active in the evening. The moths have a wingspread of about one and a half inches.

Armyworms can be controlled with a lawn insect control chemical.

Should I put sod under my trees?

Sod and Trees

Sod is often regarded as a cure-all for bare or troubled lawn areas.

However, the one area where sod does not work well is under trees as filler. Sod requires more water than it would receive under a tree.

A better solution for under planting trees, is to plant a low growing groundcover, such as an ornamental grass.

What is red thread?

Red Thread and Lawns

Red Thread is a disease that creates discolored patterns in the lawn from two inches to several feet in diameter. Unaffected grass blades are usually interspersed in the diseased area.

When viewed closely, the affected grass blades reveal pink-to-red thread like strands at their tips. When moisture is plentiful, a pinkish, cotton-candy-like mass may appear in the affected lawn areas.

As the disease progresses, the unhealthy grass blades collapse and turn brown. During the active stages, it can spread from one area of the lawn to another by foot traffic, mowing etc. Although it thrives best in temperatures from 60°F to 75°F, it is also common in summertime, when temperatures are higher.

To prevent or cure Red Thread, treat your lawn with a chemical that controls fungus.

How can I stop my dog from ruining my lawn?

Dog Spots on the Lawn

A dog's urine is very hard on grass. It can leave eight to 12 inch round circles of dead grass on your lawn. These dead patches are known as "dog spots."

The only way to prevent dog spots is to water down the area where dogs have urinated. The water will dilute the urine so it will not kill your grass.

The only way to truly keep dogs from using your lawn as their restroom is to install a fence or motion detectors. Motion detectors can be purchased at pet stores. They will put out a sound when a dog comes into your yard that will drive him or her away.

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Guru Spotlight
Sheri Ann Richerson
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