Maintaining a healthy, green lawn is always the goal but sometimes you can fall short and not understand why. It’s important to point out the leading lawncare mistakes you might be overlooking to diffuse common misconceptions, raise awareness, and help you take better care of your lawn and ultimately have stronger grass. With this helpful insight and our actionable tips, you can work toward achieving a strong, robust lawn. In no order, here are the top 10 lawn care mistakes and our pro tips on how to avoid them.
Ignoring Soil Health
One of the most fundamental, yet overlooked, aspects of lawn care is soil health and quality. Did you know an estimated 80% of problems with plants can be traced back to unhealthy soil? Creating a nutrient-rich and well-balanced soil environment for your lawn will to more successful landscaping projects in the future.
Our Pro Tip: Conduct a soil test! This will determine the make-up of the dirt your grass is growing in. With more information about the fertility of your soil, its pH level, and nutrient deficiencies, you can take action to improve it. Help your lawn thrive by treating it with nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, lime, compost, or fertilizers, as needed.
Overwatering or Underwatering
Watering mistakes are common as it can be difficult to gauge how much water to use and the correct frequency, especially in Texas where summers are especially hot and dry. Overwatering can drown the roots and suffocate them, leading to rot and disease. While on the other hand, underwatering can lead to brown patches and weakened turf. Both overwatering and underwatering can cause a yellow-looking lawn, but the main difference is that an overwatered lawn will feel spongey when you walk on it. Typically, an inch of water per week is enough for most grass types, but the true key to success is understanding your lawn’s specific watering needs after you consider factors like grass type, climate, and soil conditions.
Our Pro Tip: Water deeply and infrequently, preferably in the early morning or late evening to minimize evaporation. You can also get a rain gauge to gain better visibility of the water your lawn receives and solve any overwatering or underwatering issues.
Mowing Too Short
Many homeowners think that mowing their lawns as short as possible will reduce the frequency of mowing. Some even simply prefer the look of a low-cut lawn. However, this assumption is quite untrue, and mowing too short can cause irreversible damage. It’s healthier for your lawn to be too long than too short. Don’t forget that grass blades are leaves and require photosynthesis for nourishment. When you mow too low and cut the leaf blade too short, you limit its ability to conduct photosynthesis and store energy. This can weaken the entire lawn and leave it weak and susceptible to invasive weeds, diseases, and insects.
Our Pro Tip: Set your lawnmower at the recommended height for your grass type and measure your grass blades for reference. As a rule of thumb, most turfgrasses during summer weather should be kept as high as possible at around three to 3-3.5 inches in length and you should only cut the top one-third of the blades each time you mow. This will encourage deep-root growth instead of hindering it.
Neglecting Lawn Aeration
You don’t want to neglect lawn aeration because compacted soil prevents proper air circulation, nutrient absorption, and water penetration into the root zone. Lawn aeration means making small holes by pulling tiny plugs throughout the yard. But why should you do it? Because grassroots are like the brain behind the grass. They control the uptake of nutrients and water to the grass and store the carbohydrates grass uses for energy and alert the grass to stressful conditions. Healthier roots mean a healthier lawn.
Our Pro Tip: Aerate your lawn once or twice a year. You can use a manual or powered aerator to create small holes in the soil, which will allow air, water, fertilizers, and nutrients to reach the grassroots more effectively.
Using the Wrong Fertilizer
Not all fertilizers are created equal, and using the wrong type or applying it incorrectly can harm or even poison your lawn. In order to know which fertilizer to pick out you need to consider the nutrients your lawn is lacking. Knowing your grass type and having a soil analysis is critical to getting the right one. The three macro-nutrients your lawn needs are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK), so this is something to be aware of and look for. This information is usually displayed on the front of the product.
Our Pro Tip: Understand your lawn’s specific nutrient requirements and choose a fertilizer that matches those needs. Additionally, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and timings to avoid burning the grass.
Not Treating for Weeds and Pests
Ignoring the presence of weeds and pests can quickly turn your dream lawn into a nightmare. Pesky weeds actively eat at your lawn roots and steal nutrients, so attacking them is vital. Another lawn nuisance to treat is pests. Insects like spiders, millipedes, beetles, and fire ants come in, make themselves at home, and feed on your lawn roots causing damage.
Our Pro Tip: Maintain a scheduled and routine use of herbicides along with a proper fertilization schedule because the healthier and stronger your lawn is, the tougher it will be for weeds to pop up. Use natural remedies where applicable, mechanical removal, or targeted herbicides when necessary. Always be sure to protect yourself with personal protective equipment including gloves, goggles, and long sleeve clothing before handling any herbicide chemical.
Forgetting to Sharpen Your Lawn Mower Blades
Dull mower blades pull and tear the grass causing jagged tips instead of a clean cut. This can stress the lawn, making it more susceptible to turning yellow, weakening it, and increasing the risk of diseases. If you’ve used your mower for approximately over twenty hours then you might want to check the condition of the blades. It doesn’t need to be knife sharp, but the leading edge of the blade should be beveled and free from gouges.
Our Pro Tip: Regularly sharpen your mower blades, at least once a year. This will help ensure clean and precise cuts, which will lead to healthier grass and a better-looking lawn.
Choosing the Wrong Type of Grass
Picking the right grass type for your region’s climate and soil is crucial to a successful lawn. You also need to consider if your lawn is shaded or not to know how shade-tolerant your grass should be. There are different types of grasses that will grow best, depending on where you live in the country. Cool-season grass can thrive in northern regions where summers are moderate and spring and fall seasons are cooler. Warm-season grasses grow best where summer temperatures run higher, but they can’t withstand the brutely, cold northern winters.
Our Pro Tip: Spend some time researching the best grass types for where you live and select the one that will thrive in the weather and soil conditions. Monitor the space where you want to plant grass or landscape and decide if the grass will need to be shade-tolerant or not by how many hours of sun the area receives per day.
Focusing only on Spring and Summer Lawn Care
A common mistake many people make is not caring for their lawns during the cooler seasons. While certain types of grass require less care in the fall because they go dormant more quickly, that doesn’t mean you can forget about the importance of fall maintenance. Your lawn might be “sleeping,” but it’s not dead.
Our Pro Tip: Conduct fall-specific tasks to set your lawn up for winter to ensure it comes back strong in the spring. Watering, fertilizing, aerating, and removing leaves will all help avoid potential problems in the colder months.
Skipping Regular Maintenance
Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining a beautiful lawn. Regularly tending to your lawn, including mowing, watering, and weeding will keep it healthy and visually appealing.
Our Pro Tip: Create a lawn care schedule that incorporates all necessary tasks throughout the year that you can stick with. This ensures your lawn will receive the attention it deserves. You won’t regret it!
Armed with this information, you can avoid these top 10 lawn care mistakes in the future. Take the time to understand your lawn’s unique needs, be consistent with proper care and maintenance, and address any issues quickly. By following our pro tips, you’ll be on your way to having the envy-worthy lawn you deserve!