When summer rolls around, every proud gardener likes to turn the neighbor’s heads with a lusciously verdant lawn. Whatever arboreal bells and whistles your garden boasts, a great lawn is the most crucial part of a beautiful garden. Take it away and everything else, however beautiful and perfectly maintained, falls apart.
While we all want to wow friends, visitors and passers-by with our lawn, some of us make pretty grievous mistakes in their over-zealousness; mistakes that can be difficult, costly and time consuming to rectify. Don’t be one of them! Check out this lawn care guide and be wary of these 5 common mistakes and this summer your lawn will be the emerald colored crown jewel in your garden.
Planting without testing the soil
You can buy all the expensive seeds and plants in the world, but your garden will wither and die if you’re planting in soil that’s not conducive to growth. Plants need just the right acidity and nutritional composition from their soil and if you’re planting in soil with the wrong pH balance, it’s a recipe for disaster (not to mention wasteful). The perfect pH level for grass is between 6 and 6.5, but if your pH is outside of this range, then there’s no need to panic. The market is flush with soil amendments that you can add to improve its nutritional composition for healthy growth. We recommend gypsum, lime, compost or simple aeration are great assets for enhancing your soil’s nutritional qualities.
Buying the wrong seeds
You might well think that all grass seeds are created equal, but you’d be wrong. You wouldn’t believe what some manufacturers put in with boxed grass seeds. Many budget grass seed brands actually contain weed seeds mixed in with the good stuff. Always check your box to ensure that there are no “weed seeds” or “other crop” seeds mixed in with the grass. Sure, 100% grass seeds may cost a little extra but it’s more than worth it in time saved on your knees pulling up unwelcome weeds.
All plants need water, but watering your lawn too frequently actually discourages the grass from developing properly. Healthy grass needs a deep root system to collect available moisture deeper in the soil so that it become less dependent on human intervention. Water deeply but infrequently, perhaps an inch of water per week spread over three waterings.
Planting only one type of seed
Planting combinations of grass seeds allows them to grow hardier as the different breeds offset each other’s inherent shortcomings and help to ensure each other’s survival. Blue grass, for example is luscious and soft, essential in creating the right kind of lawn for walking on barefoot. Fescue, on the other hand, is rougher but tough and durable. Planting a 50 / 50 mixture of both will ensure that your lawn stays soft and luxurious while being tough enough to endure the rigors of a hot summer.
Over clipping / scalping
Plants have feelings too! Mowing your grass too short can be extremely traumatic for the grass, causing it to go into shock and inhibiting its ability to photosynthesize. Ensure that your mower is set to around 2.5 inches and avoid removing more than a third of the blade when mowing.