I’ve never understood America’s love affair with their Blades of Glory, but here’s a few Tips For Healthy Lawns!
Oh green, vibrant rich thatch of earth, so perfectly cut, each blade precise;
As tufts of cyan and amber sprout wild and feral in an unruly tangle.
My hapless endeavor, with tool in hand, against weed and root I wrangle.
The sun on my back, a head drenched in sweat, weariness grows, perhaps heat stroke, or maybe death.
To quench my thirst I reach for one tall glass, though, if it were my druthers, I’d settle for a lawn full of green grass.
Michael C. Walker
When Did Lawns Become Popular?
Whether we know it or not, we’re imitating European royalty. The first lawns were created by the nobles and aristocrats of 17th- and 18th-century Europe, including Louis XIV of France, whose Versailles gardens were the first to include squares of “green carpet.” The idea of lawns as status symbols and “pleasure grounds” caught on among French and British landed gentry, who relied on servants, sheep, and goats as lawn mowers.
After the American Revolution, the trend hopped the Atlantic and flourished among the new nation’s landed aristocrats. George Washington had an English-style lawn at his home in Mount Vernon, as did Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. Front lawns didn’t really trickle down to the common man “until the development of suburban housing after the Civil War,” said Virginia Scott Jenkins, author of The Lawn: A History of an American Obsession. With World War II’s end and Americans’ mass exodus from cities, lawns became emblems of American leisure and prosperity—and a burden for generations of homeowners.
The Best Tips For Healthy Lawns!
To get that perfect lawn you might need to have a mindset change. As in gardening, you’ve got to be the plant, and now you have to be the grass. You’ve got to think about what it needs? The basics are really are fairly simple: sun, water and fertilizer.
Just A Trim Please!
The best lawn secret I can share with you is one of the most important one. Most people mow their lawns way, way too SHORT. Cutting our lawn short does nothing but put the grass under STRESS! The secret – less, not more: “
Grass should never be mowed shorted than 3″! Most people scalp their lawn. Raise your mower to the highest possible notch so you’re mowing only the top third of the grass when you cut. Taller grass promotes better root development and shades the ground so it doesn’t dry out as fast!
A great benefit to cutting your lawn 3″ and higher is that the taller grass blocks the sun that weed seeds require to germinate. Now I know what you’re thinking? Won’t leaving grass taller mean you’ll have to mow more often? NO! It is not true that if you cut your lawn shorter you won’t have to mow it as often. Grass renews itself so fast that it doesn’t save you any time.
I’m Not That Thristy!
Water deep, and only once a week. Weekly soaking helps roots run deeper and stronger into the soil. Frequent, shallow waterings, tend to lead to thatch, that unsightly web of dry brown runners just above the soil.
Watering deeply can also prevent chinch bugs, a pest that tends to attach dried, stressed out lawns across the midsection of the country. To figure out how much water your lawn needs, take your soil type into account: sandy soils dry out faster, while clay soils hold moisture longer and don’t require watering as often.
For a newly seeded lawn, water every day for five to 10 minutes only. Your goal is to dampen the seeds without causing runoff that might wash them away or mar the surface with gullies. After the seeds sprout and the new grass is a half inch tall, water once a day for 15 to 20 minutes.
I’m So Hungry!
A healthy lawn gets hungry too, and needs a big meal. Some fertilize only twice a year, spring and fall, is really not enough, and just the bare minimum. Just like when you take a multi-vitaman, lawns need help every 4 to 6 weeks. But beware the common N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphate-potassium) fertilizers popular with most gardeners, they don’t provide everything your hungry grass needs.
A complete fertilizer, one that includes micronutrients such as sulfur, copper and iron is the best, and your lawns will be healthy.
Go Away Weeds!
We all know that crabgrass is the bane of every lawn gardener’s existence. But that doesn’t mean herbicides are essential to a healthy lawn; in fact, many experts avoid them. The true secret to banishing weeds, they say, is to grow such healthy grass that it chokes out the invaders naturally.
Mowing regularly helps too, because it tops off weeds like dandelions and crabgrass before they have a chance to scatter their seeds. When you do find yourself having to do battle against a path of weeds, use one of the new “natural” herbicides that derive their potency from corn gluten, salts from fatty acids or other nonchemical sources.
Let Me Breath!
When grass gets too compacted, nutrients can’t penetrate to the root system where they’re most needed. That’s where aeration — poking holes in your lawn to improve oxygen circulation — comes in. Most people aerate with a simple tool that looks like two hollow tubes attached to the end of a long handle. Of course, you can also just waltz around your lawn in spiked sports shoes — this is what Mr. C does!
Hope this post on lawn care helps you to get your lawn looking healthy and happy!