LAWN TIPS & RECOMMENDATIONS
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Never scalp your lawn. Scalping is when you remove more than 1/3 of the grass height while mowing. This is very stressful to grass and can cause permanent damage, especially in heavy shade, drought conditions, and newly planted grass. The best way to avoid scalping your lawn is to mow often and at the correct height. Important note: If new sod is scalped before it is well rooted, you can expect thinning or death of the new sod. Leave new sod higher until rooted well and then gradually lower height to correct height to ensure a thicker, healthier lawn.
If you are leaving “hay” in the lawn after mowing each time, you should change your mowing practices. Leaving hay when mowing, usually means you should mow more often or raise your mowing height if you can’t mow more often.
Listed are the recommended mowing heights for the grass types in our area. Mowing at the correct height will make your lawn as healthy as possible. Many lawns in our area have multiple grass types in the same lawn area. If that is the case, we recommend mowing at the height recommended for the majority grass in your lawn. If you have heavy shade in your lawn, mowing at the highest height is recommended for a healthier lawn.
Saint Augustine Grass- 3 to 4 inches
Centipede Grass- 1 to 2 inches
Bermuda- 1 to 2 inches
Carpet Grass 1 to 2 inches
Zoysia Grass- 1 to 2 inches
Sharpen Blades regularly. It is also very important to keep your mower blades sharp. If the blades are dull, they “tear” the grass instead of cutting. Dull mower blades cause the lawn to have a brown tint. If you look closely at the blades, each blade will look “shredded” on the top. The shredded leaf blades allow fungus to enter the grass plant easier and increases fungus damage to the lawn.
Don’t Bag your mower clippings. Using a mulching attachment (instead of a bagging attachment) on your mower. Mulching the grass clippings and tree leaves in the fall provide excellent organic matter for the soil.
Short frequent watering should be avoided. This type watering encourages shallow roots and increases fungus activity. When it is necessary to water, water heavily to encourage a deep root system. The equivalent of 1 inch of rain or irrigation per week is ideal except during extremely hot and dry conditions when up to 2 inches per week may be needed. For most irrigation systems in our area, 1 inch will take 1 to 2 hours in each zone depending on water pressure. You can check this by placing a rain gauge in your lawn.
Watering should be done in the early mornings. Watering after noon or at night is not harmful to the grass, HOWEVER, it does produce ideal conditions for fungus growth, which damages grass. Fungus grows when 3 conditions are present: Moisture, Temperatures acceptable for that fungus to grow, and fungal spores. The only condition we have any control over (at least part of the time), is moisture. Watering early morning helps reduce the number of hours each day, fungus can grow in your lawn.
If you notice dry spots in your lawn, your irrigation system my not be adjusted properly or may not be designed properly. If designed properly, it should be putting the same amount of water in all areas. You can use a rain gauge to check the consistency of your irrigation system from zone to zone.
Another reason for dry spots is “hard pan spots”. Hard pan spots are areas in the lawn that have “pockets” of heavier clay soil compared to other areas in the lawn. These areas tend to have very shallow roots. You can help these areas by aerating the lawn and topdressing these areas with bagged “play” sand for small areas or mason sand if you need a truck load. These types of sand are usually free of weeds compared to sand from other sources.
All the grasses in our area prefer full sun. Zoysia-Grass and Saint Augustine Grass are the grasses that “tolerate” shade. They still need about 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight (not filtered sunlight) to be healthy. Lawns that have shade take longer to recover from fungus, insect or other problems. We recommend that you keep limbs trimmed as high as possible. Thinning the number of trees may also help allow more sunlight to your lawn.