Springs sure seems to be in the air, and it will be time to get out the lawn mower and mow your grass soon. I thought I'd post the 5 best ways to kill your grass! Do NOT do these things if you want a beautiful yard this summer.
- Cutting too short. Each time you mow, only remove about 1/3 of the grass blade. Shorter clippings break down more easily, allowing some of the natural nitrogen to return to the soil. If you cut too much at one time, the long clippings can cause stress on the grass, inhibiting healthy growth. Removing only a small amount of the blade each time you mow is a good practice and will give you the best quality turf.
- Mowing in the same pattern repeatedly. We all have our habits, but mowing your lawn in the same pattern all year is one you need to break. Mowing grass in the same direction all the time can mat down the turf and inhibit growth. By varying the pattern in which you mow your grass, you will avoid missing or double mowing areas and reduce wear on the turf. This will encourage a healthier, more beautiful lawn. Now I understand why some of the men in my neighborhood sometimes mow their grass to look like a checkerboard, and other times like the outfield at a ball park—they're mixing things up to keep their lawn healthy.
- Bagging your clippings. While bagging clippings is a common practice, mulching with your grass clipping is much more beneficial to your lawn. Mulching returns essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, back to the soil. If you do decide to bag, be sure to compost your clippings and reuse on site.
- Ignoring the roots. Don't just focus on managing the parts of the lawn you can see. Caring for the grass' roots and soil is one of the most important things you can do now to ensure healthy growth year round. Consider taking a soil sample and having a local university extension program or your local landscape supplier provide a soil analysis. The results will give a measure of fertility based on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium levels, and can help determine the best type of fertilizer to use throughout the year.
- Cutting with blunt mower blades. A dull mower blade will shred grass blades creating entryways for disease. Sharpen the mower blade to a thickness of about 1/64 of an inch to keep the blade strong and but not too sharp. Be sure the blade is balanced, which will give you a clean cut and avoid damage to the mower. If you're unsure how to sharpen the blade, as an expert at your local home improvement store for help. You always want to keep good lawnmower safety in mind.