Proper Lawn Watering Tips
Every living thing needs water to survive.
Your lawn is no exception. As the weather heats up, your lawn processes
more and more water. Unfortunately, at the same time that the lawn is
using more water through the summer, thereís usually less rainfall
available. Without additional watering by you in the form of extra
sprinkling, your lawn may go dormant or suffer serious thinning.
What happens to the water you put on the
Grass blades are covered with tiny holes
(or pores) called stomata. The plants absorb water mixed with nutrients
and minerals through the roots and use all of these things in producing
food. This process is called photosynthesis. Excess water and turf
ďwaste materialĒ (oxygen) are released through the pores on the grass
blades. This is called transpiration, and without enough water, the
whole cycle soon slows or even stops completely. Transpiration replaces
oxygen in the atmosphere and releases water vapor into the air. Itís
this process that allows a lawn as small as 50' by 50' to produce enough
oxygen to support a family of four.
How does the Type of Soil affect Watering?
Your soil type affects how often and how
long you need to water. Sandy soils absorb water fast but lose it just
as quickly. Loamy soils are ideal because they have a good absorbing
rate and can also hold water well. Clay soils can be hard to water
because they take the water in very slowly. On the other hand, clay
holds water well and dries more slowly than other soil types. The
average lawn consumes about 1'' of water per week (as measured in a rain
gauge or coffee can). When there isnít enough rain to meet the need,
watering is the answer. Soil dries out from the surface downward. By
watering deeply, you encourage deeper rooting of the lawn. Water each
area long enough to saturate the soil to a depth of 6'' (thatís about
1'' of water per area per week). If possible, apply most of this 1'' of
water at one time.
Need help setting up a good watering
program? Contact Lawn King. Weíre your
neighborhood lawn care team. Remember: Grass consumes much more water in
hot weather. Grass needs water to clean the air, produce
oxygen and produce nutrients.
Recommendation: Water your lawn in
the early morning hours. ( 4:00am - 9:00am) Do not water at night, as
this will promote disease. Also, do not water in the heat (middle) of
the day. The water will evaporate too fast and it will not have a chance
to penetrate the soil.
Watering Tips - Automatic
Most of us know how important water is for
keeping our lawns healthy and green. Without water our grass canít survive. Automatic irrigation systems can provide
great care for a lawn. They eliminate hose pulling and can do your
watering chores anytime, even when youíre asleep or out of town. But
even with the most sophisticated sprinklers, you could still be sending
money down the drain if itís not used correctly. Getting coverage and
depth is the first step. Your lawn needs 1Ē of water a week. Thatís a
lot of water and you donít want to waste any of it. The first step is to
know when (and how) to turn your system off. Thatís right. We see
sprinklers going full blast in the middle of rainstorms sometimes and
wonder why? You need to know how much rainfall youíre getting to know
when your system needs to run and when it can be turned off for awhile.
Keeping in mind how much water your lawn needs, setting the timers on
your system will determine how deeply you are watering.
A big temptation with automatic sprinklers
is to water the lawn for a short time every day or two. This results in
shallow watering and shallow, weak roots. Responsible lawn care also
means taking care to ensure that all of the lawn is getting watered.
Each type of sprinkler head has a different pattern and flow rate. If
your system is properly designed, it is divided into zones that cover
all of the turf and planting beds on your property. Most in-ground
sprinkler systems today are efficient and accurate. But regular, minor
adjustments to these systems can lead to major improvements in how well
they work: Check sprinkler heads periodically to make sure none have
been broken and they are still aimed in the proper direction. Be sure
sprinklers have an even spray pattern and that leaves or other debris
arenít blocking the spray. Make sure your timer is adjusted correctly
for the time of day.
We know how important water is to everything
we do at Lawn King. We want you to get the most from your system, have a
beautiful lawn, and not waste water or money. So if you have any
questions, contact Lawn King.
Recommendation: Set each zone for a
minimum of 40 minutes every 3 days. If you have multiple zones, then set
a couple of zones for day 1, then a couple more for day 2, then the rest
for day 3. The whole lawn doesn't need to be watered on the same day.
By using these settings, you will be
watering deeply and infrequently, which will promote deeper root growth
and drought tolerance.
Lawn Care Mowing Tips
Should I bag my grass clippings when I
No! It's almost never a good idea to
collect clippings from your lawn for several good reasons. Clippings
return a lot of nutrients to help with lawn fertilizing, they do not add
It's true that for years it seemed like a
good idea to bag lawn clippings, but new research and environmental
concerns have changed all that.
A beautiful lawn is never an accident. And
among all of the strategies for lawn care that make a lawn look its
best, mowing properly is one of the most important. Keeping your lawn a
cut above the rest is really very simple. Just remember these basic
rules, and you'll be well on your way to having a picture-perfect lawn.
Grass Recycling Helps With Lawn
Clippings "recycle" as much as 15% of all
the food value of the lawn fertilizer applied. This means a lawn that
ďrecycles" can be greener and better fed than one where clippings are
removed. And because clippings have such high water content, they break
down quickly and return both moisture and lawn fertilizing nutrients to
the soil fast. Leaving your clippings lie taps into the natural cycle of
nature, and saves you time, work and money with lawn fertilization.
( Tip: If you have clumps of clippings on the lawn, remove them ! )
Controlling Lawn Thatch
Thatch is the layer of living and dead
roots and stems that form on top of the soil. A small amount of thatch
is a good thing, but when thatch builds up faster than the soil can
break it down, all sorts of lawn maintenance problems start to crop up.
The misunderstanding is that grass clippings add to this thatch. This
just isn't true. Thatch is made up mostly of roots and stems, not grass
blades. Bagging the clippings does not reduce thatch build-up.
Keep it High
The first guideline for growing grass is
mowing high. A lawn kept clipped at the correct height is able to stay
greener, helps with weed control, conserves water by shading the soil,
and has more food producing ability. Weed and crabgrass seeds need
plenty of sun and heat to sprout. Because of this, taller grass is one
of the best methods of weed prevention you can use. Shading the soil by
mowing higher also reduces water loss from evaporation.
Recommendation: Mow your lawn at a
3" height during the Spring & Fall and 3.5" - 4" during the Summer.
You will notice the difference !
Cutting too short or too much off at once
When you set the blade too low, you may
remove most of the food producing parts of the plant. The result is a
brown lawn that takes weeks and weeks to recover.
How Often should I Mow?
Mowing at the right frequency is the
second lawn care rule to keeping your lawn in top condition. Lawns grow
at very different rates from season to season. Northern Turf grass produces much
more top growth during the spring and fall, and your mowing schedule
should match the growth of your lawn. During periods of heavy growth,
once a week may not be enough, while every ten days might be fine during
the summer. The key to mowing frequency is to never remove more than 1/3
of the total blade height in a single mowing.
A Sharp Blade = A Better Looking Lawn
We receive inquiries all the time about
lawns that look brown even after periods of rain and cooler weather. In
almost every case, this is the result of a dull mower blade shredding
the tips of the grass. When a blade is dull, it rips the turf instead of
cutting cleanly. The ripped tips then bleach out and turn brown, giving
the whole lawn a tan or brown cast. Having the blade sharpened and
balanced once per year is usually not enough especially on larger
properties. To keep your grass growing strong, you should keep your
The common perception is that clippings add
to thatch has been disproved by university research.
Grass clippings left on the lawn return up
to 15% of the nutrients applied in lawn fertilizer.
Mow the lawn high. Set the mower on one of
the highest settings. Never remove more than 1/3 of the blade height at
Mow more often during periods of heavy
grass growth. Keep the blade sharp for a clean cut.
Moss in your Lawn
Moss may not always grow on the north side
of trees and it might not be able to guide those lost in the woods. But
it does send a different kind of signal to us in terms of weed control.
When it shows up in your lawn, moss is
sending a message that something in your yard is not right for growing
grass. Moss isnít a super strong plant. It doesnít drive out grass; it
just quietly fills in the space when your good turf isnít able to grow.
Why is Moss There?
There are about many kinds of moss that show
up in lawns, and most of them love shady, moist conditions. But cool,
moist shade isnít the only reason you may be seeing a short green
blanket of moss where the grass is supposed to be. Here are some other
conditions that can bring on moss:
Poor drainage: A common reason moss
appears. Soil that is nearly always wet keeps the grass from growing by
drowning its roots and creates a perfect home for moss.
Too much shade: Moss can take off
in areas where there is not enough sunlight for grass to thrive.
Thinning or pruning overhanging shrubs or trees will help light get
through. Or we can help you plan for a type of grass that grows well in
Not enough air circulation: Your
lawn needs plenty of air to help water evaporate from the soil. Pruning
low branches in surrounding trees may also help with this problem.
Low soil fertility: Without the
right amount of nutrients in the soil, itís hard for many grasses to
grow. Your Lawn King lawn care program can provide the regular
fertilizing that your grass needs to start a new growth process.
Compacted soil: When the top several
inches of soil get packed down, turf roots canít penetrate and have
trouble getting established.
Lawn aerating can usually help solve this
Acidic soil: Testing the soil pH
may show that your lawn needs lime.
The best way to tackle moss is by
working together to correct the root cause. If you have this problem in
your lawn, contact Lawn King.
The average lawn contains millions of
individual grass plants. These plants are always forming new parts and
losing old ones. Thatch is the matted layer of dead and living stems,
roots, and organic matter that forms in most lawns above the soil.
Thatch is a natural part of growing grass, and a small amount is
actually healthy. It conserves moisture and provides a source of new
humus as it decomposes.
The Dangers Of Too Much Thatch in your
When the soil in your lawn can't break
down thatch as fast as it builds up, a lot of problems can result.
Thatch over 1/2'' thick becomes a breeding place for both insects and
lawn diseases. Heavy thatch also encourages turf roots to stay in the
thatch layer instead of pushing into the soil. Another big problem with
matted thatch is how it sheds water. The principle is the same as the
thatched roofs used on old-style cottages. By being thick and heavily
matted, the surface keeps water out. Thatís fine on a house, but not on
a lawn. For all these reasons, itís important to manage thatch levels as
part of a good turf care program.
Soil And Grass Types Affect Thatch
Some soils are able to break down thatch
very quickly. Soils that are high in microbial activity can keep up with
thatch naturally, eliminating the need for other management practices.
Loam soils tend to handle thatch much better than either clay or sand.
The type of grass being grown makes a big difference too. Blue grass and
fine fescue for example are prone to rapid thatch accumulation, while others develop little or no thatch (like rye grass and
tall fescues). Conditioning the soil before lawn seeding and then
choosing a thatch resistant variety are two of the best thatch
Removing or Controlling Thatch
In severe cases (1'' or more of thatch),
stripping the entire lawn or complete tilling and reseeding may be the
only solution for your lawn repair. Dethatching using a power rake
removes a lot of thatch, but also disrupts the good turf. Slicing is
another alternative, but it works best only with a few grass varieties.
Of all the choices for thatch control, core
aeration is the best way to reduce and control
thatch. Core aeration is simple, economical,
and doesn't tear up the entire lawn (unlike other alternatives for lawn
renovation). Regular core cultivation benefits the entire lawn while
solving moderate thatch problems. Core aeration
also keeps thatch from becoming a serious problem by speeding up the
decomposition process and punching through the thatched roof over your
A little thatch is good, a lot of thatch
isn't. Good management keeps thatch under 1/2''. Overseed with thatch
resistant turf types. Practice regular core aeration to avoid more costly
and severe solutions. If you think you have a thatch problem,
contact Lawn King. We'll be happy to take a look.
Lawn Care Tips:
Late fall is your last chance to take care
of your lawn that will prepare it for a healthy winter and give it a
strong start next spring.
Tips For the Fall
Lower the height of your mower. Your lawn
should enter winter without any young, tender growth that could make it
more appealing to winter lawn diseases, like snow mold. New soft growth
on the lawn is also more prone to dry out after the first winter winds
come through, which leaves you with a tan or brown lawn all winter. So,
as late fall approaches, begin to gradually bring the cutting height
down on your mower, until you are almost at 3".
Do Not scalp the lawn. Itís important to do this over a few weeks to avoid suddenly removing all the green leaf tissue and damaging the
turf. Grass grows all winter, developing the root system.
Late Fall Lawn
This is a time of year when your lawn
really good use of fertilizer. The lawn's top growth has slowed, so
these lawn fertilizing nutrients go straight to the roots for a strong
start next spring. Your lawn actually converts
the fertilizer into food reserves and loads up its root system so itís
ready, willing and able to get a quick (and healthy) start for growing
grass in the spring.
Remove Leaves And Other Debris From
Before snow or other winter weather hits, take the time to go over the lawn one more
time. Leaving debris on the lawn can smother the grass and create
problems with winter or early spring lawn diseases.
If the lawn has not been aerated, there
may still be time. Lawn aeration is very effective as long as the soil
is not frozen. In other words, as long as we can still pull a good core,
your lawn will directly benefit. Core aeration in late fall gives the
plugs we pull plenty of time to melt down and to get thatch decomposing.
We are proud of
our Quality, Service and Professionalism.