Recent lawn care information reports that a lot of us might be guilty of over-kill when it comes to tending our family turf. What may be the most effective way to solve problems may not be the best way for the long-term health of our lawns and safety of our families.
For instance, most experts tell us we need to aerate our lawns each spring to control thatch. Thatch is a layer of dead stems and roots that build up under some grasses. The truth is that thatch is a natural part of a lawn and a shallow layer of it (up to ? inch) even acts as a moisture holding mulch for your turf. That is not always good information, as everything in life it depends on several factor such as soil type and the like.
You can tell if your lawn needs thatch control by walking across it. If you find you have too much spring in your step, then check to see how difficult it is to reach the soil under your grass. If you have to dig through a dense mat of thatch to hit pay dirt, then you need to aerate your lawn.
Lawn fertilization is another area of lawn care where it's easy to give our turf too much of a good thing. Healthy grass sends roots deep into the soil to find the nutrients it needs to grow. When fed from the top, the grass blade grows quickly but root growth is inhibited. This results in a shallow rooted, fast growing lawn that is susceptible to drought, disease, and invasive weeds.
Another reason to grow a deep-rooted lawn is for both weed and pest control. While chemical herbicides and pesticides are effective for controlling invasive plants and insects in the short-term, natural control methods offer better solutions for the long-term health of your lawn. A deep-rooted lawn takes up the space that weed roots would otherwise occupy. Once established, your grass will work hard to maintain its own turf and smother out invaders.
In addition, the soil under your lawn is alive with a community of beneficial microorganisms that work with you to fight disease and both pest and plant invasions. Use of toxic chemicals kills this helpful colony and in addition leaves residues that are a threat to your own health and the health of your family.
Water your lawn deeply and infrequently. Consider rainfall and remember that your lawn needs about one-inch of water per week to thrive. Rather than using a garden hose or light sprinkler system, invest in a soaker hose so that water has the optimum chance to be absorbed into your soil.
Mow your lawn high. Your grass needs to be 2 ? to 3-inches tall to take advantage of the sun and gather the carbohydrates it needs. Giving your lawn a crew cut is a sure way to make it go bald!
As in many things, less is more. Spend less time in lawn care by tending your turf the natural way. Your result will be more time to enjoy healthy growing, environmentally friendly yard.
Hans is an author of Gardening Tips Tricks and Howto's of Gardening Guides and the Lawn Care section of the Lawnmower Guide.