Although our terrible drought and the draconian watering restrictions are now more than three years in the past, we talk to several people every day who are still blaming the drought because their yards look terrible.
Yes, the drought did a lot of damage, and yes, some things are slow to recover. But it is time to move on and get back to our good lawn care practices and stop looking for a scapegoat.
- Proper mowing practices. Know what kind of lawn grass you have an mow frequently enough to keep it at the proper height — 1″ for hybrid Bermudas; 1.5 to 2″ for common Bermuda; 3-4″ for St. Augustine; and 1.5″ for Zoysia. Don’t remove more than 1/3 of the green blade at any one time.
Frequent mowing will go a long way to keep weed out, as it may keep many of them from going to seed.
- Proper watering techniques. Water less frequently, but more deeply. No grass should be watered every day. In the hottest part of the summer, deep watering twice a week should be sufficient. If the ground is hard so the water runs off, try watering for a few minutes, allow that water to soak in, then water some more.
Don’t water at night. Leaving moisture on the grass during the night may encourage fungus diseases.
- Timely fertilizing. Fertilize in the spring and summer when the grass is actively growing. Always follow directions on the fertilizer you use. Over-fertilizing can be harmful. If you have applied a good fertilizer according to its directions and your grass does not respond, then something else is wrong.
- Weed control. If you have a lot of weeds, using Pre-emergent weed preventers in early spring, early summer and early fall will go a long way toward getting weed issues under control. Spot spray with the correct herbicide to kill other weeds while they are small. Feel free to bring us samples so we can recommend the right control for your lawn and problem weeds.
DO NOT USE WEED AND FEED FERTILIZERS. These products are not very effective against weeds, but they can be very damaging to trees and shrubs.
- Look to the sky. If your grass is thin, the likely culprit is not enough sun. All grass needs sunlight. Even well-established grass will start to get thin as trees grow and throw more shade. Bring us photos if you are concerned and we can recommend something to help your situation.