There are a
number of gardening myths about how to plant, how to take care of trees
and shrubs, how plants grow, and lawn care. Today I want to deal with some
of the myths about lawn care and see if they are fact or fiction.
GYPSUM WILL BREAK UP HARD
MOW LAWN SHORT SO
GRASS CLIPPINGS LEFT ON THE LAWN WILL
CAUSE THATCH!!! (FICTION)
This is a myth that is passed on quite often as the reason to bag
clippings. The truth is, grass blades are 90% water and full of nitrogen.
If you leave your grass clippings on the lawn (even if you donít have a
mulching mower), they will supply the equivalent of one application of
nitrogen per year.
clippings left on the lawn are good organic material and will help break
up clay soil. I do not understand why people bag grass clippings and then
pay someone to take them to the landfill. What a waste!!!!! The only time
you need to bag grass clippings is when you mow off more than 1/3rd
of the blade.
This is partly true.
Many weeds do come from seeds that have are blown in, or are brought in by
birds, or other animals. However, most of the seeds that germinate and
then grow in your lawn come from weeds in your yard that go to seed and
then the seeds drop onto the soil where they will germinate and take hold
if you have an unhealthy lawn, or a thin lawn, or bare spots. Most weeds
seeds will be choked out in a healthy lawn that is not mowed short.
What is a healthy lawn? One where the cultural practices do not
stress the grass. For a bluegrass lawn or a turf type tall fescue lawn,
the four major cultural practices that stresses lawns and thus promotes
weed growth are:
Mowing too short. In addition to stressing the grass as I said
earlier, University research has found that if you mow grass at only 1.5
inches high, the weed infestation rate in tall fescue is 45% and in
Kentucky bluegrass is 55%. A lawn mowed at 2.5 inches has an infestation
rate of 23% in tall fescue and 25% in Kentucky bluegrass. A lawn mowed at
3.5 to 4 inches has an infestation rate of only 2% in tall fescue and 7%
in Kentucky bluegrass.
Compaction of our hard clay soils. This is caused by traffic from
kids, pets, and adults walking and playing on the lawn, and even by lawn
mowers, especially heavy riding mowers. Also do not walk of on wet lawns
or gardens. Your footprints really compact the soil. The lawn needs to be
core aerated at least once a year either in the spring or fall to relieve
compaction and break up the hard clay soil. It also allows for proper
watering practices. Correct watering means watering deeply, especially in
the spring and fall. Put on 1.5 inches of water per week during the
growing season, and apply at least 1/2 inch minimum when you water so that
the water gets down to the deepest roots. Shallow watering creates shallow
roots. And do not water after
in the afternoon so leaves will dry before evening. A drop of water on the
grass blade or on a plant leaf overnight is needed for most disease
organisms to grow. Water properly and avoid disease problems.
Over or under fertilization. Over fertilization really stresses the
grass, especially if applied in the early spring. The most beneficial
fertilizer is the application of a winter or late fall fertilizer after
Halloween. If you only
fertilize once per year this is when to put it on.
The best times
to seed a new lawn or re-seed a thin lawn are from April 15th
to May 15th and from August 15th to September 15th.