Many Americans probably have a hard time imagining an era when luscious, and well-loved lawns didn't enclose homes. But that era certainly existed, and it isn’t as far back as you think. Well-groomed and beautifully maintained yards are actually a very recent development in American landscaping.
Wealthy landowners of 18th century England and France had the time to make sure that the grass in their gardens was well-kept. It wasn’t until after the Second World War that manicured lawns became the American household standard. Reasons for this can be traced back to the post-war Boom. Lawnmower production began to surge, and families moved into bigger homes with vast acreage.
Despite the conventional American lawn only being less than a hundred years old, homeowners have been fed twice as many misconceptions about lawn care. Without even realizing it, homeowners wind up causing more harm to their lawns without really knowing it.
We don’t expect every homeowner in America to know what a property needs to flourish. Landscaping is a full-time profession. Even the most seasoned landscapers haven’t learned all there is to know about lawns.
Even though some tasks are best left to professionals—we believe there are things that every homeowner should know about their lawn. That’s why we’ve put together this list of lawn care don’ts. Chances are, you might find yourself doing at least a few of these things over the year.
Lawn Care 101: Don’t Remove the Grass Clippings
There are many people out there who believe that grass clippings are the root cause of thatch––the thick layer of organic matter that accumulates on the surface of your lawn. After clipping the grass with a mower, homeowners tend to immediately get to work on the arduous task of removing the grass clippings from the yard.
Are grass clippings really all that bad for your lawn? Are they the cause of thatch? No and No!
The truth is, grass clippings can actually help the overall health of your lawn. Those cut-up little pieces of grass contain all the nutrients your lawn needs to thrive, and they still carry water at the time of being cut, too. Ultimately, those clippings make for an extremely potent natural fertilizer that you’d be hard pressed to find in any garden store.
You might be wondering what causes thatch if grass clippings aren’t responsible. Well, thatch usually consists of organic material a little less resistant to decay than grass, such as stems, branches, and so on.
Irrigation and Sprinklers: Don’t Overwater Your Lawn!
Some people forget to water their lawn on a regular basis. And there are people on the other end of the spectrum who water their lawn every single day. That’s not good either.
While watering your lawn regularly might seem like a good idea, there is such a thing as overdoing it. If you give your water too much water, a variety of bad things can happen. Just think of yourself when you have too much water—it isn’t a great experience, is it?
Overwatering will drown the roots of your plants and grass. Grass and plants simply do not need to be watered daily because they don’t require high quantities of water. When too much water seeps into the small pores under the soil, much-needed oxygen is replaced with water. That’s bad because those roots need oxygen to thrive just as much as they need water.
Fertilizer Fatalities: Don’t Over-Fertilize the Shady Areas
When homeowners get a taste for landscaping, they become engrossed in the rewarding practices of routine lawn care. They go from never having watered their lawn before, to mowing it regularly, covering the entire property with sprinkler systems, and weeding on their hands and knees.
Much like watering, some people wind up going a little overboard with the fertilizers, particularly in those shaded areas where the grass is not expected to grow. They’ll throw extra fertilizer on those shady areas thinking they’re doing the right thing.
In reality, the grass in shaded areas needs less fertilizer (and less water too!). With less exposure to the sun, it simply won’t grow as much as you’d like it to. Fertilizer won’t change that. In fact, too much might even kill the grass in that area.
Don’t Overdo It with Lawn Mowing
While your lawn does benefit from being cut regularly, don’t go thinking that the grass needs to be kept at the height of half an inch.
Keeping your grass at the optimal height ensures a dense, healthy, and attractive-looking lawn. Although the optimal height varies from one species of grass to another, you are safe to assume that yours should be kept at 2 ½ to 3 inches. If it is repeatedly cut below this height, it can deplete the grass’s much-needed energy reserves. What’s worse, it can leave your lawn vulnerable to weed invasion.
Our advice: Make sure no more than a third of the grass is removed during a single mowing session. When you abide by that rule, your grass’s much-needed energy reserves will be kept safe, and your grass will continue to look as attractive as it should.
Autumn Lawn Care: Don’t Remove All the Leaves When You Rake
Fun fact: Leaves are great for your lawn. Those fallen leaves contain organic matter and nutrients that are great for your soil. Think of them as an affordable brand of natural fertilizer! What’s more, they can even help to suppress the growth of unwanted weeds, as well.
If you like, you can leave a good dusting of leaves on your property after you’ve raked up a healthy portion of them. Alternatively, you can mulch the leaves with a lawn mower, so they decompose more quickly.
Want to Learn More About Lawn Care? Call Us!
One visit from us and we’ll show you all the secrets of the trade and more. Call us at (517) 339-2881 today!