Taller Grass, Healthier Lawn
Taller grass helps keep your lawn healthier and it’ll also help keep the weeds down. Giving your lawn a buzz cut so you don’t have to mow as often might not be the best idea. It also doesn’t mean letting your lawn grow out of control—so you don’t have to mow as often.
Here’s an easy rule of thumb to follow: only cut off one-third of the blade of grass whenever you mow. Cut off more and you’ll start to see more weeds, because weed seeds will begin to germinate. You’ll also have to water more. So remember the one-third rule!
Sharpen Mower Blades
Would you use a dull razor? Dull mower blades don’t cut grass, they tear it. Frayed blades of grass dry out quickly and make your lawn more susceptible to damage from insects and diseases. Mower blades should be re-sharpened 2–3 times per year.
FREE Fertilizer: Recycle Grass Clippings
Leave grass clippings on the lawn when you mow. If you have a mower with a mulching feature, use it. Grass clippings can contribute about a pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft every year.
Fertilize to Replenish Lost Nutrients
Fertilizer replenishes lost nutrients and helps to ensure your lawn has the food it needs to flourish. Most soils don’t have the essential nutrients for optimum growth. Even if you’re lucky enough to start with great soil, as your lawn grows it absorbs nutrients and reduces soil fertility.
Fertilize with Milorganite four (4) times per year at the recommend rates.
Water Deeply, Infrequently
If you need to water your lawn, do it early in the morning. It minimizes water lost through evaporation and allows the sun to dry the leaf blade before a variety of diseases get a chance to settle in. Give your lawn a good soaking—to a depth of 6”—as it promotes deep root growth, which is good during dry spells. A healthy lawn requires about 1” of water every week. A quick mist with the hose may do more harm than good.
Healthy Lawns Reduce Weeds
The best way to keep weeds at bay is by maintaining a healthy lawn. Makes sense, right? Fertilize with Milorganite according to the schedule, aerate as needed, and overseed when necessary. For eco-friendly ways to get rid of crabgrass, clover, creeping Charlie, and other broadleaf weeds, check out this video. Your lawn will be the envy of all your neighbors.
Thatch is a barrier of natural materials that makes it difficult for water and nutrients to get to the soil. Fertilizer is wasted, because it can’t get to the roots of the grass, and water runs off. You can use a hand or machine-powered thatch remover depending on the area of your lawn. If you've never de-thatched your lawn, you can expect to rake up a lot of material. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be done every year. It’s best to dethatch northern grasses in fall and southern grasses in late spring.
If you live in an area that has hot summers and mild winters, such as the South, the best time to overseed is in the fall. Keep your grass looking green year-round by overseeding with a cool-season grass seed, like ryegrass, which grows quickly.
In the North, fall is also the best time to overseed, but spring is acceptable if that’s when you can get to it. In early fall, seeds will germinate faster in the warmer soil and continue to grow through the cool months ahead. Grass seed germinates when the soil is about 50 F, which will happen when night-time temperatures are consistently in the same range.
Overseeding can be done directly after aerating. Simply mix Milorganite with grass seed appropriate for your climate at a 4:1 ratio by weight: four (4) parts Milorganite to one (1) part grass seed. Use a spreader to distribute the mix.
If your lawn looks thin or weak in high-traffic areas, it’s probably time to aerate and overseed. Aerating breaks up the soil by poking holes into the ground. It loosens up compact soil and helps control thatch. It makes it much easier for oxygen and water to get into the soil, and fertilizer can reach the grass roots. It’s recommended to aerate northern grasses in the fall and southern grasses in mid-spring to early-summer. After aerating is an ideal time to overseed and fertilize with Milorganite.