Mow High, Often, and Follow the 1/3 Rule
The best way to mow is often and never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at any one mowing. Allowing the grass to stay tall helps keep weed seeds from germinating and reduces the need to water.
Keep Mower Blades Sharp
Dull mower blades will tear the turf. Frayed
tips will allow the leaf to dry out quickly and make the turf more
susceptible to insect and disease damage. Mower blades should be
re-sharpened 2 to 3 times per year.
Recycle Grass Clippings
When mowing, return grass clippings to the lawn. Grass clippings contribute approximately 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet each year to your lawn, think of it as free fertilizer!
Fertilizing replenishes lost nutrients and ensures that your lawn has the food it needs to flourish. Most soils do not provide the essential nutrients required for optimum growth. Even if you are lucky enough to start with great soil, as your lawn grows, it absorbs nutrients and leave the soil less fertile.
Water Deeply and Infrequently
If you need to irrigate, water during the early morning hours. Watering in the morning minimizes water loss from evaporation and allows the sun to dry the leaf blade before disease sets in. Give your lawn a good, deep soaking, not just a quick mist, soaking the lawn to a depth of 6'' forces the lawn to produce deeper roots. To maintain a healthy lawn, it requires about 1 inch of water per week-total.
The key to a weed free lawn is a thick, healthy lawn. Getting your lawn on a regular fertility program with Milorganite, as well as aerating and overseeding when necessary will produce a thick, healthy lawn that will have the ability to keep out weeds and make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.
Grass seed will not germinate until soil temperatures are near 50⁰F. Soil temperatures are not in the 50's⁰F until night time temperatures are consistently in the 50's⁰F". Seeding a lawn in late summer or fall is ideal. Early fall is preferred because seed can germinate faster in the warm soil and continue to establish itself through the cooler weather of fall and winter. Overseeding can be done directly after aerating if timed correctly.
Think of a layer of thatch as a barrier that water and nutrients cannot break though. Fertilizer is wasted, since it only feeds the top layer and not the roots. Water runs off instead of getting to the root systems and weeds begin to take over. If you need to remove thatch, hand- and machine-powered thatch removers are available. If you've never de-thatched a lawn before, you can expect to rake up a lot of material. Keep in mind that this is not something you will have to do every year. The best time of year to dethatch cool season grasses is in the fall.
If your lawn looks weak in high traffic areas, the best thing to do is aerate and overseed. Aerating breaks the soil surface by poking holes into the ground; it relieves compaction and helps to control thatch. Oxygen and water can now enter the soil, and fertilizer can reach the grass roots. Healthier grass means fewer weeds. After aeration is a good time to overseed.