Effective lawn care isn’t just about knowing what to do. It’s also about knowing what not to do! If you take the wrong steps when caring for your lawn, you could seriously harm the turf, whether by damaging it directly or by making it more vulnerable to diseases and shortages of key resources. As a lawn maintenance service with extensive experience in Michigan, Lush Lawn is committed to helping you recognize and avoid the most common lawn care mistakes that local homeowners make. When trying to improve the health of your lawn, make sure to watch out for:
The Top 6 Common Lawn Care Mistakes to Avoid
1. Excessive or Incorrect Fertilizing
One of the most common lawn care mistakes for Michigan homeowners is to fertilize their lawns incorrectly. This usually means spreading too much fertilizer, though it can also mean fertilizing at the wrong times or in the wrong places. Such mistakes can harm your turf both directly and indirectly. Directly, they can damage your grass and prevent it from growing to its full potential. Indirectly, they contribute to the development of separate threats to your turf. Weeds, fungi, and other organisms that attack or crowd out grass rely on many of the same nutrients found in lawn fertilizer. So if you fertilize too heavily or at the wrong times, you give these plants the nutrients they need to ruin your turf!
Luckily, this mistake is fairly easy to avoid. Consult a professional and figure out exactly how much fertilizer your yard needs, when it should be spread, and what the best way to distribute it is. Then apply that fertilizer exactly according to these parameters. This way, your yard will have all the nutrients it needs to thrive, but there won’t be any left over for weeds and fungus.
2. Heavy Watering
Not only should you avoid applying too much fertilizer to your lawn, but you also have to be careful about how much water you use. Michigan has a moist, wet climate, meaning your turf only needs so much help from you to stay hydrated. If you use more water than necessary, you prevent your grass from growing deep roots. This will make them weaker over the long haul, as shorter roots mean that the grass can’t access moisture and nutrients deep in the soil. To avoid this, figure out exactly how much water your plants need and when they need it; then water regularly in that exact way.
On the other hand, Michigan often experiences drought weather during the summer. The warm sunshine is welcome but without rain, the heat can strain your lawn. To combat drought harm, Lush Lawn has developed a special Water Maximizer application that is designed to help your grass retain moisture and stay green even in the most severe summer weather.
3. Cutting Too Short
Michigan homeowners correctly perceive that they need to cut their grass on a regular basis before it becomes too crowded and unruly. But cut your grass too short and you’ll have the opposite problem. Short blades can’t absorb as much energy from the sun, and they have trouble supporting the deep roots that are so important for strong grass. To keep this problem to a minimum, avoid cutting more than a third of the length of your grass blades when you mow them.
4. Using a Dull Blade
Not only do you need to avoid cutting your blade too short, but you must also make sure that the blade you use for cutting is sufficiently sharp. A dull blade will tear the grass and cut it unevenly. Even if this unevenness isn’t visible to you, it affects the health of the grass. Fungi and bacteria can get into the torn areas and infect the entire plant. To prevent this from happening, sharpen the blade on your lawn mower at least twice each season. Then sharpen it again whenever it feels like the blade is tugging on or crushing the grass.
5. Disposing of Clippings
After mowing their lawns, many Michiganders just throw the clippings away. But this is a waste of valuable nitrogen and other nutrients that build up in the blades. So instead of bagging and disposing of the cuttings, simply leave them out in your lawn. The only exception is if the area you’re trimming contains weeds or infected plants. Leaving the clippings out will spread the weeds or fungus, so dispose of them immediately.
6. Poor Soil pH
Different species of grass require soils with different pH levels or levels of acidity or basicity. If you don’t make sure the pH matches the needs of your grass, you may let the soil become inhospitable to your preferred turf. To avoid this, conduct regular pH tests of your soil, and figure out what pH level is best for the turf you’re using. If the two ever do not match, contact a professional and ask about using products like lime or sulfur to change the soil pH.
Looking for assistance with lawn care? Call in the experts at Lush Lawn today!