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Too Much Information? Six Tips on How to Grow Grass

It may seem like there is just too much information out there on how to grow grass to be able to make heads or tails of. To help you out, we’ve put together a guide of six basic areas to concentrate on that will help give you a lovely lawn through the year. Read on for more details:

Take Care of Problem Areas

Too Much Information? Six Tips on How to Grow GrassDo you have brown or thin spots in your lawn? Whether it’s a pH imbalance, a nutritional deficiency or an area that doesn’t hold water well, you need to consider the source. One of the most vital tasks in learning how to grow grass is knowing how to take a soil sample for testing soil nutrient deficiencies, ability to hold nutrition and pH. You can’t fix the problem until you know what it is. Here are some great directions on taking a soil sample from the University of Missouri’s Extension Service.

Don’t Overfeed

Did you know that putting too much fertilizer on turf grass and landscaping is responsible for more fertilizer runoff than farms? Fertilizer runoff can end up in waterways, causing algae to bloom and kill off aquatic animals, eventually sterilizing the pond. Not only can overfeeding harm the environment, it can also cause problems with your lawn including burning the plants and encouraging pests such as disease or insect issues. Too much nitrogen can cause grasses to look fabulous on top while creating weak plants because of root underdevelopment as well as causing thatching problems.

Let it Breathe

Did you know that your soil has about 25% air in it? Air helps the rhizome layers around the roots to exchange gasses with the atmosphere. If your lawn has become compacted, you may want to aerate it to allow more air into the root zones. You can do this a few different ways, including using special shoes with long spikes to walk over the area, using manually powered equipment that looks like an old-fashioned, non-powered lawn mower, or you can rent a powered aerator from a rental company. Manual and powered aerators typically either poke holes in the ground using nail-like implements or use small cylinders to remove small cores of earth.

Set Up a Schedule

Like your car and your health, your lawn needs a regular routine to keep performing its best. There are many pre-made schedules out there, but if you really want to know how to grow grass, you may need to make changes to develop one that works for your lawn specifically. During times of stress, like extreme heat or drought, you may need to alter that plan to be sure your lawn can keep up while under stress. Though there are many different schedules available depending on where you live, this is a good general one that is based on seasons and climate changes rather than on specific treatments on specific dates. Your county extension office run by your state’s land grant university (University of Tennessee, University of California, University of North Dakota as examples) is another excellent resource to explore, and will be specific to your area.

Rolling Rolling Rolling

Someone asked an English gardener why the lawns at some of the great estates look so fabulous. His answer? “Mow, roll and repeat. You do that for 500 years and your lawn will look great too.”

You may not have 500 years to improve your lawn, but rolling can help even out the high spots in your lawn. Not only does this process make the surface underneath more level, it also keeping high spots from being cut too close, creating a spot of weaker grass in the lawn that may turn into an unsightly brown spot. Don’t go overboard – soil that is too compacted won’t allow roots to penetrate. For very high spots, remove some earth with a spade and replant.

Leave the Little Bits

You’ve got that great bagging system on your mower that does such a great job of making your lawn look neat. Did you know that those tiny bits of grass help keep your lawn healthy? Leaving them on the lawn allows them to contribute nutrients back to your lawn, and they become part of the soil matrix as organic matter, which increases your soil’s ability to hold nutrients, water and beneficial organisms. In fact, organic matter does this so well that it’s leaps and bounds above other soil constituents in creating a healthy lawn!

 

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Matt Hagens

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