It’s hard not to keep comparing your lawn with your neighbor’s to see which one is more vibrant. However, with regular and correct lawn care in Bethesda, MD, your turf should be as verdant and healthy as your neighbor’s.
So, if you ever notice the lawn next door looking greener than yours, it could be that you’re doing some things that may be causing your grass to lose its healthy luster.
To make sure that this doesn’t happen, watch out for these nine bad habits that can harm your lawn:
1. Forgetting to Aerate
Lawns seeded or sodded atop skimpy topsoil are more prone to compaction. Compacting can make it difficult for the grass’s roots to get the water and nutrients they need to thrive.
This is where aeration becomes vital. It loosens the soil to restore its natural and healthy composition while allowing the roots of your grass easy access to all that it needs to survive.
2. Not Dealing with Grass Clippings After Mowing
When you mow, do you leave grass clippings on your lawn or bag them up afterward?
Lawn and landscaping experts in Bethesda, MD seem to have varying opinions on this matter, which has started quite a debate in the field of lawn care.
Some believe that the clippings should be left on the lawn as a natural fertilizer, while others recommend bagging them up to avoid too much thatching.
Which one should you believe? Both.
You see, grass clippings are indeed natural fertilizers when given a chance to decompose. After all, they contain the same things that grass living on your lawn needs: water and nutrients (particularly nitrogen).
By leaving grass clippings on the lawn, you allow them to decompose and release water and nutrients back to the soil. However, leaving too many clippings can also harm the grass on your turf and cause a build-up of thatch.
And when this layer of materials from dead plants gets too thick, airflow and access to crucial nutrients for growth are impeded, leading to yellowish, thinning, and dying lawns.
With that said, the key is to ensure that grass clippings don’t pile up, as it would take them longer to decompose. Also, remember to rake clumps of clippings away a day or two after mowing, or when they are already dry.
3. Watering Your Lawn Daily
Contrary to what most people think, constant watering every day can harm the grass on your lawn. This is because daily watering can cause the plants to become dependent or end up drowning.
Instead of daily watering that lasts a mere 15 minutes or so, water your lawn deeply only once every week for one whole hour. This will let your grass develop drought-tolerance and grow healthier in the future.
4. Improperly Using Fertilizer
It’s no secret that fertilizing helps lawns become green and healthy. However, merely using such products won’t do. You also need to know what product to choose and how and when to use it.
With that in mind, don’t jump the gun and fertilize just because you saw your lawn grass is struggling to survive. Take a closer look first to see what caused the problem.
If your lawn has both sunny and shaded areas, it is likely to have two different fertilizing requirements: shady areas need less water and fertilizer while sunny ones need more.
This means you would need to treat it as if you’re tending two separate lawns.
5. Going the Same Direction Every Time You Mow
When cutting lawn grass, most people use a mower since it is easier and more efficient. However, there are some pitfalls that you must avoid when mowing your lawn.
One of the most common mistakes you should be careful of is mowing in the same direction each week. This causes the grass blades to bend over, leaving the impression of an unhealthy turf.
Instead, mow the lawn in different directions every week. You can also run a rake over lawn grass that’s bending over before you begin mowing for a cleaner cut. It aids in filling gaps in the grass more readily as well.
6. Not Keeping Up with the Season
The different seasons affect your lawn, so you must always prepare it for the upcoming changes in the weather.
This way, the grass can fully recover after the harsh winter and become the healthiest when spring and summer arrive.
Some of the things you may need to adjust based on the season are:
- The height and frequency of mowing
- The schedule and amount of watering needed
- The time for aeration
7. Mowing Too Slowly or Too Quickly
Many modern lawnmowers can be driven rather than pushed across the lawn, making it easy to mow too slowly or too quickly.
You have to be careful of the speed in which you run it through the grass, not just to keep your lawn in good shape but also to extend your lawnmower’s lifespan.
When you mow at just the right speed, you’re more likely to get cleaner, more precise cuts.
8. Cutting the Grass Too Short
Have you ever noticed how most of the lawn care mistakes involve mowing? This is because cutting their leaves affects the ability of the grass to grow and make their own food thrive.
Sometimes, people think that mowing the grass as short as possible helps them save time and effort in mowing. However, this habit is actually bad for your lawn, as it can severely deplete the grass’s energy reserves.
When this happens, you’ll leave your lawn weakened and vulnerable to weed invasion.
9. Mowing with Dull Blades
Another mowing mistake that many lawn owners make is using dull blades. Over time, blades wear down with constant use, much like a razor blade. A clear indicator that you’re mowing with dull blades is jagged, ragged, and torn grass.
When this happens, experts recommend swapping your mower’s blades with an extra set from your garage. Then, take this time to bring the dull set to a specialist who can sharpen it for you.
Change Your Habits to Save Your Lawn
Sometimes, the most innocent habits affect things the most. This is also true in lawn care. Fortunately, a simple change can help save your lawn and make it healthier and greener in the long run.