A lot of care goes into having a healthy and attractive lawn. It’s no surprise, then, that there is so much misinformation about lawn care floating around out there. At best, some of these myths have no effect on your lawn. At worst, they can do some serious, perhaps even long-term, damage to your lawn.Let’s take a look at some of these common lawn care myths and explore the real truths.
Myth: Spring is the ideal time of year to replace your lawn, because that is when the plants are ready to bloom.
Busted: Spring is not a great time to sow lawn seeding. The temps are rising and weeds start sprouting at a rapid pace. This creates a serious competition for the nutrients needed for grass seed to grow. You really want to sow your seeding in the fall. You’ll see fewer temperature fluctuations and the most aggressive weeds, such as crabgrass, are dormant for the season. This makes it easier for your grass to grow and sets you up for a great start the following spring.
Myth: New plants need water every day.
Busted: Lack of water is bad for plants. Too much water is just as hazardous. Ideally, you want to ensure that you wet the whole root system of a new plant, then give the soil time to dry so that the soil just stays moist. Too much watering will quickly kill new plants.
Myth: Dethatch in spring for a healthier lawn.
Busted: Yes, dethatching is a commons practice. Often, however, it is not necessary. In fact, unless the thatch is excessive, you are best to just leave it be. That thatch is simply a thin layer of dead plant material, sometimes including the stems, roots, and crown of the grass. That layer of dead, brown thatch you see at the start of spring is natural and almost always recedes as new grass starts to grow.
Myth: Leaving your lawn clipping on the grass after mowing is bad for the lawn.
Busted: In reality, most mowers that come with a bag only collect the clipping for cosmetic purposes. While some people (mistakenly) believe that post-mowing clippings lead to hazardous thatch, the fact is that those clippings actually contain quite a bit of water, which is great for the lawn. Further, they decompose quite rapidly. Finally, leaving those clippings on the lawn can actually return up to 1/3 of applied fertilizers back to the lawn. In short, the clippings are actually good for the lawn.
Myth: Cutting my grass short will make it look good… like a golf course.
Busted: Your lawn is not a golf course, Tiger. Ideally, you should not be cutting more than 1/3 of your grass height when you mow. To be sure, look up the recommended mowing height for your grass and go with that. Golf courses use very expensive and complex mowers to cut the grass to that height and still have it look good. You, on the other hand, are likely to just scalp your lawn‐effectively killing it—if you try to cut it that short.
Myth: Lawns are not “natural.”
Busted: Actually, lawns are quite natural despite the misconception that they don’t deliver any environmental benefits. While it might not look like it at a glance, your lawn is actually a fairly evolved ecosystem in its own right. It supports grasses, fungi, soil microbes, earthworms, and other forms of life that all work in harmony to provide a lawn that you can use for play, entertaining, or simple aesthetics.
Myth: Fertilize your lawn in the spring to take advantage of the growing season.
Busted: There is no blanket time to fertilize, because different types of grasses grow best in different types of weather conditions. Fertilizing is really about using the right fertilizer, at the right time and place, and at the right rate. Kentucky bluegrass and other cool-season grasses are best fertilized in fall and early spring, when the weather is cooler. On the other hand, Bermuda grass and other warm-season grasses grow best when fertilized in late spring and early fall when the temps are higher. The bottom line is this: Your grass and your environment will dictate your fertilizing schedule.
Myth: Lawn care companies use more powerful and more dangerous lawn care products than those available to your average homeowner.
Busted: With a few exceptions, lawn care professionals use the same chemicals you can purchase at most home improvement stores. The notable difference, though, is that professionals are legally regulated and required to use proper amounts, apply them correctly, and properly dispose of the leftover product and/or containers.
Myth: I saw a grub when I was digging in my yard, so I need to apply a grub control solution every year.
Busted: If you have a fescue lawn, you don’t really need to worry, as the deeper root zone tends to keep grubs away in the first place. Beyond that, having some grub activity in your lawn isn’t really bad thing. In fact, you could argue that their presence in the yard creates a natural aeration that is actually good for the lawn. That said, yes, having too many grubs can be a bad thing. If you are not sure how much it too much, contact a professional who can assess your situation and help you plan the best course of action.
Myth: Hand-watering the lawn saves money versus using an irrigation system, because I can control how much water I use.
Busted: Just as an improved HVAC system can keep your home more evenly comfortable while saving you money, a smart irrigation system can give you better results in your yard, while also saving you money. Irrigation systems with smart controllers can sense when the lawn conditions require watering and only turn on at those times. This type of automation can save you up to 20% on your water bills. Further, you can change irrigation spray nozzles to rotating nozzles from sprinklers; this allows for large droplets of water that spread more slowly than with sprinkler heads. This change alone can make the watering more targeted and, thus, more effective.
For help with all of your professional landscaping needs, contact E.P.M. of Michigan today or give us a call at (517) 990-0110.