5 Misconceptions About Turf Care
If you're putting a lot of effort into your lawn but not getting the results you want, you may be working against nature instead of with it. Many popular lawn-care practices are based on myths about turf ecology:
Myth No. 1: Lawns are always thirsty.
In fact, constant watering can do as much harm as drought. It washes nutrients out of the soil and causes shallow root growth. Lawns need no more than an inch of water a week, including rain. Invest in a simple rain gauge, and only water enough to make up the difference. It's better to give a thorough soaking once a week than to water a little every few days.
Myth No. 2: Lawns are meant to be close-cropped.
Mowing grass too short stresses the plants, especially in the heat of summer. To be attractive, a lawn needs to be neat and even, not short. So raise the blade to 3" and give frequent trims for a groomed look.
Myth No. 3: Monthly fertilizing is required.
With good soil, most lawns only need fertilizing a few times a year. Even for a malnourished lawn, fertilizing every six to eight weeks is probably enough. And it pays to learn what variety of grass you have. Heat-loving varieties should be fertilized in high summer; cool varieties in early spring and fall.
Myth No. 4: You have to spray regularly to keep pests off.
This myth is the reason lawn owners use more pesticide per acre than farmers. All that spraying wreaks havoc on the environment, and it usually backfires. That's because pesticides kill beneficial insects as well as pests, and upset your lawn's natural ecosystem. When the next wave of pests arrives, your grass is defenseless. So treat pest outbreaks only if they occur, and always use the most natural, least toxic remedy available. For help, check out our Pest and Disease Finder.
Myth No. 5: Lawns are weak; weeds are strong.
Along with pesticides, many lawn owners apply weed controls regularly, believing that even one weed can spell disaster. In fact, grass is very competitive. If you keep your lawn healthy, It will crowd out many weeds--including the dreaded crabgrassin a season or two.