Natural Lawn Care Tips
With sod grass being our number one shared plant resource in Frisco, how we take care of our lawns has never been more important. We have assembled our top 10 natural lawn care tips for how to have a healthy lawn without using chemicals.
Warm season grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia will grow and need mowing between the months of March and November or until they go dormant. During the growing season, these grasses should be mowed every week and they should be mowed high (1.5-2 inches). It’s very tempting to mow low to the ground; however leaving it high will create a natural shade for the soil which helps to prevent weed growth. Removing too much length from your grass is also traumatic and leads to nutrient loss causing yellowing and/or browning of the grass.
Mulch Grass Clippings
During the growing season, it’s not necessary to bag your grass clippings. Most commercial lawn mowers are mulching. Mulching mowers not only cut the grass, but “mulch” the grass blades into very fine clippings and deposit them back on the lawn. These clippings are so fine that they will not be tracked and are not visible on the lawn. These clippings are a great source of nutrients for your lawn.
Bag Weed Clippings
Whenever possible, bag the weeds in your lawn when mowing. If you have to mow over them, be aware that this can distribute more weed seeds and scatter them throughout the lawn. In addition, you should clean your lawn mower blades after mowing to reduce the spread of the weed seeds.
Do Not Scalp
Scalping is the practice of mowing your lawn extremely low. This is oftentimes done for the first mow of the growing season. Many people do this as a way to clean up dormant/dead grass from the yard. In addition, many believe that this is a way to increase growth in your grass by “pruning” it before the growing season. We have seen absolutely no overall benefit to scalping a lawn. In fact, scalping can cause more trauma and loss of vital nutrients and increase weed growth.
Aeration, or core aeration, is the process of puncturing the soil by removing small plugs or soil plugs. This process will immediately relieve soil that has become compacted and break through layers of thatch. In addition, aeration allows air, water and nutrients to penetrate down to the roots of the grass. We would recommend aerating every 1 to 2 years in either the spring or fall season.
Once each year, you should plan to overseed your lawn to create a thicker turf. This is not the same as seeding your lawn which would be done to create complete areas of new growth. Overseeding provides thickening to existing turf. An ideal time to overseed would be directly following aeration because the soil will be opened up.
Sod Bare Patches
Wherever there is room, weeds will grow. If you have bare patches in your lawn, the weeds are sure to follow. While overseeding or seeding is effective for areas where your turf is thinning, bare patches should have new sod installed.
Too much or too little water will have a profound impact on your soils ability to process sunlight and fertilizers. Our warm season grasses only need to be watered during the growing season. On average, lawns should be watered once each week during the season for between 10-20 minutes depending on your lawns drainage and runoff. Check the City of Frisco’s website for watering recommendations as well as restrictions.
Raking your lawn every couple of months will ensure that the soil has access to the sunlight, water and nutrients it needs. Even if you aren’t raking up something specific, running a metal rake over your lawn will help to prevent soil compaction.
Maintaining a weed-free lawn takes constant vigilance. However, it’s not necessary to employ toxic chemicals to control the spread of weeds. By practicing the previous lawn care tips, over time the weeds will take care of themselves. If you have a healthy and vigorous lawn, weeds won’t have any place to take root. For the ones that do pop through, pull them right away and pull them regularly.
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