When it comes to lawn care, there’s no shortage of wrong information. Use our guide to sort fact from fiction, and glean sound advice for growing your healthiest grass ever.
Myth No. 1: Spring is the best time for dandelion control.
While it is wise to dig and/or spray drifts of dandelions in spring – before they go to seed – you’ll ensure root kill when you attack in fall. Dandelions are perennial weeds that shift food stores into roots in autumn. Apply weed killer then, and the plant will deliver it to the roots for you, killing the weed completely.
Myth No. 2: Leaving grass clippings on the lawn will create thatch.
Grass clippings are 75 to 80 percent water and decompose quickly, adding nitrogen to soil. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn after mowing is called grasscycling and actually saves you time and money.
Myth No. 3: If I have moles, I must have grubs.
Moles do eat grubs if they come across them in their tunneling, but their preferred food is earthworms. The best way to know if you have grubs is to watch for signs of their activity, including brown patches in the lawn and grass that pulls up easily. Don’t assume that if you treat and kill the grubs in your lawn that the moles will disappear, too.
Myth No. 4: Wearing spiked shoes helps aerate the lawn.
While you can buy spiked shoes touted for aerating lawns, you won’t achieve much aeration using them. Spiked shoes don’t work because they impact too small an area and further compact already compacted soil. The best way to aerate a lawn is to extract plugs of soil. But don’t toss those spiked shoes. University studies have shown you can use spiked shoes to kill grubs.
Myth No. 5: I won’t have to mow as often if I cut the grass short.
If you cut it super short, you may add a few days between mowings, but you also risk damaging the lawn. Grass that’s too short allows sunlight to reach weeds, which quickly grow and wrestle grass for footing. Shorter grass also has a more shallow root system, which means it succumbs easily to drought. For the healthiest lawn, never remove more than one-third of the total blade surface at any one mowing.
Myth No. 6: Daily watering is necessary to grow a healthy lawn.
How much water your lawn needs depends on a variety of factors, including grass type, air temperature and soil type. Infrequent, deep irrigation is better than frequent, short watering. It results in grass with deeper, healthy roots and fewer diseases.
Myth No. 7: I must rake and remove all leaves in fall.
Thick layers of autumn leaves can smother grass and allow disease to develop. But you don’t really have to rake leaves to keep your lawn in tip-top shape. Instead, mow over leaves a few times, chopping them into small pieces that will decompose on the lawn.