Critical Elements of Lawn Maintenance

Critical Elements of Lawn Maintenance

Like all plants, grass must be given attention. In spring, rake over the lawn to remove dead grass, weeds and to clean off the surface. Where there are thin or bare spots, loosen the soil and sow some seeds. It is better, too, to sow a light quantity of seed over the entire lawn-when the surface has somewhat dried, roll with a 250 lb. roller. As growth begins, apply grass fertilizer, 3 lbs. per 100 square ft. (Don’t roll the lawn when it’s wet as you’ll pack the surface).

Spring growth is fast. Vigorous grass will require mowing twice a week at first. Usually the clippings are removed for, if thick, they will collect in wads and kill the grass underneath. Should the weather be dry in late spring, water the ground until it is moist at least six inches deep-outdoor fountains or large waterfalls will be helpful in this task. Don’t sprinkle-you’ll do more harm than good. Sometime in early July, depending on the region, growth will slow up.

Weekly mowing, sometimes every two weeks, will suffice. If you have cut lower, raise the cutting height to about two inches and maintain this until late summer or when the grass resumes faster growth. If the lawn is regularly watered throughout the summer, growth will continue-so mowing must be done regularly. Constant watering will tend to deplete the soil of much plant food materials. It will be necessary to apply a light quantity of fertilizer in July to maintain growth, that is, if watering is constant through the summer.

Lawn Pests

Japanese beetle grubs and a tiny insect called Chinch Bug account for most of the insect damage done to lawns in summer. The grub, not the beetle, does the damage. The beetle lays the eggs on the grass in August; the grubs emerge from the eggs, tunnel into the lawn, under the garden statuary and garden water features, and feed on the grass roots. As winter approaches the grubs work deeper into the soil. In spring they move back to the surface and feed again.

Later they emerge as full grown beetles. The Chinch Bug, an extremely small, black and white insect, feeds on the grass leaves. Sucking the juices it turns the grass brown. There is an infestation in June and another in August. The infested areas are somewhat circular in outline. Hot weather is favorable to its operations. Both pests can be pretty well controlled with DDT or Chlordane. Six pounds of 10% DDT dust is mixed with a quantity of screened soil or sand and scattered over one thousand square feet.

It is watered in with a hose. Chlordane is a more rapid killer. Use 5 lbs. of a 5% dust spread over the same area and water it in. This chemical will also destroy ants in the lawn. Put 1/8 of a teaspoonful in each hill. These chemicals are now combined with fertilizer so that all can be put on at one time and make this chore seem less tedious. Weeds, crabgrass, dandelion, plantain, chickweed and others-once they gain a foothold-are difficult to eradicate.

The best preventative is a close vigorous sod. Most weeds can be kept in check by 2, 4-D, a selective weed killer. When spread on the lawn, it will not kill the grass. However, it has been known to injure bent grass and it will kill clover. When using the materials, pay strict attention to the manufacturers’ directions. Should the dust, when applied, drift onto ornamental plants, outdoor fountains, wall fountains, garden statuary, onto vegetables, or to a pond where there are gold fish, permanent damage and death to the living things can result.

However, used with care, these selective weed killers have an important place in weed control in lawns. Weeds are best controlled when they are in active growth and when the temperature is high and there is plenty of soil moisture. They are more difficult when they reach the mature or seed stage. Crabgrass is now being treated with various chemicals which, under certain conditions, are giving various degrees of success. This is an annual grass.

The plant itself, unlike our regular grass, is killed with the first frost. But the seeds live over. These begin growth when the weather gets warm in June. There are three kinds; one of them grows flat against the ground and is extremely difficult as the blades of the mower cannot catch it. Seeds are formed in late August; drop in late September when the grass turns an ugly reddish brown.

Allison Ryan is a marketing writer from San Diego, CA. She specializes in landscape architecture and where to best install garden water features and outdoor fountains. For a gorgeous selection of wall fountains, check out Source:

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