Many homeowners dream of a beautiful lawn that they can be proud to show off. However, reality doesn’t always match the dream. In fact, many people are ruining their lawns without even realizing it! This post will focus on 5 common mistakes homeowners make that will kill a lawn – and how to avoid them.
Breaking Down Mistakes That Kill a Lawn
You’ve likely put effort into your lawn and landscaping. But you could be undermining your efforts. Some homeowners unwittingly kill the grass in their lawn with these mistakes. But don’t worry, we’ve included some tips to help you avoid these pitfalls!
Ignoring the Seasons
Preparing your lawn for the growing season is necessary for optimal recovery from the harsh winter. By addressing season-specific lawn issues, you will enjoy the healthiest lawn possible in the spring and summer.
In the spring, you are kicking off the growth and heavy use season. You’ll mow your lawn for the first time, and you should apply fertilizer. Spring lawn chores are about refreshing and renewing to set the tone for your year. So don’t skip steps!
In the summer, you will need to regularly water and mow your lawn to keep it in good shape. You will also apply a slow-release fertilizer across your lawn for optimum recovery from heat stress. Summer is the busiest lawncare season, as your lawn -and possibly weeds- are growing at their quickest pace.
In the fall, you should change up your lawn care routine to prepare for the winter. Fall lawn chores include several steps. First, mowing high for better light penetration and weed control. The second is raking leaves that may kill the grass underneath them. And lastly, aerating your lawn to help with heavy foot traffic. Your lawn will need your attention to recover from the harsh winter season so you can have a healthy lawn come springtime!
Although winter is the season that requires the least amount of lawn care, you shouldn’t just ignore it. In the winter, you can care for your lawn by keeping it free of debris and removing ice and snow from sidewalks with a shovel. If you must, use salt sparingly on walkways. You can also apply a winterizer fertilizer in the late fall to keep your grass growing strong.
Improper mowing can cause scalping and thinning – a surefire way to kill a lawn. Scalping occurs when you cut too much of the grass blade off at once. This happens when you don’t have the appropriate height on your lawnmower set correctly for the turfgrass that you’re growing.
Always check what the recommended height is for your turf variety. For example, the suggested mowing height for TifTuf Bermudagrass is between ½” and 2″. However, the suggested mowing height for Zeon® Zoysia is a bit lower, between ½” and 1½”.
You should also change up your mowing pattern. Try to mow your lawn in a zigzag pattern so that the grass blades are less likely to bend over. This will cut down on disease and insect infestations. Because there is more surface area exposed, sun rays will kill these unwanted pests.
If you’re unsure of how long or high to set your lawnmower, don’t be afraid to ask your local lawn care professional for their opinion on the matter. They will have a better idea of what type of grass you’re growing and how long it should be cut.
Always be sure to use a mower with sharp blades, clean the underside of your mower, and check for any damage to blades. Using dull mower blades will kill your lawn by tearing the grass blades, rather than cleanly cutting them. Using a push mower instead of a ride-on also helps keep scalping to a minimum and is better for your health!
Using the Wrong Turf
Planting the wrong turf variety for your area can kill a lawn as well. Not all grasses are meant for every climate or region! Choosing warm-season or cool-season grass is a decision based on the climate of where you live. If the wrong grass is chosen it can lead to a waste of time and money as the grass will eventually die.
In the southeast, Bermuda is a popular option for homeowners because it can grow well in full sun and withstand high heat. If you’re looking for something a bit softer and lusher, zoysia is desirable. The variety you choose should depend on your climate as well as your specific property. For example, you must consider whether or how much shade cover is on your lawn.
Zeon zoysiagrass has exceptional drought tolerance and can also be grown in shade. Meanwhile, TifGrande Bermuda is great in full sun or shade and is even cold weather tolerant. Consider your needs carefully before installing your lawn!
Improper Feeding and Watering
Watering your lawn incorrectly or not at all can kill a lawn. It’s also important to avoid over-fertilizing your lawn, as well, which will kill the grass by causing it to grow too much.
You should also avoid overwatering because this could cause fungal growth. Watering your lawn too little or infrequently can of course damage or kill your lawn’s delicate grassroots.
Lawns need both water and food (fertilizer). However, it’s also important to not fertilize your lawn too much, as this can hurt it, as well. Fertilize properly by following directions on the product, and going by the seasons. In the spring, you should fertilize your lawn with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. In the summer, you should use a middle to higher percentage of slow-release nitrogen. Apply it evenly across your lawn for strength-building and stress recovery.
Takeaways To Avoid Mistakes That Can Kill a Lawn
We’ve shared 5 common mistakes homeowners make that can kill a lawn. Additionally, we’ve included some key information and tips on how to approach your lawn to keep it healthy. As you plan out your annual yard care routine, keep these lessons in mind.
And now that you know what harms the health of your lawn, it’s time to take action to avoid them. The first step is to make sure you have the right turf installed on your lawn. Reach out to The Turfgrass Group and we’ll connect you with a grower near you to help you select and install the very best turf variety for your property. The rest of the work is up to you!