Caring for your lawn

Dispelling five common myths
Caring for your lawn

The lawn is the backdrop to the home and essential to your home's curb appeal. While keeping a healthy lawn may seem straightforward (mow, water and fertilize), don't be fooled by the following lawn care myths.

Myth #1: All grass is created equal.

Truth: Grass and their seeds come in many different varieties, all with various maintenance, climate and mower requirements. While some varieties require more sunlight, others may be prone to certain diseases. The type of grass and scope of land you need to mow will determine how powerful a lawn mower you'll need. Large lawns with thicker, tougher grass require a mower with higher horsepower and bigger, taller wheels. Varieties of grass that have thinner blades and slower growth, or a small backyard space, can be maintained easily with a lower horsepower machine. Mowers come in a variety of models to fit different needs.

Myth #2: The shorter I cut the grass, the less often I need to mow.

Truth: For the best quality turf, only remove one-third of the grass blade with each mow. Shorter clippings break down more easily, allowing some of the natural nitrogen to return to the soil. If you cut too much at one time, the long clippings can cause stress on the grass, inhibiting healthy growth.

Myth #3: Bagging it is best.

Truth: Although bagging grass clippings is a common practice, mulching is much more beneficial to your lawn. Mulching returns essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, back to the soil. As noted, removing only a small amount of the grass blade each time you mow produces shorter clippings that can decompose more quickly and discourages fungal diseases. If you do decide to bag, compost your clippings and reuse on site. Some mowers, like the John Deere X300 Select Series, come with a mulching feature to help return the clippings to the soil. Visit johndeere.com/residential to learn more.

Myth #4: Focus on the green.

Truth: While grass is what we see and tend to, the soil is the most essential component for a healthy growth year-round. Soil supplies the roots with necessary nutrients, which in turn yield a beautiful lawn. Consider taking a soil sample to your local Extension program or landscape supplier for soil analysis. This will help determine the best type of fertilizer to use throughout the year.

Myth #5: Keep a consistent mowing pattern.

Truth: It's easy to fall into a mowing routine, but frequently cutting grass in the same direction can mat down the turf and inhibit growth. By varying your mowing pattern, you will reduce strain on the turf and encourage a healthier, more beautiful lawn.

­­­­—FamilyFeatures.com

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