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For a Mediocre Lawn, Follow These Five Tips

by Kristin Marino, All About Lawns Columnist

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Lawn Maintenance

You'll find tons of lawn maintenance information and suggestions from websites, gardening books, magazines, and well-meaning neighbors, all promising a spectacular lawn. But what are some of the seemingly innocuous things you can do to your lawn to thwart your best-laid plans? Here's my top-five list of the worst things to do to your lawn.

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Bad Idea #1: Water During the Hottest Part of the Day

Or in the evening during the hottest part of the summer. You may have heard that it's best to do your lawn irrigation in the early morning hours, but when's the worst time to irrigate? Late at night or during the heat of the day. lawn irrigation done at night is bad because the lawn is still simmering from the day, and adding water can often invite fungus. Seems obvious not to water during the heat of the day, but how many times do you see sprinklers running at noon in August? It's called evaporation, and it's water that is not going on your lawn. You are wasting water and doing your lawn no favors.

Bad Idea #2: Irrigate Your Lawn Too Often

If you follow the adage, "You can never be too rich or water your lawn too much",? you need to find a new motto. Watering your lawn too much can lead to fungus and excess blade growth. Your lawn won't look any greener, but you'll have to mow more often! With too much water, your lawn will develop a shallow root system. This means that, in the event of drought conditions or water rationing, you lawn won't be able to reach into the soil for moisture.

Bad Idea #3: Over-Fertilize Your Lawn

If a little fertilizer will make your lawn a little green, will a lot of fertilizer make your lawn very green? No. Too much of a good thing can be downright bad, and too much lawn fertilizer will burn your lawn. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when using lawn fertilizer. This may be harder for some of you to do than others, and you know who you are.

Bad Idea #4: Cut the Grass Too Short

Everyone wants that golf-course look. Yes, short grass looks nice, like a precision military haircut. But unlike a precision military haircut, a lawn that is too short becomes susceptible to disease, insects, and drought. It becomes weak and thin, and too much light makes it hard for the roots to stay hydrated. Typically, mow grass when it is between three and five inches high. Mowing heights vary depending on grass and who you ask, but most experts would agree that mowing shorter than two inches is not a good idea.

Bad Idea #5: Don't Bother Aerating.

Who cares about a bunch of little holes in a lawn? You do. Yes, it's a bit of a hassle to aerate your lawn, and you usually have to hire a lawn maintenance professional with a special machine to do the work. Look at it this way. You like breathing, don't you? So does your lawn.

There are worse things you can do to your lawn than what's listed here; like ignoring it completely or parking the family jalopy on it, but this should give you an idea of some of the things people think they are doing to help their lawn, when, in reality, they are only hurting it.

About the Author
Kristin Marino has been a homeowner for ten years and really does have the greenest lawn in her neighborhood. Kristin holds a bachelor degree in English from the University of Nevada.

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