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Avoiding Tempting Lawn Maintenance Mistakes

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Don't Overwater Your Lawn
Sprinkler Sense



Everyone loves a healthy green lawn, and the lawn maintenance basics for getting there, things like water and fertilizer, can seem pretty, well, basic. But in making your way through some of the most common lawn maintenance tasks, you can fall into some serious lawn care pitfalls. Use the following tips to help keep you from those tempting maintenance mistakes.

Lawns need a few things to be happy: sunshine, water, and nutrients. Sometimes your desire to give your lawn exactly what it needs, however, can lead you to make some of your biggest lawn maintenance mistakes. Fortunately, with a little know how, it doesn't have to be that way.
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Tip #1. Water with Restraint.

The easy-to-make mistake: your lawn needs water to thrive, and you want to give it what it needs, so you water... all the time. The first problem is that if your lawn is constantly wet, you're inviting fungus to move in and build a happy home. Avoid this lawn maintenance pitfall by watering in the morning, thereby giving your lawn plenty of time to dry during the course of the day.

The second problem with too-frequent watering is that you're not giving your lawn a chance to develop a strong root system. Water less often, but for a longer duration, so water soaks in and gives your lawn's roots a chance to go deep.

Tip #2. Fertilize When the Time is Right.

The easy-to-make mistake: nothing says spring like a rip roaring lawn, so you give your grass a big dose of fertilizer at the first sign of post-winter green up. A spring fertilizer application is oh-so-tempting, because chances are it's going to pay off just as you hoped, in lots of fast growing green grass.

That's precisely the problem, though - spring fertilizing causes top growth, and doesn't get the nutrients down to the roots of your lawn where they're really necessary. You're much better off going with a fall fertilizer application, so that your lawn takes all those nutrients down into its roots as it settles in for dormancy.


About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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