Editor’s note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Program, appears every other week during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.
By Debbie Williams
Lawns – I know, rhymes with yawns. But, hey, who doesn’t like a nice piece of green turf to squish their toes through on a hot day?
Here are a few quick tips from Colorado State University to help revive a tired, dog- and kid-trodden lawn.
When your lawn needs to be mowed, always follow the one-third rule. Never mow more than one-third of the total height of your grass at one time – doing so could harm the root system and your grass could turn brown more readily. Leave all of your grass clippings on the lawn. This returns nitrogen to the lawn and does not cause thatch.
Aerate or “core cultivate” your lawn. Many times, when lawns get compacted and thatchy, the roots do not get enough oxygen. Aeration has become popular because it works. The little holes, which produce plugs of dirt, should be made no more than 2 to 3 inches apart for maximum effectiveness. You can even throw a little grass seed on the lawn at this time as the holes give the seed a good, protected place to germinate.
When fertilizing, you may want to wait until late summer or early fall. Keep an eye open for an article in late August about how to fertilize properly.
After seeding and fertilizing, you will need to water. New grass requires extra water until it is established. Ideally, never water during the day after 9 a.m. Water in the early morning or even during the middle of the night. Many lawns receive too much water. A longer, deeper watering once or twice a week is preferable to more frequent, shorter waterings. Also, different types of grass have different water requirements. The amount of abuse and use your lawn receives greatly determines the amount of water it needs.
For more information about lawn care, visit http://csuturf.colostate.edu/Pages/homelawncare.htm.
Debbie Williams became a Colorado master gardener in 2010. She lives in La Plata County.