Lawn-Care Basics

With these tips you’ll have the best lawn on the block.

Keep it mowed. Letting lawn grass get too long often leads to thin turf.

Set mower blade high. Mow cool-season grasses 2 1/2 to 3 inches high; mow warm-season lawns shorter, 11/2 to 2 inches high. Longer grass shades weed seeds, prevents them from germinating, and keeps the soil cool and moist, reducing the need for watering.

Water correctly. Always water grass 1 inch deep or more. This develops deep, drought-resistant root systems. In late summer, once your lawn turns brown (has become dormant), you can allow it to stay that way until the weather becomes cooler. Don’t water it; if you do, the lawn will come out of dormancy prematurely, which will put it under stress.

Choose the right type of turf for your climate. Carpetlike Kentucky bluegrass is a favorite of many homeowners, but it may not grow well in your region.

Feed on schedule. Turf grasses are nitrogen-hungry plants and need regular fertilization. Cool-season grasses do well with a spring and fall application; fertilize warm-season grasses in the spring and summer. Check with a reliable nursery or your local Cooperative Extension Service for the best timing and methods for your region.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest