Lawn-Care Basics

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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